Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's easy to choose death, but it's hard to choose life

So it's the moment of truth. The moment that will forever ever change my future. I sit here at an empty table with nothing more than my laptop, my frappuccino, my favorite song on repeat and a vivid imagination to enhance my memories.

Today I listened to a song and it took me to a special place. A place I haven't been in so long and a place I hope one day I'll reside permanently. We are all a reflection of our pasts. Whether it's been good or bad, it has inevitably shaped each and every one of us into a person different than who we would've been if it didn't happen. Today, I sit here and type one of my deepest darkest secrets knowing that I will be embraced by few and judged by many; still I open up to you...my audience. Collectively you are comprised of people who have walked in shoes worse than mine, equal to mine or better than mine, yet I feel that everyone can take something different from what I am about to share. You will come to realize that secrets from our past don't have to be the end of our futures. Life begins with love. You gotta love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you. And if you don't love you, you are in for one hell of a ride. I'm just learning to love me, but it's never too late.

This is the story of why I live.

Life. Such a sensitive topic that time and time again has been approached as a glass half empty philosophy (or even half full for my optimists). I am what I like to call an optimistic pessimist. LOL Allow me to explain myself if you will. I was born a happy little girl. I prided myself on being that smart girl with straight As that you could always turn to when you didn't know the answer to a riddle...shit or even life. But my life is nothing like I imagined it would be or anything like it could have been. Life is all about how we choose to respond to things and not so much what happens to us.

Most of you that have been following me know that I started drinking at the young age of 10. How do you trace back a single event that would lead you down a road of unhappiness? I drank. I assumed that identity and I became that girl. It started slow and progressed into a serious problem for me. Iceland was great! But life after Jersey wasn't quite as pleasing to me.

At my worst, I was getting wasted before homeroom and again at lunch. It was all that I felt I could do to make the days go by. My parents were clueless. They didn't know I was a drunk and they don't know what I am about to reveal. By my sophomore year in high school I was drinking Everclear and just about anything I could get my hands on. I had earned the nickname Alkie (for obvious reasons). I was depressed. So depressed I actually thought I could drink my way out of it. I laugh at the thought now as I look back on where I once was mentally.

I remember days I would wake up crying because I didn't die in my sleep. Could you imagine being 16 and hating life so much that you not only cried yourself to sleep every night, but you also cried in the morning because you knew what the day would hold for you? The same agonizing torture day and night. A torture that I would've done anything to escape.

I wanted to KILL myself. I popped pills and eventually settled for cutting myself. Yes I was a cutter. For those of you that aren't familiar with cutting, it's actually a pretty common phenomenon among our young people. Many say its a cry for help. Its the coward's suicide attempt. Of course many people eventually graduate on to committing suicide, but most of us are lucky enough to get help. And although I would never advocate cutting, oh how I can remember how soothing it was to cut myself. How soothing it was to take the power into my own hands. How soothing it was to control the pain that was hurting me rather than to just sit back and do nothing.

I scarred my body. I mostly used an exact-o knife that my mom had for sewing. Its a long cylinder with a sharp razor at the top. I can remember running into my room and locking the door and rocking in my bed sliding that blade across my skin as tears streamed down my cheeks. I felt better by doing this. That was me wanting to be brave enough to press down hard; to cut the right way. It was my attempt to escape the urge to crash my car off a bridge or into oncoming traffic.

My thighs hid my pain...so much that I enlisted my hands to participate in my redemption. I distinctly remember the day I forgot my gloves and this girl from school saw the scars on my hands and threatened to report me if she saw it again. Was I scared straight?

To be honest I cannot remember. That was the year I got alcohol poisoning and my memory still has gaps in it. I just know that after the incident my junior year, I could no longer stomach any liquor. So I did the only thing I could; I quit. And the cutting...well I don't know how I moved past that but I did. And I never mentioned it again. Well...until my freshman year in college when I was assigned a group project on self-mutilation and decided that I wouldn't let my story go unheard. I googled self-mutilation and found so many people who were just like me. People who knew what it felt like to hurt and how it felt to take control of the pain. That year I stood in front of a room of college students and explained how I felt and what led me to thinking cutting was all that was out there for me. My teacher pulled me aside after class and with tears in her eyes she thanked me for sharing my story; she thanked me for having the courage to share those painful words.

When life throws us that almost fatal blow, we must have the strength and courage to pick up the pieces and move forward.

So why do I live you are probably still wondering? In the simplest of terms, I live because they didn't. I live for my family that got their lives taken away so early: my maternal grandmother, her youngest son, my mom's only nephew, and my cousin who was my best friend. I live for them because they can't live for themselves. I live for every person that has ever been victimized and made a full recovery. I live for every person that felt the way I did, but didn't get help; every suicide victim. Every life lost; everyone fighting in Iraq. They are fighting for me so I can't make it in vain. It's easy to choose death, but its hard to choose life.

I choose to live. I choose to put myself out there in hopes that someone feeling real down realizes I've been lower and managed to rebound successfully. We must face the past before we can move into the future. This is something that will not hold me back. This is something that happened and doesn't dictate my future, it just reminds me of the past.

So this is nothing more than my "buck twenty five" or $1.25 for those who still don't get it. I have too much to say for $.02. To inspire is one of the greatest gifts man can give to someone else. Imagine having the power to make someone feel invincible like they can take on the world.

I share my mistakes so you don't have to experience what I went through. My life is an open book; experience my story with me. This journey was intended for the both of us...and it all starts with love.

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