last month i missed a pretty important anniversary (…i don’t want to talk about it). but because that is so unlike me, and because it is affecting me deeply that i forgot to remember something that has impacted me so significantly, i decided to celebrate a normally private anniversary in a public way.
this week is eight years that i have been self-injury free. i say “this week” because i don’t remember the exact day, just that it was the beginning of february. but i do remember the exact scar that made me stop.
and i am sharing this anniversary with hope; mostly for growth. because i have realized this school year that i am not as comfortable with this element of my past as i thought i was. i still cringe when people joke and speak nonchalantly about cutting or jump to the defensive when curious people happen across my scars.
and i have noticed how frequently the thought still pops into my head. it never really went away, i have just learned better ways to respond.
self-injury is an addiction, it is a coping mechanism in the same way that drugs and alcohol are. it is a strategy to manage pain. for several years of my life, cutting was what helped me to feel present in my body, and gave physical manifestation to what was happening inside of me that i had no words for and no other way to express.
it is not a joke.
it is part of the reason i am on my way to becoming a therapist. i am here today because i had a therapist who wasn’t satisfied with letting me stick with my unhealthy coping mechanisms. i had people who saw the scariest, darkest parts of my soul and loved me anyway. and i literally have the scars to remind me where i have been and how far i have come.
eight years, here’s to the rest of my life.