I read once that
Grief is as universal as love is,
And I think of that often when I equate the two
Because I sense an absence where there used to be something,
And I don’t know if it was something good.
In fact, deep down,
I know it wasn’t.
But it was something.
It was something.
I’ve read that grief only lives where love lived first,
And I know it’s true because I’ve loved.
I’ve loved a razor blade more than I could ever love myself.
It’s funny how sharp edges could take up room
Where I needed to be touched softly, gently, tenderly.
I let the bite of metal fill up what was empty in me,
I let pain become what I could find faith in.
No one wants to hear that you loved cutting yourself.
That you still might love cutting yourself.
Behind closed doors, hush hush in places we don’t talk about,
We shame the minds of the crazies,
Anyone so drastically disturbed as to look for peace in their own trickling blood.
Call me a bleeding heart.
And I’ll take it literally.
Because goddamnit, if I’m in this much pain,
Then it should show.
It should bloody well show.
The first time wasn’t the worst,
No, not at all.
Maybe it’s fair to call it a first kiss,
Nervous and quick,
The first taste of what it might look like to know this, to trust this, to love this.
Two small lines running parallel along the inside of a teenager’s pale wrist,
Lines that will never meet,
Can never touch.
I name them safety and belonging.
And I like them.
Today, my favorite scar is lined with six dots,
Where dark blue thread put me back together.
If I am to equate that initial taste of self-harm to the nervous and excited buzz of a first kiss,
Then this one was a mind-blowing fuck.
There’s love making and then there’s an insidious kind of body-unraveling.
It hurt, it hurt, and I hated myself for letting it happen –
But my god, did I hate myself more for knowing that I liked it.
There is a certain intimacy that comes from seeing what you’re made of –
Red and white and skin and cells and
Heart pounding and eyes stinging
And I’m not brave enough to die but
Just brave enough to bleed.
Laceration of right forearm, initial encounter.
Keep stitches covered for the first 24 hours.
Keep the wound clean and dry.
Wash gently with soap and water.
I don’t know how to be gentle to myself.
No one ever taught me how.
I know tears, stinging like fire in my eyes.
I know the crack of her hand across my cheek.
I know his hand, firm around my neck.
I know the way it feels to be thrown to the ground, the wall, the pavement,
I don’t know how to hold myself with grace,
To let these hands take good care of this body,
To be patient and understanding,
To offer a tender touch,
To whisper “I’m sorry.”
To mean it.
Post-traumatic stress disorder,
Nightmares associated with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder,
History of self-harm.
How can you diagnose a choice?
How can you treat a symptom when I am the disease?
I am the disease.
And that is the hardest part of all of this.
I have chosen to direct all of my pain inward, and I have grown comfortable with holding a body full of fire.
It sears through my flesh,
But my god, at least it lights the way for me.
If I contain it to this room,
It can’t hurt anyone else, can it?
But ash seeps through the gashes on my arm,
Flames dance behind my eyes,
And I am so tired.
I am so tired of the fight.
All it has done is color red across my skin,
And keep my body a foreign country
Where I have never been able to call this place a home.
It is a choice to hold my own fire within this being.
It is a choice to open the doors and look for restoration glimmering amongst the dust.
Perhaps healing in the very place that made you sick is possible,
But only if you can come to believe that, even if not now, but someday,
You are deserving of a new home.
I used to say that I wasn’t ready to be cured, because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye,
But the thing is, I don’t think any of us are ever ready.
I may never feel ready to give up the cutting,
My most trusted friend.
The one who lit up the way through when it was the only way out I could see –
But I am ready to feel better.
And that makes all the difference.
My scars feel like a battleground,
I have loved and lost so much here.
There is anger in the dark, thick, purple lines,
And desperation in the quiet white etches.
I remember the careful hand that carved straight and narrow,
And the shaking one that ripped through, jagged and uneven.
I watched dressings dissolve in blood and tears,
And I took those old haunts to this ground to die.
But they didn’t die.
They won’t until I treat them,
Until I treat my body like a friend,
And I come with hope like candles,
Telling ghosts to go.
Who gives a fuck about a diagnosis when black words typewritten will never be enough to cover an entire heart?
Maybe it’s less about
“I swear I won’t do this anymore,”
And more about
“I want to feel okay.
I just want to feel okay.”
Maybe there’s no cure,
But there can be a treatment plan,
And for me it looks like one tiny white pill 3 times a day,
And a bigger pink one in the morning,
And a capsule that quiets the monsters under my bed
Or in my bed
Or in my head.
It looks like a text to my friends at 3 am,
And a coffee date when my hands need to shake around something warm instead of cold metal.
It looks like a weekly check in with my therapist,
Hearing the story out loud,
Knowing that it wasn’t just real in my head,
And that now that my words are alive in the world,
Maybe I can be, too.
It looks like my hands wrapped around my own shoulders, learning to nurture the depth of sadness I still hold,
Learning to be soft,
Learning to let myself cry.
I gave my razor blades to my therapist and I gave my body back to myself.
I stole my love back from the things I chose to hurt myself with,
And I started pouring it back into my art, my friends, my poems, my work.
It feels like losing,
But I hope it can someday feel like winning.
My hands feel empty,
But my heart feels something.
There is still something.
And I will not name it yet.
I will just give it time.
I haven’t cut myself in 8 weeks,
And learning to let go is the hardest thing I have ever done.
I often run my hands over the scars that remain
I never learned how to read Braille
But they speak a language that I know,
That so clearly translates to
“I have survived.”
There is grief in the recovery,
And they forget to tell you that.
You can lose the things you loved,
Even if you weren’t supposed to love them
And it will hurt differently than slicing your skin open did,
It will hurt when you knit yourself together,
It will hurt when you let go.
It will hurt when you stand up from the grave of all the monsters you thought you were burying,
It will hurt when you bury the person you used to be.
But like a light from your soul this time,
You can lead you back up.
A girl toting razors and pain had one dying wish,
A feeble plea,
She asked me to keep her safe.
I will not spend the rest of my days sitting at her grave.
I will heal.
I will listen.