November 13, 2010

I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

When I was in 8th grade, I saw a girl use an eraser on her arm to burn her skin. A few girls in my class did it, as a way to prove they were tough and could stand the pain. I went home that day and did it to myself. It hurt so badly, but it was also very distracting. As I was gliding the eraser over my skin, I was focused on how hard to push, how far to make go, and how the pain flowed through my whole body. That day, I had a tiny burn on my hand from my experiment. It hurt for days and weeks after, and I had to come up with excuses as to why it was there. After all of that, I realized that it was stupid and pointless, and didn’t think I’d ever do it again.

Not too much later, I don’t remember the circumstances, I was very upset. I felt angry, hurt, and worthless. I sat on my floor not knowing what to do with these crazy emotions stirring through my entire body. I had never felt like this before, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I hated myself, I hated my life, I hated everything. I grabbed a pencil, and began erasing my skin, just as I had before, but this time harder and with purpose. I was distracted by the pain and focused on what I was doing. I stopped crying and centered my emotions on this act. When I stopped, I had a burn about an inch long and my elbow. I knew I could cover it up, and wouldn’t have to make up excuses as to why it was there.

This disgusting, self hating habit went on for six years. It was kept hidden and covered up by clothes, and more so by lies. When my mom found out, it didn’t stop me. All along, I thought maybe my doing this was a cry for help. Was I hurting myself so that someone would see my burns, know what I was doing, and fix me? But it didn’t stop. No one could fix me. I didn’t feel like I was worth fixing at all. It was an inner struggle with myself, and the enemy. It continued for a very long time. I had to be more careful about hiding it now that I knew I couldn’t lie anymore. As I got older, the burns got larger and deeper, and new forms of self injury were added to the mix. My burns and bruises were seen and cried about, they were hidden, and they were painful, but they eventually healed. I have, and probably always will have, scars on several parts of my body, where I burned my skin in attempts ease the pain of my feelings.

About a year ago, I made the decision to stop this habit. I realized how wrong it was to harm the body that God had given me. I wanted to stop, but more so, I needed to. I don’t want to grow up with scars on my body or with this self injury constantly haunting me. I don’t want my children to have to ask me what happened, or ever have them have to deal with something so awful. So I made the decision to stop it before it could ever get any further. Although this choice was made, it was not kept one hundred percent. This is a struggle I will have to deal with every day. It’s not something that can just go away. I am lucky enough to have an amazing mother who supports and encourages me, and friends who are always here for me. The people I have in my life have helped me in more ways than they will ever know. I thank the Lord every day for them, and for the love and grace He has showed me. I often wonder, how can He love me, for all of the messed up things I’ve done? But the bottom line is, He does love me, and it’s time for me to love myself as well.

I am not writing this for sympathy or attention. Instead, I just want people to be aware. I know for a fact that I’m not the only one dealing with issues like this, and I know that I kept it well hidden, so I’m sure there are others out there in the same boat. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” I no longer want to feel as if I am not in control of my emotions and my actions. I want to feel at peace with myself and with God, and be able to help others through my testimony.

On November 12 I got a tattoo of a dove on my back as a sign of peace and hope through Jesus Christ. I am not asking anyone to change their opinions of tattoos, I respect others’ opinions, and expect the same in return. I don’t want to be judged for the fact that I have one. It is a very personal choice, one that I spent a lot of time in thought and prayer over. I am proud of my tattoo, and of my commitment to love myself and my body. Because of God’s grace, we are forgiven and given eternal life. This is something that I never want to forget, and want to be reminded of every day.

God has placed it on my heart to share my story, and although I’m not totally sure if I’m ready to share all of this so publicly, I am doing it because I know that’s what He wants. I pray that reading this will help someone, even if it’s only one person, realize how precious life is, and how good our God is. If you are going through a hard time, please talk to me. I will not judge, and I will do my best to understand. Although this is a sore subject, I don’t mind answering questions or giving more information about what I’ve gone through, and what I continue to struggle with. Please don’t be afraid to ask.

Thank you for reading this :) I love you all!


A Less Hopeless Romantic said...

For starters, I really like the title : ) I think it is amazing that you were willing and able to put your story out there like this. There are so many people, including me, that need to hear these and so many people struggle with finding it within themselves to share it, especially so publicly. I will not say I know your struggle, as I believe all of our struggles are different. But I will say that I have known and still do know a similar one. Thank you for this post. Thank you for reminding me and many others that sometimes we go through great pain so that we may come out with great testimonies as reminders for ourselves and others who are struggling. You have no idea of the degree to which I commend and respect you for this. Thank you again. Keep sharing. Keep trusting in Him. Clearly he has done and will continue to do amazing things in you and through you.

Anonymous said...

I know how hard this was to share. I love you.

Dazel Marie said...

I had no idea!! And I am SO SO SO sorry I wasn't able to make it up to be there with you to get it. However, thank you for sharing your story! You are one of the most beautiful, warm hearted people I know and accepted me while I was/am going through tough things in my life. I've been scared of religion from being judged so much in my own life so I am sorry I can't say anything encouraging through His words. And I may not understand your struggle completely as I have not been in your shoes but I understand struggle and will be here for you if ever you need to reach out. Keep your head high because you are beautiful and strong!
we love you,

Ashley B said...

Just another beautiful thing about you-- your honesty is brave and your faith is amazing-- you are beautiful inside and out so glad that you are figuring that out :)--I love you!!

PS I think the tat is cool :) I have never gotten one because I am a weinee :)

Ashley B

Anonymous said...

John 20:19 "..when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear.. Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "peace be with you."

Dear Missy, since I have known you I have always desired and asked God that my girls be like you when they grow up. I admired you in so many ways and now continue to do so. I am so amazaed at your courage for sharing this story. I know it must not have been easy. We all have something in our past that some of us still do not have the valor to share.

I have always judged the action (not the person) of getting a tatoo because I see my skin as part of the temple of the Lord and found it disrespectful. Your story has made me re evaluate my thinking. For fear many of us altough not visibly have disrespected the temple of the Lord. I like the fact that you said you prayed about it. Your tatoo does not symbolize disrespect but rather courage.

I continue to think highly of you and even more. I will pray for you continually and hope that my girls when they grow up may have the courage as you to also face situations in their lives and not be fearful. Fear is not from God.

Love you lots and I think many young girls will benefit from this. If you allow me, I would like to print it and share it with the youth in our church.

Love, kenia Sawyer

pudding volcano said...

Thanks you for sharing. It means so much to know that people have gone through similar experiences. Our scars are reminders that no matter how deeply hurting we are, we can always find healing in the Lord.