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!