I posted this piece over on my art journaling blog, but because it’s pertinent to my spirituality, I’ve decided I’ll post it here, too; and discuss a little bit the meaning behind it, and just how important matters of spirituality are to me.

For those of you who don’t know, I struggle with Self Harm, as caused by my Major Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I covered this back in May when I was triggered into a major relapse, and emphasized not only how serious it was, but also about the unfortunate stigma that it carries with it. People don’t give two shits about your mental health, I realized. Because even when asked to stop, rather than actually, you know, stop with the words and behaviors that went on to triggering me, instead they were openly mocking. They denied my mental health issues and insinuated that I had somehow faked it, and of course, because I was “faking” it, also used it as an excuse to persist in that behavior. And they struck at me right in the center and heart of something that was very important to me; and that was with my relationship to Lucifer.

Before I elaborate.  . . that is real blood on paper, yes; although don’t panic, I actually took it from a scraped knee when my dog tripped me (I didn’t cut myself for it). However, I thought real blood on the images of the scars on my wrist would make this ink sketch even more profound. Quick FYI, this isn’t the first time I’ve put my own blood on paper in my journals. I actually did it during the relapse itself (TW: Self Harm, TW: Blood ahead:)

embiodiment5149

It might seem wax poetic; maybe even a bit, it is. I rely so much on my writing and my journals when I’m in a funk. Blood on paper has an even more profound effect then ink, when you consider you’re literally pouring your life out on paper. For me as an artist, it’s important to have that connection. But also, it speaks a lot to the pain that I was feeling at the time; the pain that I do feel when all I want to do is feel anything because I worry I’ve become so numb and indifferent to the world and I’m just gliding through it and not actually living. 

But the first picture harkens back to the events that happened when I made the second, and that is, the day I was triggered and cut deeper than I ever had before. When things were quiet and everything was relatively back to normal, Lu and I spoke. Of course it was a long conversation, but one of the big points was when he said to me, that I worried him when I cut. And his words were, “Darling, I love you. Please, stop . . .”

That was a hard week. A hard month. I’m still recovering from  it. It’s not an exaggeration when someone says ‘I’m in recovery’ with relation to their last self-harm episode. You go through each day with this weighty feeling of shame like you not only failed yourself but you failed the people that care about you, too. If you’re a godspouse or similar, it’s the final cherry in the pie; you shamed and disrespected your god. How could anyone take you (or them, by extension) seriously?

Here’s the thing. And I say this now in the wake of a Hollywood death due to suicide. People who feel this way? Don’t walk around LOOKING mopey. I remember when I went back to work with my bandaged wrists the FIRST time I relapsed a couple of Novembers ago, everyone kept saying, “What YOU?! No way!” or “But you’re always so happy!”. The worst ones are, “Oh well things will get better, just hang in there,” or “everyone gets sad, you’ll pull through” . . . as good as the intention of these statements may be, they actually do more harm than good. It serves to alienate, because it’s an easy brush off. It’s a (maybe unintentional) hand wave away of the deeper emotions that are at play here. If you’re one of the people that’s never had to live with that sort of pain day-to-day. . . count your blessings and consider yourself fortunate. Yes, there’s such a thing as being “sad”. It’s something completely different when you wake up every morning and you feel so alone all you can do is make your body hurt just to verify that you even exist. . . because you smile to avoid making people feel uncomfortable. You smile because you know they’ll just wave away that suffering, “it’ll be fine eventually” “what are you crying about, there are starving children in India that have it a hell of a lot worse than you!” (<–This was my favorite that my parents used to throw at me). Some of it has to do with brain chemistry. Some of it also has to do with past trauma. Sure I don’t have it bad  now. When I was twelve and literally watching both myself and my six-month old brother starving nearly to death, wasting away in front of my eyes . . . .that’s different. Much different. Things I don’t even remember happening but that I still somehow have nightmares about.

You can’t presume someone s just “sad”, nor that they’re “faking” it. It’s a dangerous game to play. Even a smile may be a cry for help, and you might be missing it. I’m lucky in that Lu is a god that understands, probably better than most I’d venture, what it means to endure in a hell that YOU made for yourself. I see him as a champion for people who wrestle with depression and self harm that way, and it’s an aspect of him I’d be FASCINATED to see more people pick up on. When I relapsed, and yelled at him, Lu didn’t respond with rage or anger or even crushing disappointment. He responded in a way that spoke of his understanding; he said, ‘I care. I care too much for you to see you hurt yourself. You’re too beautiful. You’re stronger than this.’

