Behind the Blood
There are a multitude of terms for what I did; self-harm, self-mutilation, and cutting to name a few. Wikipedia defined it as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue without suicidal intent, you might call it attention seeking, crazy. I called it an escape. For me, self harm became an attempt to stop the barrage of emotions, depression and anxiety, to escape the accusational thoughts that plagued me and to find a moment of peace and freedom.
I never considered freedom to be something I deserved. Freedom belonged to good people, not like me. Being left to take care of my siblings after my mother died from a lengthy battle with cancer, I was the mother to my siblings, who were then aged six, four and three. I learned to cook dinner and taught my youngest brother to read when I should've been spending my time with Barbie dolls. I discovered the knack of avoiding my drunken father and cried myself to sleep without waking anyone. My father turned to alcohol and became abusive towards me. I was taught that I was an awful child, that I didn't deserve happiness, didn't deserve love. I learned to accept being thrown across the room, to kiss my own wounds better. What I learned as normal still shocks me today.
At 11 or 12 I discovered eating disorders: anorexia became my best friend. At 13 bulimia entered my life. With these new found “friends” the little self-respect and self-esteem I had ran off, terrified. Needless to say, it wasn't long before anorexia and bulimia introduced me to their buddy, self-harm.
I first started cutting on my 15th birthday. It wasn't serious, just a tiny little scratch on my thigh, nothing to worry about, I told myself. Its completely normal. Soon enough the cuts started to get deeper and deeper. The worse I felt the deeper the cuts had to be. I'd often look down at the blood and think “This is why I'm hurting” It all made sense. Naturally I was caught, after only a few months, and my father and his partner flipped. I was told to leave and never come back. I lost the only parent I had left, and it crushed me. My thoughts became ever more damaging and and controlling and eventually I gave up, to let self harm rule my life.
I pushed my friends away, and hid in bathrooms so I could be alone with my stanley knife. That piece of metal meant the world to me, I carried it on me, often held it in my hand. It made me feel okay. I knew that if I had it then nothing had the power to hurt me like I could. I was my own worst enemy: both the perpetrator and the victim. Usually a bully is punished but this time they couldn't be: because the victim went down with them. And that bully worked hard, always reminding me of the words I'd learned as a child. That I deserved to hurt, I needed punishment. I never realised that I was being watched and prayed for, by someone who would eventually become my closest friend.
After feeling isolated and unloved for years, Anita taught me that I was cared for. That there was Someone out there who cried with me. who wanted nothing more than to “Wipe every tear from my eyes” His name is Jesus.
Anita invited me to her youth service, Ruckus, where I fell in love with the Lord and met some of my biggest supporters: Jody and Sammy. Those three were amazing and I'll be eternally grateful for. They went beyond and above for me. Me!!! Anita bandaged my cuts, even though she hated blood, Jody stayed up all hours of the night talking to me even when she'd have to be up early that morning. Sammy chased me down a hill when I tried to commit suicide, although she'd never met me. They were with me through my worst and played a huge part in making me the person I am today.
I expect I'll remember till my dying day exactly what was happening when the truth exploded within me and set me free. I was standing, singing to Hillsong United's “More Than Life” during Praise and Worship at youth service when I prayed for forgiveness for everything I'd done and for God to come into my life and transform it. Feeling the power of God for the first time, I flipped and pulled away from Him. But God wanted me too much to let me run away from Him again. Its been almost a year since the night I accepted Christ into my heart- and I'm amazed at the changes He's made in me! I now know that my life is not a waste, that I'm worth it.
We are all worth it!!! God considered the cost for our sins, looked at us and thought we were worth it!
I now firmly believe that God will never ever abandon us the way our family or friends might do. All of us have times when we feel like we can’t see God, but whether we’re aware of it or not, He’s always right there with us. Even if we don’t love ourselves, even if we do stuff that hurts Him, God loves us more than we can ever imagine. He’s promised that He’ll never leave us, even in the toughest times. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” declares David (Psalm 147:3).
and God knows what its like to be in pain, Jesus himself bares the scars of his pain, and “by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). He knows what it’s like to be lonely, hurt and scared. We are so special to Him, that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, so that we could be free from all the crap the world throws at us.
God doesn’t expect perfection from us, He just wants us to love Him and give over our troubles to Him. He created us and knew us even before we were born, and each of us is incredibly precious to Him. Jesus said “for only a cent you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31).
I've learnt many important lessons since I became a Christian, but this one I consider one of the most essential to my life. And that is that life is always better without a razor occupying the space of “best friend”