Friday, November 13, 2009

To Write Love on Her Arms

Today is TWLOHA Day. TWLOHA is a non-profit that tries to encourage cutters, addicts, and other people in pain to talk about their stories and find hope. Sadly, it's also a Christian organization so part of the hope they offer is "God'll make it better!" and we all know what I think about that. However, I think cutting is important to talk about.

I cut the first time when I was 17 and the last time last winter. Like everything else I did during those years, it was a combination of punishment, pain, pleasure, and cry for help. The human body is pretty cool, and when confronted with pain it will often release endorphins to counteract that sensation. I got a rush when I puked, and I got a rush when I cut. Yes, it hurt - that was the point - but it also felt good, for a moment. Moments were so hard to come by back then, sometimes I created them.

For me at least, cutting is very closely linked with my body dysmorphia and my cult upbringing. I was told, over and over and over, in the repetative indoctrination style of a cult, that I was a burden, that I had too many needs, and that I was no good. I tried to cut away my flesh (my "Adam nature" or sinfulness) with a razor blade. I tried to make my physical body as small as possible, thinking maybe then I wouldn't take up too much space or be so in the way. I starved and I ran. When my hip went out, I couldn't run anymore so I went back to throwing up. I once carved the word "FAT" into my left thigh, and the scars are still there.

I really don't have some great secret for getting over any of the things I've moved beyond - anorexia, bulimia, drug abuse, cutting, or suicidal ideation. You just... do. You decide you'd rather live than die, and that's not always an easy decision to come by, but once you've made it, you stick with it. I want to live. So I'll eat, and sleep, and take better care of myself. It'll still be a struggle somedays to keep fighting for my health, but it gets better. As my life is better and coping skills improve - as I learn how to talk to you readers and how to express my feelings in healthy ways and in safe environments (yay therapy!) - I don't want to cut. Or puke. Or die.

If anyone out there is struggling with this stuff, your secret is safe with me. If you'd rather send a private email than leave a comment here, but you still want to talk about your pain or your story, I'm here to listen to you guys, too. You do me such an indescribable good: I can be me, naked and honest and flawed, and you still love me. Trust me, it's mutual. You can always email me privately at angieantitheist [at] gmail [dot] com or you can send me a message through Facebook (badge is on the right.)

Be good to yourselves and each other. Don't make fun of anybody's weight or appearance today (or ever, if you can teach yourself not to.) Remember that somebody you know and love may be hurting his or herself in secret, and don't think that just because someone looks put together, they aren't falling apart. Cutting sucks, and I'm glad people are talking about it, but you don't need god to stop it. You just stop. Throw out your razors and grow hairy legs if you have to. It's like purging or having sex with an ex or any other bad habit - you decide to stop, and find you're able.

Christina Aguilera - Beautiful (Official Music Video) - The funniest home videos are here