As I pick up the knife ready to slit my throat because I’ve had enough of the bullying, I hear a voice speak to me.
I’m in 3rd grade, in a new school and neighborhood. I can still remember my room: twin size bed with Power Puff Girls on the sheets – it used to be a walk-in closet. When I close my eyes, I can see my bed, a nightstand, an old over-the-toilet bathroom organizer, and a table with two shelves that hold my shoes and my big back TV that I barely watch. Over my bed is a clothing rack with my jackets and underneath are two clothing containers. When you open the door, it’s my brother’s room. You go outside and it’s the living room, bathroom, and then the dining room and the kitchen.
The kitchen is where we keep the dishes, cups, glasses, silverware, and knives. Sometimes when you can’t take it anymore, you might consider using one of those knives to end your life.
I was bullied growing up. I thought I had a lot of friends, but they were not real friends. I never fit into any certain crowd, so I ended up befriending everyone. Elementary school was hard. I was so loving from an early age; so open and helpful, willing to make anyone happy and keep them laughing. I was involved with a group of friends that would be nice to me one day then mean to me the next.
It was me, Tatianna, Clare, and Sarah, and we were always having fun. I would make them laugh and help them with their problems. Then the next day they wouldn’t talk to me. I would be myself and they would look at me and make jokes and laugh in my face. I would be playing with my other friends and they would look at me say “Why are you following them around? They don’t even like you!” and I would break down crying.
In gym class, I would get hurt sometimes. One time, I was standing on the wall while others were playing basketball, and Clare, who was mad at me that day, kicked a basketball right in my face. Another time, I almost got in a fight with Sarah because I bumped into her by mistake during a gym activity, but these other girls defended me and got her to leave me alone since she was twice my size. It was a never-ending battle at school. I was liked one day and hated the next. I never knew what to expect, so my anxiety levels were always high.
I was constantly walking on eggshells, not only in school but at home too.
I am the youngest in my family and the outcast.
My mother and brother are nothing like me, so I feel very alone all the time. I’m sensitive, quiet, and shy – the opposite of them. I was yelled at frequently by my mom for everything and by my brother too. I was yelled at so much I thought they hated me. I began to believe it would best for everyone if I wasn’t around anymore.
I had no one to relate to, talk to, or share my feelings with. I was in a very dark space and no one saw my pain. I hated waking up every day and most days I just wanted to die. I spoke to God about everything. He was my only friend. I would cry to Him asking for help and asking Him “why?”
There were days I couldn’t take anymore, where my mind was a black hole and I was consumed by the darkness. I kept hearing voices telling me to kill myself, that if I died it would be best for everyone. There were days I would listen. I would walk to my kitchen all alone at home. I would pick up the knife put it to my throat. I would remember every name I was called; all the feelings would come back and I would start weeping uncontrollably. I would hear “You’re worthless! You will never amount to anything! You’re a big fat pig! All you do is eat! No one likes you! Ewww!” I heard all the voices, the laughing, the taunting. I saw them laughing at me as I was crying. I kept hearing whispers saying “Just do it. Kill yourself. No one loves you anyway.” I felt so much pain. I was screaming but no sound came out. I felt pain in my chest. I could hardly breathe. I kept hearing them say “You mean nothing to me. You are nothing.” I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t want to feel any more pain or hear any more of their hurtful words. I was ready to go. I was ready to end it.
Then, in the midst of all the noise, I would hear a small, still voice say “I am here.” I would feel a presence come over me like a light wind and my mind would remember what I learned in church. I was told that I was loved unconditionally that there was nothing I could do to that could separate me from God’s love. I was taught that He loved me with all my flaws and His love was endless.
When the bad thoughts went away I put the knife down for good.
I did not notice it at the time, but I was searching for love even though I had it at home. It as more of tough love, but I wanted a tender love; an unconditional love; a love that isn’t harsh; the same love that I gave others. I just didn’t see that I had it all along.