Thursday, March 1, 2012

Scars of Every Shade

   Last night right before going to bed I scrolled through my Tumblr dashboard one last time as I normally do, because I am addicted to my phone, Tumblr, Facebook, and really the internet as a whole.... and I saw something. A simple orange box with black text. Text informing me that tomorrow (which is now today) is Self-Injury Awareness Day. I didn't have the emotional energy to respond and so I went to bed without really reacting to this news in any way.

   This morning I woke up and felt compelled to scroll backwards in a frantic fury trying to find the post so I could reblog it. I had to. How could I have not known about this? I mean, I'm not super into these "awareness" days in general... but I am a recovered self-injurer. Or whatever the correct terminology for that may be. It's been almost ten years now, but this morning everything came flooding back. The years have done little for my sensitivity to the onrush of emotions that hit me like a dumptruck when I accidentally stumble across an image of someone's bleeding limbs out there for the world to see. For me to see. It's too familiar. I've seen enough... and yet there is nothing I want more than to spend all day searching for, finding and sharing messages of hope in this regard. The internet is full of these messages and I want my social media platforms to be among those places... but, I am scared. Scared because the internet is also a place where hurting people reach out in disturbing ways. Ways that I am still, to this day, unable to skim over without severe mental and emotional backlash. It is full of people glamorizing, romanticizing and even fetishizing things that cut me to the very core.

   I understand why they do it. I was there. It makes knowing what you're doing to yourself far easier to bear. Placates the guilt if only for a temporary moment in time. Almost makes you feel superhuman... something which you desperately crave when you're so accustomed to feeling subhuman. But, I just can't see those things. I can't process them. My own scars, sure. In fact I love them. They give me strength. But other peoples scars? That is a different story... sometimes, most times, I can find the stability inside myself to feel for them while being inspired and resolved to stay the path. Others it's still too much. But open wounds???

I. Cannot. Take. It.

   And so I am done searching for other peoples hope to spread. I must be resigned to spread only my own, for I cannot take the chance of seeing another arm dripping with my pain. I say my pain because seeing their blood creates the most unsettling ache in the pit of stomach. They are feeling my pain and I am feeling theirs. A picture worth thousands upon thousands of words. Words that can't be expressed any other way.

   How can I stop attempting to spread hope? How can I ignore where I have been out of fear of having to face it's current grip on others who are locked in the stronghold of self-injury? How can I, knowing what I know, experiencing what I have experienced, give up on seeking to help others who are currently trudging through those muddy waters? How can I stop looking? How can I stop connecting? How can I not "go looking for it"?

I can't.

   I can't stop trying to make good things continue to flow from my bad experiences. I can't help people who are struggling if I refuse to see their struggle. Or mine... But  I cannot go through certain minefields today after barely making it through my own back then. I can reach out but not down. I can step forwards hand in hand with someone walking directly behind me and guide them to the best of my ability... but I cannot step backwards into their world with them, expecting to make it back out unscathed. I cannot tread those waters. If you can, and have positive things you would like to pass along for me to spam the world with, I will gladly accept. But I am done with the searches that inevitably produce results on both sides of the coin. I must shelter myself in some ways. It is a part of who I am. I exist today as a result of certain, intentionally chosen filters that guard my mind, my sanity. My sense of peace. My self.

   Today I choose to not harm myself by allowing such images into my line of sight. Today I choose to help others only in ways that do not put myself at risk. Selfish? Maybe a little, but hurting people hurt people, and I want to help. I can't do that effectively when I allow that level of hurt to enter my heart.

   Today I choose my mental health by creating my own hope to share and leaving it at that. For that is what I am capable of in this moment. And so I shall do it. No less and no more.

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