What Am I?


Shari Smith

I have anxiety and depression, PTSD, insomnia, and suicidal ideation. I struggle with self-harm. I’ve been in the hospital and had to get stitches. I’ve been in a mental hospital. Meeting new people is extremely hard for me. Being in situations where I’m around a group of people I don’t know is hard for me. Despite that, I recently pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone, out of my bubble so to speak. I went to meet some atheists and had the pleasure of spending the weekend with them. I can honestly say that I have never felt more welcome, accepted, and comfortable around anybody that I didn’t know as I did when meeting another atheist. For every atheist I have met so far, I have felt immediately accepted for who I am. I didn’t feel the need to hide my scars or anything. I could just be who I am without fear of being judged. And that is a huge deal for me.

Alas, when I got home that Monday my dad and I got into an argument about religion and “God”. He asked me what I was, if I was a Christian or an Atheist. I didn’t know how to answer him. I don’t feel I can quite say I’m an atheist yet because I still struggle with some things being brought up going to church, including all the shit that was shoved into my head that I was taught to believe. I simply said, “Well, I don’t believe in god.” Even though I know that I don’t believe in “god” when I’m going through something, I still find myself thinking about asking “god” to help me through whatever it is. I know that it will do no good, but I still have that mentality of going to church, being taught to “ask and you shall receive”. Bullshit. Where was he when I felt so alone even though I was surrounded by family, when I just wanted to be left alone, when I slept all day, when I went without eating? Where was he then? Where was “god” when I was raped? Oh wait, I forgot that according to the Bible, that’s ok. And why did he allow me to get an STD? I didn’t sleep around. I wasn’t a “Slut” or a “Whore”. Where was he when I was sitting in the bathroom floor alone with my razor blades, alcohol pads, and baby wipes, listening to my music and smoking a cigarette? I’m going to share something I wrote a while ago here. Maybe this will help everyone to understand.

“My mind’s playing tricks on me. Making me think I’m happy one moment, I’m ok with the way things are, and how my body looks. After all, I was taught that GOD made me this way and I am perfect, right? I’m content with the thought that I don’t care what others think of me when they look at me, because when I look at me, I feel ok with what I see in that moment. I allow myself to get caught up with the festivities, the excitement of it all, the euphoric feeling of happiness being surrounded by the people I love and who love me back. Then there comes the overwhelming let-down moment when you yourself as you know all the others must. A pic from the back, a wall of white waves standing out from the sea of dark skies, and brightly colored explosions like little bombs going off in your mind. A fat, hairy mess. Nobody wants to see this. Put your shirt back on. I push that to the back of my mind, because now there is a liquid elixir of I don’t give a flying fuck in front of me and I start to drink it. As the night wears on I don’t care. My emotions are there. My heart. my weakness. It throws itself out like it has so many times before and the cape of hope with it. I know that I’m being forward, but I think that things are going ok. I’m letting myself believe that something could be there, when really deep down I know it isn’t. But my intoxicated mind doesn’t care. It does not think of what the consequences will be later. The damage is done. I let myself believe again and now my mind plays another trick. Nobody wants you. You have an STD. You’re not worth being loved. Who would ever want to be with someone who has so many obvious issues? And those are just the outside physical ones. I have come to the conclusion I will never be happy. Not genuinely. My mind will keep playing tricks, false hope. My heart feeling its wrath. The constant battle between the two wears on me.”

I’m home now and I’m ready for bed, but I’m not feeling right. The constant shaky feeling I’m getting used to is everywhere. I can feel my heart beating through-out my entire body. I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep. I feel as if my eyelids are see-through, I even touch them to make sure they are really closed and they are but it doesn’t feel like they are. I feel as if my eyes are still wide open, I’m seeing everything as it was when my eyes were open, accompanied by odd lights waving around and a pain behind my left eye. Another headache. It’s all driving me crazy. I just want to go to sleep. But the odd waving lights playing on the inside of my closed eyelids won’t let me. I open my eyes and close them, GOD MAKE THEM GO AWAY!!! They won’t. This so called GOD isn’t there, and I can’t tear my mind away from the razor blade, tucked away. Yet again, I try. God, please. I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to hurt those who care, I don’t want to disappoint them. I wait. There is no divine intervention. I don’t hear the voice of “god” telling me that he loves me and not to do this. I give in and grab it, flip it around in my hands, and get up to grab my supplies: my phone and headphones, my last 2 smokes from the kitchen and the lighter from outside, baby wipes from in the living room, and a few of dad’s alcohol pads. I head to the bathroom and lock the door. I spread a towel on the floor and I take my shorts off and sit.

