confession: every year i forget how bad this week feels until i’m in it. ptsd triggers are tricky switches. there are days on the calendar that are ptsd triggers for me and i forget how badly the birthday-week days affect me until i’m trying to hold off a decision that will hurt me or someone else.
confession: i’m grateful i’m not a cutter because if i were i’d fuck it up and cut too deeply and decide to go for a vein and then bleed out. suicide isn’t the goal of cutting, at least not usually.
confession: to all the cutters out there, i get it. i get that externalizing the pain feels empowering, that inflicting the pain you feel inside on the outside makes physical and visual sense. you want to feel the pain by your direction and discretion. you want to control how and where you hurt since others have hurt you too much in too many invisible ways. bleeding is a relief. yeah, i get it, i’d just suck at it, because i don’t want to feel the pain, i want to escape it, and slicing my wrist open is the only cut i’ve ever imagined, so i don’t do it.
confession: i tried getting a pedicure because all day people have advised me to be loving toward myself and getting a pedicure is my self-care luxury indulgence so i went to my favorite pedicure place (my favorite because there are no televisions and the massage chairs rock) and i chose race car purple (or the closest approximation) from the walls of polish and the middle-aged owner dude did my toes instead of one of the much nicer youngish gals and he kept telling me that my toes were “problems” and pointing out where my toes are wrecked from running and dancing and i was feeling worse and worse about myself and i couldn’t afford to feel worse today so i closed my eyes and inhaled and exhaled and focused on the massage chair kneading my back and i kept my eyes closed for the next half-hour and when i opened my eyes the color of my toes was too dark, a black magic purple, not race car purple. i paid and left without waiting for my toes to dry. getting into the car i scraped polish off my big toe as i accidentally slid it across the bottom of the car door. i started to cry because a normal person would’ve walked back into the salon and asked to have the polish fixed on that toe but i couldn’t ask because asking for anything was more than i could manage especially since it was my fault that i messed up the polish and i felt like a loser for not being able to ask for what i want and if i could ask for what i want i’d be having a much easier week. because the tears that had started to fall were tears i’d held back all day my crying quickly became a full-out meltdown heaving wail and i felt like i was going to throw up my heart. i visualized retching my heart which made me viscerally gag and then i laughed and asked myself “melodramatic much?” beginning with that rhetorical self-mock, myself and i had a two-way talking to. that conversation went something like this:
me: chill out, babe. it’s just toenail polish and it wasn’t the color you wanted anyway. go home and repaint them sparkly pink.
myself: yeah, but…
me: yeah but nuthin’. just relax. this is a first world privileged rich lady problem. seriously, chill out.
myself: i’m not crying because of the toenail polish.
me: i know, but chill out anyway, because the wailing is scaring me.
myself: it hurts.
me: i know, sweetheart. it always hurts and i know sometimes you feel it more than at other times and now is one of the times you’re feeling it the most but you’re okay. you’re always okay. you survived. you’ll keep surviving. that’s what we do.
myself: yeah but it really really hurts and i don’t want to hurt like this anymore and every year it keeps hurting and i think it might be hurting worse instead of better each year during my birthday week and i’m tired and the tired plus the pain are making me sick and i can’t sleep and i can barely eat and the things that usually help aren’t helping and i don’t know what to do.
me: just drive. accelerate as fast as you can when the light turns green and drive as fast as this rocketship will fly and listen to the sound the engine makes and feel the car blast you along the empty lanes and get home quickly and write it out and repaint your toes and don’t look in the mirror and drink a cup of tea and text eight people and i promise you that at least five of them will respond within the hour telling you how much they love and appreciate you.
myself: okay. but it hurts.
me: i know, babe. i know it hurts.