I’m still here
To know someone for who they really are and love them all the same, one must know where they come from. Simple enough, right?
I was always known as a talker. People always would say to me, “You talk too much.” And the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me was simply that. You talk too much. It’s always hurt my feelings. It’s always made me incredibly sad. And it’s always made me want to never speak again. People would joke about it, make simple remarks about it, make zippering the mouth shut and throwing away the key gestures, sighing… I know, I know. I’m annoying. I’ve just…got a lot to say. And the problem is, I’d never say what I needed to say or should have said. I’d hold a lot of stuff in. Stuff that you should see a therapist about. Stuff that agonizes and builds up and causes nothing good to happen.
So my talking was a way for me to cope. To cope with being a bastard child of a man who really didn’t care or rather didn’t know how to care. To cope with having to see and hear my mother being abused both emotionally and physically. To cope with having my first memory ever being of me getting tossed down a hallway by a crap-ass step-father saying “I never want to see that little shit again.” To cope with moving. A lot. To cope with divorces. To cope with absent fathers. To cope with death of a best friend. To cope with being 17 and having a broken hip. To cope with life.
And I know, I can sound like a whiny teenager at times. Oh woe is me. My life sucked. It didn’t. But at night, when I was all alone with my thoughts and memories, it did. You can only cry to your Mom so many times. You can only complain to your sister before it gets old. And you can tell your best friend all kinds of things, but sometimes they die. How can you get better?
I had planned on writing a funnier blog today, but when my Google sidebar told me that there was a new blog from AskCherlock titled “The Cutter,” I stopped. I read it. Then my mind got really quiet.
A few weeks back, Matt and I were up late talking. Typically, I’m the one who asks all kinds of questions about his childhood and being a teenager and all life before he met me. In the middle of a pause, he said, “Did you ever give yourself paper cuts on purpose?”
“No. Those hurt.”
“So…what did you use…when you’d cut?”
Now, I’ve been with Matt for going on 6 years. And in that time, he’s actually seen the aftermath. However, he’d never really talk about it. He more or less just wanted me to stop. He didn’t understand it, and how can someone really explain it…so he would get upset and really, really quiet. I knew it made him sad. Worse, I knew it made him frustrated that there wasn’t really much he could do to make me quit.
So when he was sitting there, in the dark, asking me what I once used to cut, I had to pause.
“Well. Um. Let me think back. When I first started, I used a broken CD. Clearly, I wasn’t one for neatness. My step-dad had straight edge razors, but they were rusty and I wasn’t suicidal. Sometimes I’d use brand new nails…screwdrivers dipped in rubbing alcohol…knives that Larry had recently sharpened…bathroom scissors…wire hangers…why do you ask?”
And he said he didn’t know. I suppose it’s hard to really think much after your wife whom you love and have children with is telling you she used to self-mutilate with wire hangers. It’s not like it was new news to him, he knew about it. Hell, he was there sometimes sleeping in the next room when I’d do it.
To those who have never known someone to cut, please don’t look at me like I’m a freak. I’m merely human who had a whole lot of shit on my plate at one time and had no other way of dealing with it. Some people drink, some people smoke, some people do drugs, some people write, some people hold it all in, some people cut. I cut. And it was a welcomed pain. Pain doesn’t bother me much. Clearly, I found it to be therapeutic.
I don’t do it anymore. I don’t know why or when I stopped. I just kind of did. I remember sitting in my bathroom when I was 20, holding a new box cutter and I just froze. What was it that I couldn’t deal with? What was it that I needed to go away? Why was I doing this?
And I don’t remember. I dropped the box cutter and let it sit on the floor. When Matt came home from work I told him to pick it up and put it somewhere – anywhere – and that I was done with it. Done with it all. It was time for me to grow up and act like an adult. And this isn’t to say that people who cut and suffer for years and years aren’t grown up or adult-like, it just wasn’t me anymore. I was over it.
Five or so years spent wearing sweatshirts in 90 degree weather. Never wearing shorts. Lying. Ruining perfectly good relationships. Crying. Avoiding home. Not being me.
And I still talk too much.
I hardly dwell on these histories very often. Enough to get a good cry out of it and move on and share some stories. It’s not meant to draw in a load of “Aww, so sorry to hear that,” comments.
It’s my new therapy.
So to know someone for who they really are and love them all the same, one must know where they come from. I came from a hard working woman who’d do anything for me. A sister who loves me and would bitch slap anyone who’d dis me. A Minnesota native transplanted into Pennsylvania girl who just had a few rough patches and had an even rougher time learning from them. I love to watch hockey, build blocks with my kids, run for fun, talk, draw, be creative and cook. I hate cleaning the bathroom, weeding, sitting directly in the sun, seeds in my jelly, raspberries, dirty glasses, and people who judge too quickly. When I’m sad, I like a pillow on my lap and long sleeves for the tears. When I’m happy I want to share it with the world. I’m a good Mom who has a longer temper than it used to be, yet I still snap if the kids do something incredibly stupid. My favorite fall food is Honey Crisp apples and I love when Carly turns them into apple crisp. I have long fingers and my husband laughs when I pick things up with my toes, because they’re long, too. I’m a nice person. I just talk a lot.
And I used to cut.
But I’m better now.