I didn’t want to write this because for the last few weeks my mood hasn’t changed. Well, it has. It’s been all over the place, but the overall feeling hasn’t shifted. There’s an overwhelming sense of despair that I just can’t shake, so I didn’t want to write for this blog because I didn’t want that to be what this blog was. I didn’t want it to be a statement of my heartbreak. I wanted to stop whining to you that my life sucked because everyone’s life sucks and there’s nothing we can do about it. All we can do is try and struggle to fight back. But I didn’t want that to be what this blog was. I wanted this to be a celebration, not something that’s just… sad.
So, I’m going to write for my birthday. If I planned this correctly, then this blog entry will be uploaded on Wednesday the 20th of August when I will be turning 20. Usually, birthdays are a celebration of life, as well as being a partially depressing reminder that in the past year, I am still no closer to understanding what my future will look like. But to me, my birthday is something more. A lot more. My birthday is the hardest day of the year. Because on this day, nine years ago, my life almost ended.
I was in grade five and I was bullied every day. I hated it and I couldn’t deal with it and it just kept getting worse and worse, but for some reason, I thought that if I could have just one day, one day of freedom, then I could deal with everything else that was happening. So, it came to my birthday and all I wanted was one day. One day for the bullying to stop, for me to see that there was a future. But it didn’t stop. It got worse, and I felt sadder than I’d ever felt before.
So, during lunch, I grabbed my jumper, walked over to the fireman pole and tied it to it. Now I look back on it, the plan seems a little stupid. I was in a public place so it wasn’t going to work, but it was the pain of that moment that sticks with me. That all I wanted to do was die, to leave this world because it wasn’t fun or free or pleasant. Because there was nothing left. So, I tried to die.
I’ve never really spoken about this before, apart from a few slight mentions. I told my parents a year later, so I was sent to counselling. And I told my boyfriend, and a school friend who was annoying me saying that people who tried to kill themselves were selfish, but apart from them no-one knows about this. Probably because it’s one of the most tragic things about me and because I like to think that I’m better than that now. But every birthday, every year, I’m reminded of the time I thought that there was nothing left, that death was the only answer and for a long time, it made my birthdays suck and to be honest, it still does. But now, I’ve learnt to see it in a different way.
Because I didn’t die that day. I was saved. While I was horribly bullied by these kids, I also had a group of older girls who were nice to me. I know it sounds silly, but they were the closest friends I had. There was Cassie and Dana and Sascha and Rachel. Rachel was the kindest, probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And on this day, she stopped me. I can’t remember exactly what she said, I wish I could, but I know that she cared enough to stop me dying. And in my darkest moments, I have one thought, ‘Rachel shouldn’t have saved you’. That the world would be better off if this girl had chosen not to be kind and I had died. But those are the dark days. They don’t happen much anymore. Because I have the best boyfriend in the world. But I still get sad about that day.
But now, when I picture that day, I try not to focus on the despair on the loss and the hopelessness and the pain, but on the fact that this one girl saved me and I saw hope again. I stopped trying to die and tried to live, all because this one girl chose to be kind.
She graduated at the end of that year and I never got the chance to say thank you. I see her occasionally nowadays, just a glimpse, but still I can’t bring myself to say thank you, because I don’t think it was anything special for her. But for me, it changed my life. It gave me hope and that is the greatest anyone can ever give me.
So that is what my birthday represents now. It is not loss or pain or death but hope, hope that people will enter our lives when we need them most and save us. So, on my birthday I remember all the people who’ve touched my life and I am grateful. To all those people who ever said a kind word to me, to all those people who cared for me, I want to say thank you, because while your actions may not have been as pronounced as Rachel, you all have saved me.
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