Anyone that's reading this that has ever struggled with self harm knows the relationship that you inadvertently make with bracelets. You think that your new found habit won't get that serious. That you won't need a layer of bracelets to hide what's going on.
It's funny how quick things can change.
I thought the same thing. At 17, I convinced myself that the occasional cuts would stop. That a stockpile of bracelets and long sleeve shirts wouldn't be necessary. Oh how wrong I was.
I would soon learn that they would become my new best friends and over the course of the next almost decade, the extent to which I would need them would fluctuate. Sometimes I needed only one or two. Other times, I had a whole arm full.
I would quickly realize that as much as I depended on them to hide the cuts, I was also just as heavily dependent on them to hide the scars. When you have a love-hate relationship with not only your addiction, but also what it leaves behind, you find any means necessary to cover it up.
One bracelet in particular would end up becoming a crutch without me even knowing it.
It was a simple bracelet.
Black, made out of the same material as the infamous Livestrong bracelets, and the perfect width on my wrist.
It could hide so much.
When I first got it, I was in the middle of a very good place in terms of recovery. At the time, it was just a bracelet. But when recovery isn't intentional, it usually doesn't last very long. And that instance was no different.
Relapses would come. And that bracelet would hide all of it. Wounds would heal and scars would form. And that trusty bracelet hid all of it.
Even when recovery became intentional, the bracelet stayed. I was too afraid to give it up. It would mean that I was doing this on my own. That despite the bad days that may come, there would be no way to hide it.
Transparency is terrifying.
It is also beautiful.
This past summer, in the midst of a relapse, I said goodbye to that little bracelet. Six years of wearing it had come to an end. Six years of hiding behind it was finally over. For the first time in almost a decade of struggling, I refused to hide anymore.
Being that vulnerable isn't easy. There were plenty of times that I wished I still had them on. But there have also been plenty of times that I was glad I didn't.
I still have that little bracelet. It's sitting on a shelf. It has a lot of memories associated with it, both good and bad. I keep it as a reminder that I'm no longer hiding.
I hope that you realize that there is beauty in being transparent. It's not easy, but it's worth it.
And it's worth it because you're worth it.
You don't have to hide anymore.
Step out into the light again.
I'll be here to take your hand.
As always you can keep up with me over at ohhaiiitsbrandii.wordpress.com
Until next time,