Oddly enough, I feel numb. No emotions but the two. First, the anger towards “god” for letting all this happen, for letting me get raped. for letting me get an STD, letting me feel the way I do, for allowing me to give in and ever start cutting again, for not being there when I needed him. Second, the need. I need to cut. I picture it in my mind. I want to go deeper than I ever have. My hands are visibly shaking and I feel as if my whole body is too. Headphones in, I start listening to my music. I clean the blade with a pad and the first few cuts aren’t deep. They bleed but they are really just scratches. The next few are deeper. I push the blade harder, forcing it more into my skin and as I slowly drag the blade across my leg. I see the skin start to pull apart the blade slicing it and opening my leg. I feel better but it’s still not deep enough. I cut a few more times, because I am in control now. The blood on the blade catches the light as does the razor blade itself. I still feel numb. I see as my skin parts. Each cut fills with blood before it spills out and runs down my leg onto the towel I’m sitting on. I can see as the first cuts blood pools on the towel and starts to thicken. It’s more like jelly now. I cut wanting to go deeper, wanting to see my skin part more, wanting to see more blood. An odd little smile quivers at the corners of my mouth as I pull the blade across my skin a few more times. I get up off the towel and sit on the edge of the tub and open the bathroom window a bit and light one of the 2 smokes. I sit in silence smoking, watching the blood. It’s starting to run down my leg in different directions. Now, gravity taking over, I feel it running down the back of my leg and I stand up, watching as it makes its own path down my calf and around my ankle leaving another spot of blood on the towel.

I can feel something stirring inside me now. Does God see this? What I have done? Is he displeased? I don’t care. I admire the blood running down my leg in the mirror on the back of the bathroom door. I am pleased it’s bleeding that much. As I sit and smoke, the blood branches off taking other paths down my leg, over and around my knee. Like little rivers. I stand and admire it for a bit longer before starting the water. I want it cold. I get it right and step in. My body still feels shaky on the inside but the cold water feels amazing. I stand there looking down watching as the water hits and runs down my leg turned red from the blood, swirling around my feet. I rub the fresh cuts to clean off the blood the water turning a brighter red. I stop and just stand there under the water, my hands on the wall of the shower, just letting the cold water fall over me. I wash my hair and body scrubbing the blood off my leg. I scrub hard over the cuts, partly to get the dried blood off, partly to make the cuts bleed even more. I step out of the flow of the water and watch as the cuts start to bleed again, mixing with the wetness of my skin and the drops falling from my face. It looks like a slow moving bloody waterfall, falling from the crevices that are my open skin. I step in and out of the water a few times, watching it again and again do the same thing. I’m disappointed I didn’t cut deeper. I keep thinking that I want to take the rest of my anti-depression and insomnia meds. Not to overdose or die but to sleep. To be able to force my mind into submission. To stop all the swirling madness like the water in the toilet when you flush. That’s it! I want to flush my mind. I think I have a few of each pills left. It’s time to get out of the shower. I take the towel and dry off, sitting again on the edge of the tub to smoke my last cig. I’m already starting to feel numb of all emotions again. I clean up my mess, folding up the bloody towel and throwing away the alcohol pads. I get dressed and go to the kitchen where meds are, only to find I have only 2 pills to take, one of each. I take them and go back to my room and lay down. I’m oddly peaceful and comfortable in my bed even though the stupid lights are still there when I close my eyes. I don’t want to move anymore and eventually I start to fade and I fall asleep.

When I wake up again I still feel this overwhelming sadness like a dark well I can’t climb out of, the walls are slippery and coated with my blood. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to see the light outside, I don’t want to face the world. I just want to lay there in the comfort of my bed and sleep. I try. I keep waking up knowing that my blade is tucked in its hiding spot right above me, and I reach my hand up to touch it. I hear my dad moving around in the living room and in the kitchen. My stomach hurts from not eating and I ignore it. I still don’t want to face anything. My mind is racing with the thoughts that are driving me insane: my non-existent life, how much I hate my body and the way I look, the picture. I hated that picture. That’s how people see me. I try so hard not to care what people think. I try not to care as I feel the stares, each one like little knives stabbing into my flesh, but it doesn’t bleed. It leaves a scar but not a visible one. If there is a god, then he must hate me. I look at my scars, each one a battle I fought with myself, and I won. Each one is a badge I wear because even though other people don’t see it this way, they are my strength. I don’t cut to die. I cut to live. If I didn’t cut, I wouldn’t be here. Cutting is my release, my way to get through the battles that rage on inside me. I cut to feel. It may be hard for other people to understand.

