Better

By , North Chesterfield, VA
Ouch.

Blood slowly oozes down my arms. I’m slightly fascinated by it, but decide that it’s enough for the present and put my pocket knife away. If anybody saw me they would never believe it. Preachers daughter. Straight A’s. Good kid. I almost didn’t believe it myself. I was in seventh grade.

But let me explain.

When I was in the sixth grade I had my first boyfriend. Sounds like your typical puppy love, right? It was. It was all the good things in the world, and everything a first love should be. But all good things come to an end. After my parents found an embarrassingly romantic letter to the boyfriend from myself, they decided that it was time for us to come to an end.

The summer before my seventh grade year was harsh, but beautiful. My family took a three week long trip out west. I got to see glorious sights like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and the ever stretching plains of America’s heartland. But I cried myself to sleep almost every night. They never teach you how to heal a broken heart in school.

As seventh grade came to a start, I was at one of the most awkward stages of my life. I had just gotten glasses, my acne was beginning to really bloom and I was a typical awkward adolescence. So needless to say, I was nervous about seeing my old flame. But on that first day of school I needn’t have worried about his eyes on me. There was a new girl in school, and she was straight out of a magazine. Shining blonde hair, clear complexion, and nice long legs. What every middle school boy dreams of. I felt like nothing in comparison. Ugly brown hair, acne, and short stubby legs.

My first love fell fast and hard (along with every other boy in my class) for this new goddess. Every time I saw the way he looked at her-the way he used to look at me-I ached in a place that wouldn’t heal with some Neosporin and a band-aid. So one day, in a fit of tears and sadness, I took out my pocket-knife I had gotten at the Grand Canyon and drew it against my skin. It felt good. It was my pain expressing itself.

I continued to cut myself for the next couple of months. I hid it from my friends and family until one night when my mom discovered my scars.

There was a mood in my house over the next couple of days of carefulness. My poor family was unsure what to do and only in recent years have I begun to realize the stress and sadness I had put them through. They took me to our family doctor who chided me for my perfectionism. I never really cared for that doctor. Regardless, he recommended a psychiatrist and my parents sent me. I think that the sessions helped. I’m not sure though. I was too stubborn at the time to even care anymore, so I mainly went for the sake of my parents.

My eigth grade year was better, but I was still lost. I didn’t cut myself, but my disregard for my own worth was still evident. I was insecure. The summer before high school my family moved from Tennessee to Virginia. It was a new start. It was my first year in a public high school and it took a while to get used to the crowds and the kids. I found a good group of friends though and began to excel in my studies. I paid attention at church and joined my school’s tennis team. While the sadness from leaving my childhood home and friends was still fresh, I slowly began to feel myself be renewed. I read more, nourished new friendships and discovered things about myself. I grew.

Now in my senior year of high school, I barely resemble the girl from seventh grade. I have my moments of self-pity and self-loathing, but I move on. I’m not as awkward, my hair’s actually a pretty golden-brown, and I still have acne. I’m not 100% confident, and never plan to be; I don’t think it’s healthy.

I’m optimistic about the future, and terrified at the same time. It’s a thrilling kind of scary. I plan to attend college in the fall, and possibly major in elementary education, psychology, English or something I’m not expecting. The thought of leaving my family and friends in Virginia breaks my heart, but in my heart I also feel that it is right. I feel a passion for life though that I haven’t felt before. It feels great. After college I’d love to teach abroad for a year (I’m thinking India) and then who knows what. I think I’d like to move to Los Angeles and work with Homeboy, to help gang members get out of gangs and find jobs. I want to use what I’ve been through to help others, so we’ll see. Whatever happens, I’m putting it in God’s hands.

It’s been over four years since I willing put a blade to cut my skin and I’m proud of that. I have my scars. I have my story. I’m ready to share.





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