Saturday, August 4, 2007

A New Life Is Dawning

A foreshortened life is a major ‘symptom’ of PTSD. The sense that you won’t live long, the feeling that the end is near. I never thought of that as a symptom really. It was a fact in my heart for so long – I truly couldn’t imagine life after 21 as much as I was preparing for college. The thought that I would survive? Not there.

This led to what some would call, ‘suicidal tendencies’ even if I told myself I was never really suicidal. And I wasn’t – because my life wasn’t my own to take. Yes, I was told that on more than one occasion. Although it usually related to church. That’s why suicide is a sin, I was told, you anger God by making a decision that is His alone.

As I think I mentioned, even in the times when we did have a house, it wasn’t in the best of neighborhoods. My high school was known for its fights and such (ranked 79th out of 79 schools in the area, woohoo!). This meant most of my friends were in the same boat as I.

There is one person from that time period I’d love to reconnect with again. We had teenage “OMG let’s just do whatever the hell we want to because life doesn’t matter anyway” type of fun together. I wonder know if this should be a stories of friendship post? But it goes more toward the point of the shortened life – since we didn’t think we’d live we did things to ensure we didn’t.

One of those things involved lying in the middle of a busy intersection on the double yellow line (at midnight on the downside of a hill). Obviously, I did not die. Nor did she. Once something of ours got run-over (either my hair or her jacket or both) we got up and went across the road to a market and took turns riding in the shopping carts in the parking lot, slamming into lampposts and such.

She was definitely wilder than I was, and I admired her for that perceived freedom. She smoked weed and cigarettes and had burn marks running up and down her legs from where she put out the cigarettes. I never smoked anything. At one point I wanted to try heroin, and my brother was more than happy to supply it even offering to show me how to shoot-up. That’s probably why I never did. If he wanted me to then it would be him trying to kill me, not myself.

She and I also ran off with the traveling circus, which is a whole other story. It was a turning point in both our lives I think. I came back more determined to live my own life away from the constrains of my family and the God they wielded like a gun and she came back recognizing she was out of control and needed someone to reign her in and turned to God.

But, there was one thing I was thinking about recently, something until now (not now now, but within the past couple days) I never admitted. I did try ‘cutting’ which is all the rage. I have a fine white line on my leg from where the razor went in. It wasn’t easy for my mind to allow me to hurt myself – so here’s how it went down:
My brother had planted razor blades in my bed. He set them up by slicing the cover of my mattress and setting them up so that when pressure was placed on the mattress they would slice through the top and the sheet. I found them before throwing myself on my bed and realized what had happened. I think something was off about the way my bed was made. Gotta appreciate the effort of removing my sheet to do this then trying to put it all back together again.

So I had these razors and was looking at them and thinking what it would feel like. I also had black electricians tape. This was how my mother and I exfoliated our dry skin- we’d wind the tape around our arms, then pull it off and marvel at the skin cells that stuck to it. Yeah, it sounds weird now, but it was a moment of calm between us to look at our patterns on the thick black tape and see just how many ‘arm flakes’ we had.

So I took a piece of tape and placed it over my leg and told myself that I was only cutting the tape, not the flesh. And the first couple times that’s all I did somehow. But then, finally, I cut throw and watched the blood kind of pool up and the skin so slightly separate. It was mesmerizing, a bit, but nothing terribly exciting or addictive. So while I have the scar from the one time, I never did it again.

Now, I’m not ashamed of that at all. That was the other thing I was thinking of. It was something I did and that slice represents a part of my life at that time. Not the now. I may bite my nails when I’m stressed out, but have sense of future and life and am not going to give that up by being stupid. Which is probably why I’m a bit over cautious now. I used to run all over the place when I could, even while in college I’d just hop on the subway and dare friends to go up to strangers or walk through movie sets and such. But not as much anymore.

Life is good.

Image taken from


karoline said...

life IS are doing wonderfully...


thewishfulwriter said...

this is my first visit to your blog and i'm absolutely blown away by how moving and honest it is. thank you for sharing your story.

Amel's Realm said...

What a story!!!

I'm the opposite when it comes to thinking of the future and the present, I think. I used to plan my future WAY WAY ahead too much that I lost sight in embracing the future. :-)))

I still plan way ahead when compared to my close friends, but I think I'm getting the hang of embracing the present even more than ever now. :-))))

Exfoliating dry skin that way must've hurt, didn't it??? It's crazy what your brother did by planting the blades in your bed.

Michelle said...

My best friend in high school drank three bottles of cough mixture to try to kill herself. It doesn't work.

She was the angry type. Hated everyone, with good reason. Her home life was "messy".

The only reason I ever survived as her friend was because I could make her laugh - so she never attacked me the way she did other friends (threw hot coffee over one, punched another).

We drifted apart after school. The last time we met we'd drifted so far apart it was like talking to someone on Mars. I stayed weird, she found suburbia and became the model wife and hostess. It just felt too much like she'd buried everything and covered up with pretty "stepford wife" flower print wallpaper rather than that she'd really healed and moved on.

I still miss the angry girl I used to know. I hope wherever she is now she's found real peace with the past.

Victorya said...

Michelle - I had a friend do that too. She would down it until her eyes were glassy and beyond. It just gives you a killer headache apparently.

Thanks for visiting Wishful writer! I try not to edit my posts, for better or worse, so I can have a timeline of my thinking through this period. I'm glad it works for you.

Amel - I remember some pain, especially with arm hair, but it was one of the few calm moments with my mother. We had that and gardening. So I embraced it.

And karoline - yeah, it's good. About time I can say that but it's true. Life is good.