Hey. Let me tell you a short story or more like a confession of mine. I still can’t believe I’m actually gonna write it all down after never ever speaking to anybody about this. Here is how I learned self-love the hard way.
There will be a lot of trigger warnings in this article and probably a lot of judgment of my person and that’s totally ok. So here I go:
Based on the title of this article you might have guessed correctly that this will be about how I become more self-aware. Self-confident. Proud of myself for everything I came through and everything I become.
It wasn’t a pretty road but it was mine and it was the one that led me to this confession moment.
Since I was a kid I was always a little overweighted, nothing serious just maybe 5 kg over the standard. I had genetically wider hips and all my fat would attack my lower stomach, ass, and hips. Growing up in a different ideal female body image from today’s one I was very well aware of my unfavorable looks.
Besides having your family and friends always pointing your flaws was not helpful either.
I was a teenage girl with insecurities – nothing special right. Even though I had it all – I was healthy. Had wholesome family. Education. Friends. I was never short of money or food.
But I still was an ungrateful little brat and hated myself for not being perfect.
I hated my thighs and my stomach and it wasn’t like II just sat there hating myself without actually trying to change it. I exercised a lot, tried shit ton of diets over the years for example one where I lost 10 kg over 2 months so go and figure out how healthy that is and how easily I gained them all back.
I didn’t realize how bad my obsession with my weight got until the time when I was standing in front of the toilet bowl with the back of my painting brush stuck down my throat trying to vomit the food I just ate.
Thinking about how I just can’t have any more fat on my stomach.
I would break down in quiet cry every time I was unsuccessful in my bulimia attempts. I could never have my family know about this. I kept it quiet. I wiped my tears away. Hide my brush. Put on my rude teenager mask that’s always easier to maintain than the actual vulnerable one.
I would try to starve myself but I could never go more than 3 days without food until someone noticed or my strong will would break.
I felt like I lost control over my life.
I felt like I couldn’t change or affect anything. No matter how hard I tried to change my body it remained the same. I felt helpless and that’s when I slipped into self-harm.
I started out easy.
I would put rubber band over my wrists and pull it out and let it slap my wrist as harder as possible. Sounds ridiculous but if you do this over 100 times over and over again your small capillary veins would burst to result in a reddish/blueish bruise shaped like a line under the rubber band and it hurts a lot.
The great advantage is capillary amazing ability to recover so in a couple of hours I would have no proof that I hurt myself in any way. I had easy access to rubber bands and no one would question why I have so many rubber bands.
The disadvantage is the slap noise – people could hear it and question you about it. Living in an all-girls dormitory I would solve this problem quite easily. I would put my rubber band on at night-time, go to toilet (we had common bathrooms) and I would slap myself all the way there. Sounds of slapping would get covered by the noise of my footsteps,
I would continue on toilet as well cuz no one would question me for the noises I make on a toilet. By the morning my bruises would disappear unless I would cross the line and overdue my actions.
That happened several times so I would wear some bracelets to cover the bruises for a few days until my skin would recover.
Pain was quite addictive for me and I needed something more to make me feel better about myself.
What I did next was find some sharper object like a pin or hair clip and I would drag its tip over my skin to leave bright pink lines. I wouldn’t scratch myself to blood as that would be harder to explain if someone noticed and I would never do them in typical self-harm locations such as wrist.
I would “accidentally” scratch myself on the back of my hand, shoulder or leg and made-up a story about a loose nail at my wardrobe door that I clumsily hurt myself on.
Each line I would do to my skin would have it’s own made-up but believable story I could tell people just in case.
But in reality, no one really gave a damn.
Another “easy form” of self-harm I practised was playing with fire, pouring hot wax over my hands or I would hold my wrist over a flame just to see how long could I hold it up.
Not a very practical method as you don’t have candles with you all the time when things go to shit and you just need to do something just to feel something other than misery.
The easy and accessible way to bleed was just simple scratching of every existing scar or acne I had on my body until just deep scar holes reminded me – mostly my face, arms, or back.
There was something about scratching my skin bleeding that inspired me into my next horrible step.
By this point, you must be really horrified and discussed with my actions and I totally get you.
I’m honestly having an out-of-body experience right now cuz I can not relate to that person I used to be anymore and it’s so absurd that I actually did that and all of the reasons why I did it is so blurry right now but back then it all made sense.
I had control. Secret. I felt special.
My creativity was a curse in this case as I kept finding new ways to hurt myself.
There is nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it but what if your mind is sick?
At that time I got my first razor blade. I couldn’t simply buy one cuz I couldn’t face the looks of cashiers. So I would buy a simple pencil sharpener for few cents, take it down into pieces, pick out a small blade that was sharp and easy to hide in my wallet, dispose of the blade-less sharpener in a toilet roll and throw it out into the garbage hoping no one would look through my garbage and find out about my dirty little secret. I was so paranoid people would find out – I mean seriously who would ever go through my trash?
So I started really cutting myself but I still got to be smart about it.
I couldn’t cut at very visible place that could not be explained logically. I never made a cut on my arms cuz that would be just too obvious. I cut my upper thighs ,the part that could be covered even in shorts, and my stomach – the places I hated the most.
