I used to be ashamed of my scars.  The ones that I gave myself 2 years ago when I began feeling like I was alone.  I usually wear hoodies and long sleeves and an excess of bracelets in an effort to hide them.  Even my parents just think I’m always cold (which is somewhat true).  Truth is…I didn’t want anyone to know.  They were a painful reminder of what I used to feel.

I didn’t have a terrible home life growing up.  My parents love my sisters and me and they love each other.   We’ve all had our moments, of course.  In late 2005, while my dad was deployed in Iraq, my sister moved out and in with her dad.  She made some decisions that affected our whole family negatively and caused some major tensions.  She took advantage of my dad being away and my mom having to deal with us alone.  That’s when it started.  The one person who I thought was my role model turned out to not be who I thought she was.  Drugs, sex, sneaking out, partying.  I was crushed.
A month later, Hurricane Katrina came and we were forced out of our home and my parents moved us to a place where we knew no one.  I stood out, and I didn’t like it.

When high school started, it didn’t get any better.   didn’t do as well as I could have in school (I didn’t make straight A’s), and my parents let me know it.  I think they had the best intentions, but I was told I would never get into college if I didn’t step it up.  Subsequently, I wasn’t allowed to do much socially.  I spent countless nights alone in my room studying.  Then the fighting started.

I had a bit of an attitude my freshman year.  I’ve always been stubborn and sarcastic, but this was worse.  I was constantly arguing with my mom about unimportant things and it often escalated into yelling.  Except now my dad was home.  My dad came home from work one day after one of my mom and my screaming matches.  I was hiding in my room with the music on way too loud and mom was in the kitchen.  When he walked in, he had no problem figuring out that she was PISSED, but he didn’t know why.  He tried to go about normal business and just let her cool off.  Apparently he said something and my mother took it way wrong, because all I heard from then on was screaming.  Mom was yelling about me having an attitude, dad was trying to get her to calm down and talk to him about it, and that was just making it worse.  Mom wouldn’t stop screaming.  Then she walked out the door, said, “That’s it.  I’m leaving.  I will go back to work full time, and I will buy myself a divorce!” and she left.  About 10 minutes later, she walked back in and started yelling some more.  Dad came and knocked on my and my little sister’s doors and told us to pack a bag and we were leaving.  By this time both of us were crying unstoppably and dad used it against mom.  “See what you did?!  Look at this!  You did this to your girls!”  That’s the day I started cutting myself.  I had caused my parents’ marriage to fall apart, all by one stupid argument.

They didn’t get divorced, and they worked everything out, but I still blamed myself whenever they argued.  Cutting became an escape for me.  It made the crying stop.  Eventually everything got better.  My rebellious period came and went, and the fighting between my mother and I stopped.

More recently I was blamed for something that almost happened that I would have never been able to undo.  Someone got angry at me and was driving recklessly because of it and crashed his car into a ditch.  He shouldn’t have survived.  I got a call from his mother later that night blaming everything on me, because I’m a terrible influence on her son and I didn’t care about him at all.  I knew it wasn’t my fault, but her words cut deep. I started cutting again.  That night, one of my very good friends, and a solid man of God, told me his story about self-injury, just because he knew I needed to hear it.  He didn’t even know what had happened, just that God told him to tell me.  But at that point I knew I didn’t need cutting.  I have God, I have my family, and I have the best friends in the whole world.

THE POINT OF THIS IS…no more hoodies or long sleeves unless I’m actually cold.  I now instead wear my Open Our Eyes bracelet, an organization that helps those who went through what I went through with depression, self-injury, and suicide.  My scars are a symbol, not of a dark period, but of WHAT I HAVE CONQUERED, and I cannot be ashamed of that! 


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