I’m still laying there in my bed. I make myself get up and eat something. Daddy is there but he doesn’t know what I’ve done, not yet. I eat a small bowl of spaghetti and I go back to my room, to my bed. It’s getting dark again and I can’t sleep. All I can think of is the blade. I grab it and go to the bathroom. I want to feel better. Last night wasn’t enough. I see the bare spot on my arm under the scars from the other battles I won. I take my blade and I slice open my skin. It stings at first but then it feels amazing, and I feel better. My mind’s at ease. I cut in the same line again and again making it deeper each time, watching as my skin opens and the blood slowly fills it. I stare at it and I smile. It’s working. I don’t know how many times I cut in that first crevice, but I want to do more. I slice my skin open again. Each time I start a new cut I cut in the same line so deep it becomes numb. Then I do another, and another, and I know that I need to stop. I know I have already let everyone down again and they don’t even know it yet. I look down at my arm and watch as the blood fills and falls. I make 2 more cuts in an X over the cuts I’ve just done. I slice the same cuts a few times to make them deeper.

No more. I’m done. I go back to my room and put something over the cuts. I know it’s in a spot everyone is going to see. I’m already thinking of ways to hide it. Short of wearing long sleeves again, there is nothing. They will know anyways. I lay there for a bit trying to close my eyes and just go back to sleep. I’m back to escaping the real world. It’s 7 AM and I know Daddy has a doctor’s appointment this morning, so I wait. I want to tell him and I don’t. I know I need to. But I don’t want to wake him up. I decide to anyways and walk to him room. I ask him what time his appointment is. It isn’t for another couple hours and he asks me if I’m ok. I don’t want to tell him what I’ve done. I stand there for a bit and tell him I don’t feel good. I tell him what I have done. He sits up and tells me he doesn’t understand why I do this. He says God doesn’t want me to this. I don’t expect him to. And I couldn’t give a fuck less what God wants. Not once have I shed a tear through any of this, but when I hear the pain in my dad’s voice, it’s then that I cry. The tears fall down my cheeks. My chest hurts. No, not my chest, my heart. I know I’m hurting the ones that love me. I have won all my battles but they see the opposite of that. They don’t get that I cut to live. If I didn’t cut. I wouldn’t be here anymore. Cutting is my way of coping.”

Anyways, I apologize for going so off topic, back to my dad. I told him I didn’t believe in god. He told me look at everything that has happened to me! Oh, you mean the church paying your bills after you had your heart attack? Yeah. How about thanking the people who took their hard earned money to pay your bills instead of thanking God. You haven’t even stepped inside a church in forever before this but now that your bills are being paid it’s “Thank God!!!” Fuck that. In response to his question, I asked him if he hated me. Because according to God and the Bible, he must hate me and everyone else in order to be his disciple. He asked where in the Bible it said that. I pulled up Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple” and read it to him. Then I opened his Bible and let him read it himself. He said nothing, not a word. I asked him again if he hated me. I then said, “cause I don’t hate you.” Then I walked away. He stood there staring down at the Bible for a good 2 or 3 minutes and then said “Well, I will bring it to someone’s attention, I’m sure there is another meaning.” He then mumbled some other stuff about “when the time comes, everyone will know.” And “you believe what you want.” OK! I will! Stop getting an attitude with me and ask me how I feel if you know damn well you are not going to like what I have to say. I then quoted Matthew 10:37 “One who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” So, if you love anyone more than you love god then you are not worthy of him anyways. So why follow blindly, if according to him you aren’t even worthy of him unless you’re telling me you love your imaginary friend more than you love me? Cause I damn sure don’t love an imaginary being more than you.

I’m still trying to work through a lot of my issues. One thing I know is that god has not been anywhere in helping me get through this. It’s the people I choose to be around that has helped me get through it. It’s the people who has showed me the love and the kindness I needed and shown me that I am strong and can get through this, not god. If I’m not an atheist, I’m pretty close to it.



One thought on “What Am I?

  1. Beth Deitch May 11, 2016 at 3:08 PM Reply

    Shari, I’m so glad you’ve found people who will reach their hands out to you in aid and acceptance, rather than clasping them together to ask a deity to fix it all. And I just want you to know that even a total stranger here feels for you and cares; please continue let us know how you’re doing.
    Also, it sounds like you needn’t argue with your dad for him to re-think his faith; just encourage him to keep reading that bible he loves — ALL of it.

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