I’m wondering whether to do this chronologically or not. I know that whoever reads this will be confused if I just jump in, but on the other hand I want to document how I feel as I feel it.
I think for today I’ll just explain how I got here.
Basically, there are no basics. At fourteen, I had my first crash. I’d always been the sort of kid that was either on the ceiling or on the floor, but I was an idiot and went out with someone who already had a girlfriend, and he proposed to her. Of course, we’re friends now and that is behind us, and he never even married her. The problem was me.
I should have know, really, that he was after friends with benefits, and not a relationship with me. But he just was so charismatic and so kind, I didn’t want to believe my logical head. So we dallied about with each other for about 18 months, after which I told him I loved him.
He had no idea.
So I had my first crash. The pain was just horrific. I cried every day, resigned myself to loneliness, and got into two unsuitable relationships. Typical teenage ills, I know, but I do not deal with things in a typical manner. I over-react, badly. So I set a pattern. I started wondering what was left, and I got ‘clumsy’. Burning myself on radiators and scorching myself on the Bunsen burner at school began to not be enough. I heal quickly, and that’s how it started.
Scissors were my first weapon in a war against myself. As pressure mounted, my school changed its Headmistress and GCSEs became a living nightmare, those scissors were my only true friend. I had two major ballet exams to pass as well, and outside practice on Sundays for two and a half hours. The burns were nothing compared to the clean agony of the scissors, and after it was done, I’d cry in shame at myself and I’d hide the marks under my clothes- my calves first bore the brunt because of dancing. No typical wrist slicing for me.
I started fainting at school and at home- I’d get home and pass out in the hall for about half an hour. I nearly fell down the stairs because of it, and as my friends were helping me to the nurse, a teacher I respected was coming down the stairs. She saw through my tights the cuts on my legs, and I held my breath.
“What happened?” she said.
I made it up so quickly it must have been obvious I was lying. “I fell on some gravel.”
“Oh, ok,” she said, and walked away with one more backwards glance.
True, I wanted to hide them. But to tell at least one person who wouldn’t tell my parents, but had the life experience to be able to help me… that was a betrayal. I might not still cut if it had been stopped then, maybe.
I left school at sixteen and went to a ballet school, where there were no more academic exams and I was sure everything would be ok again. I met a new boyfriend, whilst trying to forget I’d fallen in love with my best girl friend, and summer wasn’t bad that year- it was fun. I thought I was fixed.
I thought wrong.