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Present day, 2015, I’m in 9th grade.
What if I never found it? What if no one ever found out that I used it? What if no one ever got hurt, physically and emotionally? Could all of it have been avoided, stopped? Would life have just continued until it was too late, for me, for life? Could it have been hidden? No. I tried my best to hide it, but my secret was exposed. Maybe this tragedy was a gift, something to stop me from going too far, before the darkness fully consumed me, leaving me with no energy to live. I thank this tragedy, yet I hate it, equally.
Summer of 2014. I’m going into 8th grade.
I wake up. The morning is gray, dark and depressing, just like every other day in my life. Of course there are sunny days, when the flowers were open, their petals savoring the sun. Those are the worst days for me. They annoy me, all the sun and happiness. My body can't compute the positivity. Me and positivity are like oil and water, never truly mixing. I’d fell into a dark space, clouding my head with painful and negative thoughts. I can't quite pinpoint when it happened. It didn't just happen, the depression. I mean I've had it my whole life. ADHD and depression. The ADHD was always an issue. But the depression, not so much. It was like a disease. It slowly took control of my thoughts, infecting my mind slowly, making sure not to be noticed until it was too late. It’s too late.
The one thing that was enjoyable in my life was sleeping. Funny isn't it? When we were kids all we wanted to do was stay up later. At least when I was a kid. I’d stay up as late as I could, and wake up at the break of dawn ready for the day. Well, we all grow up, sadly, realizing the truth about reality.
I let my back relax against the mattress, letting go of reality as my body slowly shut down. The feeling is amazing, sleep. I use it as my way of escaping the tragedy of life. “It’s like death, but without the commitment,” my friend said. She could not have been more right. I was in my room almost all of the time. Sleeping usually. The only time I would not be locked away in my small sanctuary was when I was with my two best friends. Now, I’ve never had many friends. I've never had a best friend until Teagan and Anna. The whole friends thing is quite new to me. Teagan is strong, tough, and sassy. Actually, she is kind of mean to the people who aren't her good friends. And Anna, oh man, she is sweet and quiet and the most loving person ever. I might be secretly in-love with her. The whole thing is confusing, and I’d never act on it. Anna is too important to me as a friend; having both of them as friends made my life worth living. Still, it wasn't enough, needy me.
My parents were only slightly aware of my depression. I’m pretty sure they used the idea that if you ignore it, it's not there. My parents and I have tried going to counselors in the past. I never liked them; they never valued my opinions or how I felt. ll the counselors did was talk to my parents. The one time a counselor asked me a question, it was about whether I ever wanted to hurt myself. Hey lady, how about you get to know me before you ask questions like that. I thought. My parents were in the room. They looked at me open-eyed, and told me to tell the truth. When I looked back at the woman, staring at me impatiently, I told her the truth, because I was going to make sure I never saw her again. When I finished speaking, the room went silent. I could see tears pushing up against my mom's eyes, straining to get out. The car ride home was a deafening silent.
Waking up sucks. My body is all stiff and sore. That nasty taste in your mouth usually from whatever you ate the night before, if you did eat. I was always quite self conscious about my weight. I was always heavier. “Big boned” people would say. I never quite believed it. I ate, yes. but not much. I felt like every time I ate I would become a hippo, big and bloated. I was strong though. The only thing I liked about being big boned”. I am a very competitive person. and a complete feminist. I hate when boys say they can do certain things girls couldn't because we're female. I made sure I would prove them wrong. “You can’t beat me up! You are a girl you can't touch me... you're so weak!” They’d chant. Oh, I showed them. On the playground I’d chase them down catch them push them down. Tell them that I'm a girl and I’m stronger then them. This molded me into the person I am now, feeling the need to prove myself to people. When I did it made me feel good, powerful, confident. Until I was sitting in the principal's office apologizing to the kid, the twerp.
