Singing like a canary

People keep commending me for my honesty. Please understand that I don’t particularly want to be this honest. I wish I could just pretend that none of it happened. All I’m really doing is controlling the narrative. You can’t hold anything over me if I’ve already blabbed all my own secrets.

I can control what you know but I can’t control what you think or feel. I can present a scenario that may seem like either a particularly tragic low point or simply just another item on the list of terrible things that I’ve done. The things I’m writing about on here are things that I’ve spent much of my life either denying or trying very hard to forget altogether. I could never own the things that I did because I was always too ashamed to even acknowledge them. In my teens, I used to go to London once or twice a week just so I could pretend to be someone else because the reality that awaited me back in Essex was just too fucking dire for me to cope with.

Some of these things are hard to write about. I still haven’t read this blog back through properly, so there’s a chance that I’ve unintentionally repeated myself in places. There are also missing parts, parts where I was so crazy or drunk or high or all of the above that I simply have no idea what happened. But some of the missing parts are missing because I just don’t know how to say them.

If you lie to yourself long enough, you rewrite your own history. It becomes hard to remember what really happened. The dissociation caused by a traumatic episode causes you to lose entire scenes from your personal narrative but telling the same lie over and over again also has a similar effect. Wherever possible I try to acknowledge that particular incidents may not be the way that I remember them to be, but there might be parts of the story that I’m misremembering without even realising.

I have no real reason to lie about any of this. I have no real reason for even telling the story.

I did some bad things that led to me leaving Norfolk and I can’t blame the drugs or my mental health. I regret most of what I did. I stole from people. I drank too much and fucked up at work and got caught lying and ruined everything. I cheated on my boyfriend – but not at the point he thought I was cheating on him. I cheated on him within the first week of us getting together. I was actually completely faithful after that, but he logged into my twitter account and saw some private messages that looked extremely incriminating. I took drugs. I fucked people who I shouldn’t have fucked.

And the worst thing about all of this is that I was so fucking angry with everyone when I left Norfolk. I justified my behaviour by labelling other people enablers and resenting them for the fact they never tried to help me. Occasionally people would have a quiet word, always prefaced with ‘other people have noticed…’ so they didn’t have to confront me directly about what I was doing to myself. I would brush it off – sometimes kindly, by saying I was getting help and was taking my medication and all the other platitudes, and sometimes simply telling the person that they could tell ‘other people’ to fuck off. But no one ever sat me down and said ‘I’m really worried about you’. And I was angry about that. Even through all my self-hatred, I couldn’t cope with the indifference of others. I wanted a scene. I wanted help. I just didn’t know what the fuck I was doing or how to cope with how I’d ended up.

A few weeks ago I was walking through town and I saw a girl, probably in her late-teens, wearing shorts that highlighted the fact she had cuts from the tops of her thighs to her knees. She was wearing those scratches with the kind of misguided pride that you only get when you’ve found something that hurts more than the constant psychic blows to the gut that you get when your own thoughts are making your life a misery. Once I got over the initial ‘oh look, it’s me in a past life’ feeling, and tried to ignore the little voice that reminds me of how it felt to do that and tries to convince me that it helped (it felt good, admit it, you felt like you were playing fucking god), I suddenly felt fucking terrible because I knew there’s some other poor bastard destined to go through all the same shit I did, just to find a bit of inner peace.

As I’ve said before, it’s attention-seeking behaviour – but not as you know it. I don’t mean it in an unsympathetic way, but of course it is. Nothing draws the attention like someone who looks like attempted suicide is part of their morning routine. But people think attention-seeking behaviour is dependant on the attention they give to that person, not on the attention being sought by them. I didn’t do it so that people could talk about me, because all they ever did was whisper to each other behind my back about how repulsive I was. I think maybe I just wanted to shock people into seeing how much fucking pain I was in. I just wanted someone to understand. I wanted someone to care.

At the time, I wasn’t self-aware enough about any of this. I was still feeling orphaned after the death of my grandparents and I was determined to hurt myself as much as possible. I probably wouldn’t have even accepted anyone’s help, unless it was in the form of something I could snort.

If you can’t love, you might as well hate – it’s ultimately the same feeling anyway. Indifference, however,  is the worst feeling of all. I haven’t spoken to my family for ten years now. They haven’t really gone out of their way to look for me. All of the pain that I was scarring into my arms forever for the whole world to see has never once been seen by the people who truly hurt me. All of my self-harm was nothing more than a way of lashing out at people who I had no power to hurt. And what if I ever saw them again? To show them the scars and say ‘you did this’ would just be acknowledging that they had that power over me to begin with. I refuse to allow them that. The only way I can overcome their indifference is by matching it with my own.

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