The Last Time I Cut

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For some, the only relief is cutting. We have no hard numbers or statistics. Only estimates. Cutting is the kind of thing that is done in private. It’s a closely guarded secret, so numbers are hard to come by. And speaking out about it is an act of bravery. Each time someone talks about their own experience, it opens the door for someone else to feel less alone. 

Today, Sarah is that brave soul who is sharing what few others dare talk about. Some of you may remember Sarah from the letter she wrote the SisterWives that inspired a beautiful post by Michelle. Now Sarah’s sharing something that she wrote a year and a half ago, in the midst of a crisis. It was the last time she cut herself. “It meant something then, but it means more to me now.” 

I think you’ll all agree that this speaks to pain and anguish and triumph. Thank you, Sarah.

-Gretchen

 

The first time was with a safety pin in my bedroom
Almost seems silly now.
And though it hardly bled, I covered it in cream so that the dirt from the world wouldn’t replace the filth I had just released from inside my own skin.
You see,
I was born whole, as most beautiful works of art are, with the color of my eyes taken from the trees and the spark in them plucked from the brightest stars in the galaxy
But no one can handle too much of a good thing.
So I exploded into a million pieces.
Those hands
On my body
Those words
On my body
My hands
On my body
I couldn’t take it and
I was a tickertape parade, tornado, whirlwind, dust bowl
Flinging my shit around and hoping the world would know what to do with me better than I did.
And the world threw up its arms and gave my pieces right back to me.
You could see my mess
as far West
as Kansas I’m told.
Manifest Destiny never sounded so hopeful.

And when it was over,
The dust had settled blankets on everything I knew
Leaving all of it exactly the same, just cast in a new light.
So I strolled down familiar streets lit with the glimmer of hope a promise leaves behind when it is broken
and I stared at the pieces of myself
Wondering why good people cut up good art into puzzles
Then put it back together pretending nothing ever happened.

Because those cracks tell a story.
And there’s a beauty in those gaps
In those pictures
in those moments stitched back together.
Those pieces never fit quite as tightly as they used to
But maybe they don’t have to.
Everything needs room to grow.
Those lines in between tell a story
Of long nights awake trying to make the pieces fit
Trying to find those damned pieces I lost track of so many years ago.
The pieces I didn’t think were important.
Trying to get the pieces back that he stole from me all those nights.
The pieces I didn’t think I’d miss.
Trying to remember what I’m even supposed to look like
when I’m finished
Because this puzzle didn’t come with instructions.

But look at me now.
The cracks and the lines in my skin tell a story.
My story.
And if you follow them
You’ll see that I wouldn’t be whole if they weren’t there.
You can trace them with your backwards conceptions of what whole is supposed to look like
Trying to figure out how cracks can make something stronger.
Look closely enough and you’ll see how my pieces hold on to each other for dear life now.
Interlocked because they know what it’s like to be alone and apart and
I am still in a million pieces but at least I’m learning how they all fit.
The glory never goes to those who chop up the art,
But to those who can put it back together again.

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