Yesterday was To Write Love On Her Arms Day in support of national self harm awareness day. I wrote Love on my arm to support someone I love, who once felt the need to harm herself.
Growing up I was the kind of kid who followed the rules, and put a lot of pressure on myself gradewise, goalwise, and every which way I could. Yet, even if things didn't go exactly the way I had hoped or planned, I never once thought of hurting myself.
Having lived my life in my safe little bubble, only to have it burst three years ago, I now understand that very few people have the same experience I had, growing up. And because of this, I have realized many kids turn to self harm when they lack proper love and support. It is their way of getting through the tough times. It is their way of feeling a sense of control.
Sadie was one of those people not as lucky as I was. She was taken from her birth mother when she was 2, and going to live with her uncle and aunt, whom she calls mom and dad, shaped the person she is today. Her experience has given me perspective on why a child may choose self harm or suicide as an option to deal with the pain. I may never completely understand the reasons "why" people choose this, but I do know it isn't something you can easily shake.
Recently Sadie had to fill out a form which asked if she had ever hurt herself or attempted suicide. As she filled out the form she hesitated about what to say. She could actually say yes to both. Yet the stigma of admitting that on the form, made her question whether she should tell the truth or lie.
I told her that who she is now is a a direct result of who she was. The whole of her is made up of all her parts, the good, the not so good, and the bad. I told her to tell the truth and to be proud of how far she has come (and grown). I am not sure if that was the right advice, seeing as how I was never in a position like she was/is. I never faced the hopelessness she felt in life. And, I don't have to check a spot on a form and admit to self harm or to a suicide attempt.
But I believe that the truth always wins. And that there are a lot of people out there who need to know that you can get through a bad situation, that things can get better and you can heal. And that it's not where you come from, it's where you're going.
And she is going somewhere. I know that much for sure. With or without getting the opportunity she was filling out the form for, Sadie is on her way to bigger and better things. Stronger for having gotten through those tough times. Moving forward with love surrounding her.