I would always do this in bathroom = I got privacy, I could take my time, I could wipe the blood with toilet roll and flush it down so no one would ever know. I remember making my first horizontal cut on my tight and watching small blood dots appear, felt the rush of excitement and adrenalin flow through my body cuz I was doing something wrong, forbidden. Over the weeks I kept making more and deeper cuts, watching blood drip from my thighs, enjoying the sweet pain.
All I was afraid of was someone noticing.
So I was very careful when I was changing in front of my roommates or classmates at PE class. One time my classmate asked me what I had on my thigh, panic rushed over me but I was prepared as I went over potential scenarios in my head million times – “my dog scratched me“.
This went on for around one year.
No one asked me if I was OK and I was both relieved and disappointed.
So what changed ?
How did I overcome it?
Well luckily even through my strong self-destructive since I still had some self-preservation left and my fear of being exposed and shame became stronger than my need for control.
It wasn’t day-to-day change.
Slowly, as summer was approaching and I would have to wear swimsuits and expose my damaged areas I tried to limit my actions to a minimum, and instead, I went back to my good old rubber band.
I never made too deep a cut to actually endanger my life and I would disinfect the cuts afterwards so they won’t get infected. I was using scar reducing oils to make them less visible.
I thought it through and that’s the scariest part.
I knew what I was doing. I was very well aware. I planed it. Made arrangements. Covered the evidences. Treated results and repeated it again. I knew it was wrong and I should hide it and I still remain doing it.
Made me feel powerful.
I had an impact. I knew something no one else knew. I was present at every moment. I was in control. Not like many others who practice self-harm unconsciously – like this colleague of mine who when she’s in s stressful time in her life would get this blackout when she doesn’t know what she’s doing and she just cut herself everywhere. Arms, shoulders, and even her face are covered in deep cuts.
After all this time there was just one person who knew what I was doing. Some random girl on the internet I was talking to at that time. We had similar music tastes and that’s how we met.
She was hurting herself too so I felt like she could understand what I felt so I shared my secret with her. I don’t even know her name anymore. We no longer talk but the fact that someone somewhere knew and actually understand was so relieving for me.
Most important for me was that she was a stranger.
She didn’t know me she just know what I wanted her to know.
We never met. We communicated just through texts and that was the beauty in it and also a reason why I’m writing this all down.
The lack of immediate response online is what makes it so much easier for me to say this.
I never spoke those words out loud and even though I’m much better now. No longer hurting myself or even hate myself. I’m one year on antidepressants. I visit psychiatry regularly for check-ups. I don’t think I’m ready to say “I cut myself” or “I am depressed” out loud cuz it’s so odd.
That Natalie that felt all of those things is long gone. I don’t know her anymore.
She left me with just memories and scars to prove that all of those things were real.
It’s not like I suddenly got better. I just stopped hurting myself in physical way. I fell into a more dull melancholy period. I didn’t really care or wanted to make an effort to do some change.
I knew when to smile. Knew what to tell to mask what I was feeling and just kinda went with the flow that resulted in my final mental breakdown almost 5 years later.
I talked about that in my most popular article How I became a vegetarian and how my mental health made me stop
You don’t know me and I don’t know you. This article may not affect you in any way and your opinion of me won’t make a change.
It would be much different for people close to me to find out about my secret, as they could actually face me and call me out on it and that still scares me.
So why am I writing this?
To put it all behind me.
Write it all down.
Have it black on white and forget about it. Every article I write on renegade7x goes like this: I write down everything I want to say. Edit misspellings (sometimes not as precisely as you might noticed) and forget what I was writing about and never read it again.
I realize this might seem like a manual for people in the same bad place as I was in but it’s also a guide on how to help. All of the things you might notice in your close ones suffering from self-destructive thoughts.
It’s also proof that things gets better.
Cheesy like that.
I’m still a little chubby. I have a big ass. Wide hips. Lumpy thighs. Stomach fat. So many scars. Stretch marks. Cellulite. Acne…
And I never been more self-confident.
I’m confident I’m gonna make it after everything I went through.
My body has extra weight and so much extra strength.
The fact that I’m alive and better is so overwhelming and young Natalie sitting with the razor blade in the bathroom would never dream of such feeling.
Self-love is a gift.
If you managed to read through this all and not run away with discuss I honestly appreciate you so much.
Mental health is still a taboo and people with mental health problems are still considered crazy freaks. I don’t blame you for thinking so of me as well. I admit it my actions were crazy.
There is this quote from Neil Gaiman’s American God’s book that I can’t stop thinking about:
You might not agree with this quote, or have different interpretation than I do. But this is how I see it:
I did what I did because it made sense at that time.
My brain was telling me to do it and how do I refuse my brain?
Even when I fell into severe depression, I couldn’t sleep, eat or basically function. I felt constant pain that was not actually there but I still felt it.
My brain was telling me it’s real and I believed my beautiful dysfunctional brain.
You have to listen to your body no matter what bullshit it’s telling you.
You can’t really hide from your mind.
If you know what I’m talking about and can relate to my situation I’m truly sorry you have to go through this. I hope you have someone who sees there’s something wrong with you and will help you through this.
If not you’ll have to do the hard work and pull yourself up on your own. I did and I adore myself for it.
I love my family, I love my friends but in the end I’m all I’ve got.
The road to self-love is a mess but it’s worth the pain.
Thank you so much for your attention