I have crashed. I’m not even going to try and put into words the intense emotions that are destroying me today. I spent the morning crying uncontrollably into my pillow; that intense crying that leaves your entire body rocking and trembling with the pain and pressure of it all. I felt terribly alone yet at the same time desperately didn’t want anyone to come near me.
After midday I stumbled into the bathroom, and saw my reflection. I hate my reflection. I always hate it but on crash days I can’t control the hate. I looked at my pale, shaking self with my big puffy eyes and blurry make-up and hair all over the place and I felt disgusted. I could only see a disgusting, revolting person shaking with deserved shame and despair. I lost it. I screamed, and punched the mirror (which,isn’t mine, and thankfully remained unharmed). I punched the mirror so hard that the pain in my arm caused me to cry out and fall to the floor. Had I broken my wrist? My elbow? Both? I didn’t care. The intense throbbing pain shooting up and down my arm like electric was strangely soothing. I was still alive. If I could feel physical pain, then the emotional pain hadn’t killed me yet. And I could focus on this new extreme physical pain and push the emotional pain away.
I was crying heavily again. Not with the pain in my arm but just at the despair of what a total wretched lump I was. After ten minutes the pain in my arm had subsided enough for me to move it. I stood back up and there it was again; my foul reflection. I could only see faults. I never look in a mirror and see something to be proud of.
That’s it. I hissed to myself. I stormed out of the bathroom and down the stairs. One of my alters, Lady, tentatively asked me “Jade…what are you doing?”
I ignored her. I ran out of the house and ran into town, flexing my arm until the pain had ceased almost entirely. Once in town I slowed to a walk, and got a drink, and then went to the tattoo parlour I have gone to several times in the past. I get on with the tattoo artist. I needed his help.
He was at his desk when I went in. He’s a gentle giant; covered in tattoos but with cute reading glasses and a passion for his work, and a passion for ensuring what he does is art and captures what the client wants. He glanced up as I stepped in and rose an eyebrow, “hello you. I feel like a zombie’s just come in…” and he chuckled. I realised I must now look even more hellish than before, after running nearly 3 miles in this heat. He carried on, “but…your hair! Again! And you’ve got thinner…you look fab. What can I do for you?”
I smiled slightly, pleased for his compliment. “Have you got a slot you can fit me in for today? I want a word written underneath my collar-bone…”
He opened his mouth and then smiled warmly, nodding – “that you are…”
“Is that okay?”
He grinned, “for you darling, anything,” and winked. Anyone else and I’d have been substantially creeped out. But with him I never am. He has a very wicked sense of humour and the ability to calm me right down, and turn my ideas into life-long art. He’s fab.
He asked if I was sure about the collar bone; that it’s a sensitive area and can be painful. I shrugged (not caring whether I went into the worst kind of physical pain; that’d at least numb the emotions). I explained to him the importance of it being underneath my collarbone – “that way it’s not in my face, but whenever I see myself in a mirror or in a photograph there’ll be at least one thing to be proud of, and is also an undeniable fact, seeing as I’m alive. It’s also close to my heart there.”
He liked the sentiment and the idea that even on my darkest days, a mirror can no longer deceive me from at least my identity of being a survivor. Now when I’m struggling I can stare at that in a mirror, and know it’s true, seeing as I’m alive. This tattoo is telling me I’m a survivor, but is also a strategy for survival…
He chuckled when he started and I didn’t flinch. “You have an amazing pain threshold…”
I said nothing. You have no idea, I thought. My physical pain threshold may be high, but my emotional pain threshold is practically non-existent.
I focussed all the emotional pain onto the sharp pain of the tattoo being done. The artist was incredible; done very quickly and especially careful to make sure he didn’t accidentally rest his hand too close to my chest, and constantly checking with me that I was okay with him rubbing cream that close to my chest etc etc. I felt completely at ease and very safe. He was helping me create a method of survival, and making sure it was perfect, and making sure my reminder of who I am stood proud. I was very grateful to him.
It’s done now. I’m home. I went straight to the mirror and was filled with the same level of hatred and disgust, so I stared at “Survivor.” I still felt the disgust but no longer wanted to hurt myself for it, because there…also on my reflection…was my identity and my method of survival. I took three deep breaths, decided I’d write this blog (done) and now I will go back into my coccoon and emerge sometime tomorrow.
So world, I’m alive…I’ve seen a kind person today…but yes I am crashing and won’t be coming out to see friends for at least another day. But still..productive afternoon even despite this hideous horrible level of pain…