Years ago, I was a cutter. My last day of cutting was December 12th, 2011. I still remember bits and pieces of that day, but not all. You see, the reason I don’t remember much of it is because while I was cutting myself that day, I also attempted suicide. I had hit the end of my ability to deal with the daily physical and mental abuse I was receiving from my ex. I had been with him for almost four years and I had turned into a shell of myself. Throughout those four years, I was abused often. I eventually blamed myself every time I was hit or cussed out. So I resorted to cutting. This was an unfortunate coping mechanism I had learned when I was a teenager to help me deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault, but that’s a story for another time.
Cutting was my release. It was a way of turning my internal pain into external pain. I was much better at dealing with external pain than the internal. But, I finally went into therapy full-blown after I left him in order to fix my broken pieces. And I did. I’m so much better today emotionally, mentally, and physically.
However, the scars remained. They were a very visible reminder of how much I hated myself. I’ve looked at those scars every single day for years now. I always wanted to cover them up because that isn’t me anymore. That pain is no longer part of me. I am loved. I am loved by my friends, by my family, by my husband, by my children, and most importantly, by myself. I needed something beautiful to look at instead. But, I never could decide for sure what I wanted.
That all changed when my dad died. I knew almost instantly what I wanted on my arm, and yesterday I finally got it. His words to me, and to my siblings, all the time and especially when I was struggling to find myself again.
“Love you, kiddo.”
No matter what was going on in my life, in my mind, and during any of my darkest days, I always knew I was loved. Even when I didn’t believe it or love myself, he made sure to tell me. What better way to remind myself that I got past the worst and into the best by forever having my daddy’s words on the visual representation of the ugliest parts of my life?