Hey kid, you’re allowed to be afraid

Last night, I found myself in a dark place. Muscle memory immediately kicked in, and I barely knew what was happening. I was numb, and felt completely helpless.

Grab the headphones. Lock the bathroom door. Turn on the music. Clean the knife. Hold it against my wrist. Cut. Cut. Cut. 

This time was different, though, because it’s been so long since I’ve hurt myself like this. I knew I was worth more, and I wanted to stop. I kept trying to make myself bleed, but the knife was too dull, and it hurt. More than I remembered. A minor cut, but I couldn’t draw blood. So I cried, and I stopped. And in that moment, I was stronger, braver than I’ve ever been, or felt. The next hour was spent crying, hugging myself, and staring in the mirror, with a lot of self-reassurance.

“You are so strong, and you don’t deserve this.” 

“I’m so proud of you for stopping, for valuing yourself, realizing your worth.” 

“You have a therapy appointment next week, which will be good. You can talk to her about everything.” 

And I was immediately afraid. Afraid of what people would say, if they saw this little cut. To me, it’s such a big deal that I didn’t keep going, and this little cut screams VICTORY. But to someone else, they could see it as a cry for help, or attention. Or even a suicide attempt. It’s not, but they might not know.

I talk about living on my own a lot, and I give plenty of reasons why I don’t. More than I should, because I don’t owe an explanation to anyone. But the truth is, I can’t. Not right now. I’m terrified of living alone. I’m so afraid of giving in to the fear, because, realizing someone is upstairs, in the same house as me, makes me feel safe. And the fact that I rely so heavily on other people simply being around is such a frightening reality. The fear that I may never be able to be completely alone…it fucks me up on multiple levels.

I think this is why I can’t watch Titanic. Not because it’s an overly romanticized love story riddled with historical inaccuracies, but because I have a panic attack within the first 30 minutes; Titanic is terrifying for someone whose biggest fear is being alone. But not in like, a-Rose-losing-Jack-sort-of-way. No. In this panic-stricken scenario, I imagine myself being the one waiting to pick up my parents or friends as they descend from the new, beautiful, big ship, only to arrive and find out they’ve all drowned and froze next to the iceberg, and I’m forever alone.

I’m afraid, and angry. And I’ve never really felt comfortable admitting that I feel this way to others. I’ve always perceived fear and anger as bad. You can’t be good if you’re angry. You can’t be strong if you’re afraid. I am currently working on reshaping the way I view fear and anger, and I’m trying, everyday, to remind myself that feelings, any kind of feelings, are OKAY.

I’m a sharer. I’m stronger when I communicate with others, and tell them what’s going on. Which is why I’m choosing to share something so personal. I’ve spent most of life trying to hide the bad feelings, only to find that it’s the hiding that kept me from feeling safe, strong and brave. I guess that’s the main reason for writing a blog – I want to share, and maybe the sharing will help others. Until then, it’s definitely helping me.

Until the next post, stay strong and love yourself. Love love love.

Cheers,
Ariel

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