First Published in Opinionsofeye.com
First published in Opinionsofeye.com
“A razor drawn, through the colors of my life
“People always want to know what it feels like, so I’ll tell you: there’s a sting when you first slice, and then your heart speeds up when you see the blood, because you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, and yet you’ve gotten away with it. Then you sort of go into a trance, because it’s truly dazzling—that bright red line, like a highway route on a map that you want to follow to see where it leads. And—God—the sweet release, that’s the best way I can describe it, kind of like a balloon that’s tied to a little kid’s hand, which somehow breaks free and floats into the sky. You just know that balloon is thinking, Ha, I don’t belong to you after all; and at the same time, Do they have any idea how beautiful the view is from up here? And then the balloon remembers, after the fact, that it has a wicked fear of heights.
When reality kicks in, you grab some toilet paper or a paper towel (better than a washcloth, because the stains don’t ever come out 100 percent) and you press hard against the cut. You can feel your embarrassment; it’s a backbeat underneath your pulse. Whatever relief there was a minute ago congeals, like cold gravy, into a fist in the pit of your stomach. You literally make yourself sick, because you promised yourself last time would be the last time, and once again, you’ve let yourself down. So you hide the evidence of your weakness under layers of clothes long enough to cover the cuts, even if it’s summertime and no one is wearing jeans or long sleeves. You throw the bloody tissues into the toilet and watch the water go pink before you flush them into oblivion, and you wish it were really that easy.” – Jodi Picoult, Handle With Care
How strong am I? I didn’t know until I faced death, loneliness, depression, lost a loved one, felt the pain of hating my body, experienced the betrayal of a lover, and wrestled with an addiction. These I have done and come back from, being rewarded with an understanding and compassion for those teetering on the point of no return. So many people on that edge, looking self loathing, rejection, and death in the face. These are the outcasts, the downtrodden, the incarcerated, the elderly, the dis-formed, the dysfunctional, the addicted. I will be a friend, a partner to those rejected by the crowd. Starving for affection and acceptance, withering beneath the blazing sun of rejection by family, by friends, by society. Orphans, left behind, stranded on islands of disorders: disorders of eating, thinking, mobility, and socializing. I don’t know their pain, their reason for leaving the path to wander aimlessly through a deep and lonely sea, finding themselves without a way back. I will be the ship on the horizon. I will send up the smoke of my prayers that they may see a sign before they see me and have hope. Many don’t want, or will refuse help. I mean no offense to their independence, I don’t want to change them, that they must do themselves, if they need to change at all. I wish only to offer a respite from their routine. That is my resolution for this new year, to travel to the edge of my world, the edge of the parties, the edge of church services, the edge of bars, the edge of communities, and bring to them a concerned and loving hand of compassion. I will bring hope, an opportunity to get back up and try again, a break to breathe easier, refreshing them. With this sip of cold water, perhaps I may save a life or revive a weary soul to get up and come out of the cold, into the warmth of love. Look for me this new year, you will find me in the company of these, the beautiful rejected ones.