The Bathroom Floor


My history of self-harm is etched on my skin like timeless art that will last forever. Yes, it fades at the years go by just as a painting in a gallery would if it were not protected by custom glass. It is frightening to admit and yet I do, because I know there are others like me who speak that truth only to the walls of their mental prison. To Write Love On Her Arms is an organisation whose name grasped me the moment I heard it. I'm not sure when that was, but the idea that love could replace cuts and gashes was novel to me and one I hold on to like a life preserver in the vastness of a dark ocean. 

A week ago I found myself sitting on the wet mat on the bathroom floor leaning against the tub. It was not somewhere I ever thought I would be again (unless of course I'd slipped coming out of the shower, as would not be unexpected given my clumsiness). My last major depressive episode was just before my diagnosis and the medication has warded off the deadliest demons over that time. Yet here I am, exactly three years later, being stalked by my old companion, my faithful black dog. In my last year of boarding school I dropped out for six months and spent practically every day in bed. The darkness of my room provided a shawl of protection and my mother would compare me to Osama bin Laden, then hiding in Tora Bora (or in English "the black cave"). For all intents and purposes my bathroom on Sunday night was my black cave.

At a time like this it can feel as though I've made no progress at all since those teenage years. But I have. I'm not the same girl I once was, but a woman who has gotten through more than a decade of life. I must recall those times of beauty and wonder that have reminded me why I have yearned for life. On that floor a week ago I surrendered. I gave up on giving up. It may not make much sense to you, it barely makes much sense to me, but for some reason I felt negligibly lighter. So I stood up from the bathroom floor and I washed my face. The clean water from the tap washed the the salty tears down the sink. I can only hope that the sorrows will soon follow. 

 “That was the change in her from ten years ago; that, indeed, was her reward, this haunting, magical sadness which spoke straight to the heart and struck silence; it was the completion of her beauty.” 
                                                                                                                                  –        Evelyn Waugh



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