So yeah, there are some “okay” things about being big-boned. But not over weight. When I was younger I never really cared. But as I grew older, the more conscious I was about my weight. I’d exercise, weight lift, eat healthier. Never really worked. My weight always making me more self conscious, and less self confident. I probably could have tried harder, but not eating was so much easier. And I thinned, like I hoped. When I did start to significantly lose weight I became happier with my body image, not enough, but a little.
I can't remember why I started. I was probably mad or angry, most likely at myself. I knew what I was doing though. When I first saw the razor in my dad’s work area, I knew. I knew what I would do with it. It was like I planned it in my subconscious mind. Holding the blade in my hand for the first time. Feeling the sharpness of the blade edge as I poked my finger to it. Carrying the blade to my room, washing it, and cleaning it. My body and mind knew what I was doing before I even consciously realized it. As I rolled up my left sleeve and turned over my pale forearm. The sharp, cold blade against my skin. Pressing the pointed tip against my skin, dragging it across. Watching as if puffed up, a light pink. Then as little red dots formed throughout the cut, soon joining together, becoming thicker and thicker. The blood leaking over the edges of the cuts on to the unharmed skin. My body almost was savoring the burning and stinging on the skin. Instead of tears coming out of my eyes there was blood coming out of my skin. It felt good, but I needed more. Another swipe of the blade. “Okay, I’m good no more... No, just one more.” I thought. One led to two, that led to three, and on. When I was finally able to stop myself, I lightly dabbed the excess blood off with a warm, wet towel. I rolled up my sleeve. From then on I started keeping my forearm close to my body. But I didn't stop, I couldn't. The craving controlled me, still does.
So I wake up. I look at the sky. It was morning, the gray sky hovered out my window. I let my stiff sore body roll over. I swing my legs over the side of the bed. Shifting my body weight until my feet was supporting my weight. I get up, stretching my arms. Then I lay on the floor so I can stretch my legs and back. I crawl over to my bookshelf. I remove a couple books in the far right corner. There it is. Right where it should be. The small metal blade laying down under where the books used to be. I slide it off the shelf and into my hand. I clean it, scanning the blade for anything that might cause an infection. I am not only sad this morning, but I am angry. I hate the world, I hate people, anything and everything. I hate life. I turn myself around and look at myself in the mirror. “Look at this disgusting piece of trash,” I say to myself. “Look at yourself, you stupid, fat, ugly, piece of s*** .” I flip myself off. I look at the blade in my hand and grab it. The blade digging deep into my skin. I have never cut this deep before. I do it again. Slashing my forearm over and over until there was bright red blood covering my skin. Again. Again. Again. I throw the blade on the floor, and weep. “What am I doing with my life?” I say. “Are you going to keep doing this till you kill yourself? ” I cry. “I don’t know.” I answer back. “I don’t know… I don’t know… I don’t know!” I repeat, crying harder each time. “I don’t know,” I whisper.
I go downstairs. I already cleaned up the mess, the blood. I am still in my PJs. I decide to eat breakfast, I know I should. It is around noon now, the sun streaming through the windows, burning my tired eyes. I walk into the kitchen. My little brother and sister are at their friend’s house, and my dad’s at work. So it is just me and my mom. “ Good Morning! ” My mom says, overly enthusiastic as always. I know that she just wants to make me happy, but the enthusiasm makes me feel like a baby. I'm now 13 mom, can you stop treating me like i’m a little kid? I think. “Morning” I mumble back. “I’m making pancakes do you want some?” My mom says hopeful. “Sure,” I say back. “Thanks.” She does way too much for me, and I’m so mean to her. Jez Kendall, give her some love. She needs it. “ I love you mom,” I say to her. “I love you too sweetheart,” she says back. I give her a half smile. Not on purpose, that’s just all I have in me right now.
