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9:55 p.m. - 2012-11-05
I have had my share of crushes, but I have only been long-term, sure, in love with two people in my life, my best friend and my husband. Both of them faded out of my life slowly and raggedly, messily, like a person you always expect to come back who never has, yet -- many wonderful years followed by suddenly excruciatingly painful days, that became weeks, that became months and years. When do you decide that a relationship is over when it never officially is? There's no closing bell, no divorce papers finalizing the end of either my friendship or, to date, my marriage.

I suppose I have learned a few things. One is that "I love you, I'll never leave you" is good only in the minute it is said. Another is that my self-destructiveness drives people away. Have I learned that well enough not to drive people away any more? Not to make people choose me or their own sanity? I think so. Can I have love that lasts forever this time? Maybe.

Shrinks and amateurs say that if you talk about your pain and problems, let them out, express them, then they will lose their clout and go away, like vampires in the sunlight. I do not know if there is any truth to that, but since elementary school I have been writing my pain and problems on my body, primarily my arms, with razors, lighters and whatever else is at hand.

I don't do it anymore, but I will never, ever be rid of the evidence of how I felt in the past; my arms are covered with layers and layers of scars. If I wear long sleeves, I look like a mildly attractive, somewhat together blue-eyed blonde mommy, and if I wear short sleeves I look like an escaped mental patient. (In fact, I have never escaped; I've always been legitimately discharged.) My arms are so cut up that apparently some people (A for example) don't immediately think I'm a cutter when they see them for the first time -- they think I was in some sort of accident.

The point I am getting to here is that the worse my arms got over the years, the saner I got. Now that I apparently have graduated from looking like a cutter to looking like a burn victim, I'm the sanest and happiest I've ever been. Now that my arms look like mincemeat, I'm happy.

And I wonder if it's the fact that my feelings are literally written on my body that makes me feel OK being sane and happy. I do not have to live a life of silent desperation; all I have to do is roll up my sleeves and my desperation is deafening to everyone within eyeshot.

I have paid my debt for all of my failings, I think. I'm permanently disfigured by my own hand, and I have to live with that every day for the rest of my life.

So I think I am done being self-destructive. I don't have to fear that people will reject me eventually, when they figure out I'm a loser freak -- you know I'm a loser freak from day 1, with arms like these. I have no secret craziness to hide; it's all out there.

If you are my friend, you have seen my arms and you want me anyway. And this somehow makes me feel more secure, makes me feel like I am wanted and accepted in my entirety -- Makes it OK to be me.

And that, of course, means I don't have to cut anymore; I don't have to punish myself for being unacceptable and worthless. How ironic that the fact that I have a million scars is what cured my self-hatred and cutting.



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