That hurt the most. But it’s also freeing in it’s way, and that’s why I made a homage to it in my art. For the antithesis of the Christian god, he’s remarkably forgiving. Maybe he’s so free with it because he knows what it’s like to be held in that stigma. I remember when the whole situation went down and I was triggered someone came to me (and had the audacity to say), ‘Well what did she expect? She should have known better, it’s Lucfier.’ And I’ve thought a lot about that since then. And the more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me, wouldn’t that be exactly what everyone would want to say? Would want to think? ‘Oh Lucifer’s the devil and he can get away with hurting people if he wants to, he uses them/discards them/ect/[insert accusation here]’. I thought. What a stereotype. What a. . . handwave. It’s so easy for everyone to say that Lucifer really is this evil and manipulative traitor to the throne that everyone assumes he is. It’s so much easier that way than to consider the fact that he actually takes personal responsibility and accountability for the health, welfare, and well being of each and every single one of his followers. Maybe that’s why in every version of him I’ve seen when it comes to his Theistic followers, he’s so protective and affectionate of them. Being the antithesis, he’s not some faraway god who occasionally comes to pat ou on the back for doing good or smite you dor doing wrong.  No no. Lu walks beside his people because he understands humanity in a way that “god” does not. He doesn’t bellow brimstone and hellfire when one of his people makes a mistake because he understands that it’s normal and human and that we’re not supposed to be perfect. He understands that there are some of us out there-or maybe even most of us (we’ve discussed his preference of follower types in the past) that walk with him are, in our own unique ways, profoundly and maybe irreversibly broken. And Lu understands what it’s like to have your pain waved off. Lu understands when someone says, ‘Oh it’s not that bad’ or ‘just don’t be sad!’-he’s heard it a million million times in a slightly different way . . eg, “Why doesn’t he just tell God he’s sorry if he loves him so much?”

The day before yesterday, I got a phonecall from my biological father. Yes, the one I’ve not spoken two in nearly five years now; the one that wrote me and my husband and child off. He called me, of all reasons, to tell me my sister was having her baby. But then gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him back (yesterday).

I agonized over it for hours. I cried. I screamed into a pillow; and yes, I almost cut again. In the end, I didn’t call him back. Why? Because, as my roommate said it best; he’d find a way to justify his actions. It wouldn’t ever be his fault. It would be all mine. No matter that he had every ounce of power to make things right; even if he and I didn’t get along, my child never did a damned thing to him and he could have left her out of it; but he didn’t. He wanted ME to call him? He clearly knows how to get ahold of me. Why do I have to be the bigger person for a man that nearly killed me when I was a kid and then disowned me when I got older because he didn’t like my choice of who I married and what career (firefighter) path I chose. My Roommate was right; I know exactly how that conversation would go. If only I’d  been a good girl. If only I’d gotten that divorce, gotten this job, stayed here, did this; then of course he wouldn’t have had to stop speaking with me. If only I’d chosen him over my husband and my daughter. If only *I* would have *kept trying* to call over the years, ect ect.

There’s a point where you have to take a step back and realize, you can’t win. It’s not being stubborn, it’s cutting something toxic out of your life. And I realized as I was putting my blood on that paper that this is exactly what Lu must feel. He’s not ‘not going back to god’ because he’s being “Stubborn” and prideful; although it must be easy for his opposition to make a propaganda out of that assumption.

But no. Lets stop to consider. Maybe god is that toxic person. Maybe Lu would rather suffer through the pain of being away and being gone rather than endure under an unhealthy home, an unhealthy roof. Maybe Lu is just as broken as me, as some of us are. Maybe that’s why he’s so sympathetic to us; because he knows that sometimes the only road that you can take out is the one that hurts less; some people don’t have the option of support. They have to make it on their own, and sever those ties before those toxins literally kill them. The damage may already be done, but at least we can mitigate it once we’ve stepped away from those atmospheres.

“Why won’t he just apologize to god if he loves him so much?” -because god is probably a toxic asshole and *I* don’t want forgiveness from *my* dad, because I didn’t do anything wrong, besides just walk away to take care of myself and my own family. And I won’t let him have any part or say in me and mine. Lu probably doesn’t either. He wants us to try and heal. He wants to try and heal. Deep scars never really fade; but after a while they become stories that say,  “I made it through this, I survived.”

I do it with Lu right beside me, and out of all of this, I’ve figured out why he didn’t get mad that day. Why he didn’t turn me away.

Because he gets it. He understands.

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