I was about 8 or 9 years old when I first said, out loud, that I wanted kill myself.
In retrospect I do not think I understood the finality of death to make such a statement with any real intent, but back then I didn’t have the language to articulate anxiety, fear, and self-loathing. All I had were empty threats in the hopes that someone of influence would take pity on me. I was not pitied. In fact, I think I got in trouble for making the statement, but it’s all pretty hazy now, so I’m not exactly sure how it all played out.
I do know that I started cutting myself (read about it HERE) when I was about 14 years-old, telling some of my school friends, but mostly keeping it to myself. As an adult, it’s hard to take myself back to my childhood to try to understand what motivated me, so forgive me if this doesn’t all add up perfectly. I can remember doing it when I was upset, and feeling that there was no one with whom I could speak to talk me off the ledge. I was too scared to do the full deed, and while the cutting itself was physically painful, while I was cutting I’d also feel a flood of relief, sort of like going to the bathroom after holding it for an hour. I also felt some shame, but mostly relief. On some level I think I wanted to be found out because I always cut myself on my forearm; my scars weren’t hard to miss.
Eventually I made a call to some teen hotline “threatening” to kill myself, and sure enough, cops were called and I was hauled off to the emergency room for a psych evaluation. I was diagnosed with clinical depression, sent home with my parents, and eventually placed on antidepressants.
The years went on, and I pushed through, but it would be years before I came to terms with the root of it all. The truth is that I believed, with absolute certainty, that my life held no value. I truly believed it, and would often ask myself, “what’s the point? Why am I here taking up space?” And aside from the overwhelming anxiety these thoughts would create, I suffered through a series of dysfunctional friendships. I didn’t know how to be a friend, so I certainly didn’t know anything about choosing friends who were a match for my emotional needs. And my emotional needs were far greater than what most teens and young adults could withstand.
My parents loved us, and they did the best they could, they really did. But I’ve never heard a single positive word about myself from either of my parents, even to this day. And while I don’t need these words today ( I couldn’t receive them anyway), I can’t help but think of all of the ways I would not have suffered if I had, at any point, been told that I was worth something. Anything.
However, knowing these things about myself, and never forgetting where I began has allowed me to always, even in my darkest moments, to carry on. Being a blogger isn’t something I planned. I feel overlooked, overshadowed, and lost in world where my story falls flat against the girls who have the “it factor.” I want to quit all the time. I really do.
Last week, for instance, I went to New York Fashion week and had the worst time. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say it was a mess, and it was a mess because I was there trying to be an “it blogger,” and I played myself. Afterwords, I came home and cried myself sick as I tried to convince myself that my NYFW disaster was a sign that I needed to throw in the towel. But then I got a call from my cousin ( who just walked in her first runway show at 65 years young -read about it HERE), and during the course of this call and through our mutual tears, I was reminded of my truth. And the truth is I’ve spent the majority of my life chasing death. I could be dead. But I am here, and there is purpose in survival.
I do not tell this story to be pitied. In fact, when I tell folks about the the not-so-great things I have endured, I cringe when they tell me they are “sorry for me.” Don’t ever feel sorry for me. I am not sorry for myself. I have a wonderful family, a phenomenal collection of shoes, and infinite possibilities ahead. I tell this story because in a world where pretense is valued over truth, I want to always remember where I come from. And for you, the girl who may be cutting herself in the bathroom, I want you to know that it does get better. Don’t give up. Never give up.
For more, check out this facebook live video I posted a few days ago:
Thanks for reading!