I walk outside to my back yard. if you consider a small forest a back yard. But before you get to the forest there’s about a quarter of an acre of bright, green grass. I walk barefoot across the grass, letting the wet dewy grass tickle my toes. It is nice outside. Even beautiful. I wish I never found that blade. I sit down next to the tall unknown tree. I know my trees, very well. But I was never able to figure out what kind of tree this one is. It wasn’t and oak, maple, cherry. This time of year the small yellow white flowers on the tree are turning into these tiny red-purple berries. The birds and the bees sure love them. Scattering the seeds all over our lawn. In a couple weeks there will be little saplings sprouting everywhere. I close my eyes and let the sounds of the breeze through the trees, calls of the birds, and croaking of the frogs relax my mind. I let the music of the nature pull my mind out of the dark deep space it was in. I wish I could stay like this forever. But I know I have to go back inside and go on with life. But right now, for this moment. I am at peace.
“Pancakes are ready! ” I hear my mom call out. I open my eyes and get up. “Thank you! I’m coming!” I call back. I walk back up to our house and wipe of my feet. I walk into the kitchen and smell the buttery, sweet of the pancakes. “Smells amazing,” I say. “Thank you!” She says, overly joyful. I take my plate of pancakes and sit down. The pancakes taste even better than they smell. The small vanilla extract that she always puts in the pancakes, sticking to my tougne. “It’s our family’s secret ingredient,” she’d say. I’ve never had better tasting pancakes in my life. The savoring taste of the butter running over my sensitive taste buds as the sweet milky flour mix sucks the saliva in my mouth. I decide to have one of the bitter sweet strawberries in a white bowl sitting on the kitchen counter. I scoot out of my seat, the floor screeching from the legs of the chair. The sound grabs my mom's attention, but she doesn't seem to care. ¨Can I have some of those strawberries?¨ I ask. ¨ Of course!¨ My mom responds, perky and joyful. When I reach across the kitchen counter for the strawberries, my mother´s eyes make contact with my under arm. When I see her eyes make contact with my forearm I pull back quickly. ¨Oh, no,¨ I think.
My mother´s face goes pale. Emotionless, as if her brain froze and her heart stopped. As if the sight of it struck her dead. I'm pretty sure I look the same way she does. Both of us completely frozen. Oh, no. Oh, no. Please say she didn't see it. I think. But she did. There was no way she couldn't have. The slits in my forearm, now the dried up blood is even darker then when it was fresh. From a bright red to more of a neon burgundy. The color stands out, on top of my pale skin. My mom jolts back into reality. Like someone slapped her awake from a nightmare, only to realize the nightmare was real. She walks over to me around the counter. Still completely emotionless. She snaches my wrist, which is now tight against my torso, hiding it from my mother's eyes. She flips my arm over, so she can see my under arm. I rip it away. I look up to my mother´s face. No longer emotionless, it's actually the opposite, like her body was overloading with emotion, about to explode. Boom! You can’t run away from an exploding bomb right in front of you. “What happened?!” My mom says, eyes bulging out of her face. “Nothing…” I squeak out. “Show me!” Her loud, booming voice punches my chest. “I scratched myself on a tree..” I mumble out. I don’t know where I got that story, it just popped in my head. I hope it’s believable. “Show me!” She booms again. “It’s nothing.” I say louder. Nope, not believable. She grabs my hand and turns it over. I don´t resist. You can´t resist fate, and my fate has come, devouring my soul, and what is left of my strength.
What happens next? A blur, a huge messy, water eroded blur. I’m sitting in my chair apologizing. I'm crying, my mom's crying. The tears roll down my cheeks, burning like lava. There's more of the fog clouding my vision of what is happening. I no longer know what's going on. I´m saying something, I don't know what, I have no control. Anger starts to vibrate off of her, but I knew that it was coming from desperation. As if all her miserable sorrow was wrapped in a thick coat of rage and aggravation. Only showing the outer layer. ¨Are you doing this for attention?!¨ she screams. That hit me, not in a depressing truthful way, but in a deep strong anger. The outrage shoots out of my chest. I'm trying to keep it in. The anger waking me up from the foggy coma, handing me back my control. She shouts again. ¨ Are you displeased with this wonderful life you have? ¨ The flow of my temper slows. I am ungrateful, I know this. I know that my life is great, but there's something holding me back. My soul is running towards happiness, but a hand holding onto my back, not letting me go any further. My soul was tired of running, and I give in. The darkness pulls me deeper and deeper. I need something to stop it, but I just don't have the energy nor the strength.
¨Is this whole depression thing all an act for attention?!” she says angrily. Wait, what? What did she just say? An act? You think this is all fake? A huge facade for attention? It feels like my body is starting to shake with anger and frustration. ¨No!¨ I yell. I want to say so much more, put her back in her place, even if it wasn't something a daughter should do to her mother. It would only make it worse, I thought. I try to calm myself down. My mom starts to cry again. I hear her mumbling, ´I don't know´s over and over again, each syllable muffled by her tears. She straightens her back, and wipes away the tears. Pulling herself together, piece by piece. ¨Do you need stitches? ¨ she asks sternly. I don´t need stitches, at least I don't think so. I watch my mother´s eyes look back down at my forearm. I put my forearm back to my side, out of eyesight. ¨No, I don't mom, I'm fine.¨ She shakes her head hard, trying to belive me, trying to shake out the fact that I am nowhere near fine. We both know this.¨ I’m calling the hospital,¨ she says harshly. ¨No!¨ I scream, as she pulls out her phone, dialing. I lurch from my chair and grab the phone from her. Or at least try to. Both of us pull and jerk for the device. I know I crossed the line, but I don't care. There was no way I'm letting anyone send me to a hospital. ¨Don’t call the hospital!¨ I shout. ¨Jez Kendall! I was just calling your father,” my mom says. Yeah I'm sure that is exactly what you were doing. I think. She pulls away and continues typing or dialing, I don't know. She pulls my forearm out, exposing my self-massacre. The cuts look like a battlefield right after the fight. I imagine little razors fighting each other across my underarm. ¨Click¨ My mom's phone goes. I wasn.t paying enough attention to realize she was taking a picture of it. What the h*** ? I think. ¨ I´m sending this to your father,¨ she says. That's sick, just sick. I don't say a word, not like there's anything I can do. I watch her type a message to my dad. ´Look at what Kendall did to herself this morning?! ´ I watch her finger press send. I hate you. I think. Was she really making her daughter feel bad about being depressed? Making her feel like she is in major trouble for not liking herself? I hate you. I think again.
When my dad calls, my mom, I jumped. The ringtone breaks our silence. My mom put me on the phone, and makes me explain. I tell him everything. His voice remains calm, loving. ¨Thank you for understanding,¨ I say. ¨I'll be home soon, everything is going to be okay.¨ Everything is going to be okay. I let the words repeat over and over again. Can everything be okay? Accepting the fact that it is a possibility. I turn to see my mother crying. Her muscular body hunched over on the couch, as if her inside is caving in. I walk over and sit next to her. I don't hate you. I think. I didn't mean it. I'm sorry. Not saying a word. ¨I'm sorry for the way I reacted,¨ my mom says, breaking the silence. ¨I'm sorry too... for everything,¨ I tell her. ¨It's okay sweetheart, everything is going to be okay.¨ Is she right, can this be? She is right, she has to be. Everything is going to be okay. It´s going to be very different than it used to be. Our world turned upside down, and we will learn to live on the ceiling of our old life. But life is going to be okay. Okay?
Present day, 2015, I'm in 9th grade.
I still think back to what would have happened if my parents never found out. Or if I never used the razor in the first place. Never self harmed. Would life have never changed? Would have my life have gotten better, or worse. Me and my parents found a therapist that is right for me. I still see her, Janice, my therapist. Now I'm taking Zoloft and finding other ways to cope with the tragedies life throws at me. Because no matter what there will always be tragedies. But it is okay, because there are so many beautiful things in life, as well as the bad ones. Just like my parents promised, it's okay. This tragedy may have stopped me from killing myself, or only made it worse. Only oblivion knows. But I thank this tragedy. And I curse this tragedy, equally.