My mom’s relationship with me had two levels – best friend or public enemy number one.
When I started spending all my weekends at Jake’s house, it just upset her more. She knew how much I loved his family and it drove her crazy because it was clear that I wanted to spend my time with them. She was upset that I didn’t watch tv with her without distraction, she wanted all of my attention and texting Jake at night was not part of her plan. She decided that she was going to enforce “family time” meaning she didn’t want me to text except from 8 to 9 at night. Outside of those times, she expected me to spend time with her, which meant sitting on the couch and watching tv, not talking. This was fine on one level, I had homework, Jake had homework and hockey practice and actual family dinners, so he was busy until 8. The same for my other friends. However, on the other level all of a sudden only having an hour to talk to everyone felt like having 15 minutes. This is when I came up with a wonderful plan – I would just leave the room right before 9.
Our house had a small basement that was probably 300 square feet. It was underneath our kitchen down about 30 steps, it was completely white, the wall on the left had floor to ceiling mirrors, the wall across from the stair was full of cabinets and had a tiny tv on the upper shelf. The room had a treadmill, a weight machine, and a small mat for body weight workouts.
At 8:45, I would get up off the couch, go put on my workout clothes, and head downstairs with my phone tucked into the waistband of my shorts. At this point, my mom would be engrossed in her tv show, and was very vocal that working out would be good for me because “I could stand to lose a couple pounds.” The plan worked perfectly, I would work out until 10:30, when my mom would have made her way to bed, and during my workout, I could text Jake and all of my friends.
This solved the problem and quickly became a nightly tradition. The only problem left was laying in bed at night, I was still depressed. The feeling of worthlessness, that didn’t disappear at night, the negative comments from my mom and Jed all came back to me at night, when my phone wasn’t pinging and I was waiting to sleep.
From my mom I would hear how I needed to lose weight, how no one could really love me, how unfunny I was, how Jake was going to cheat one me, how awful my dad was, how dad picked a woman over the family, how she sometimes wished she never had kids and wondered if then her marriage would have lasted.
From Jed I would hear him telling me how worthless I was, who could ever love me, how disguisting and used up I was now that he had had sex with me, how no one could ever want to be around me, how ugly I was, how much better the other girls at our school are than me.
I would lay in bed in night as the endorphins from my workout wore off, with my phone no longer pinging as everyone had gone to sleep, and I would pull out my silver friend and unleash my feelings through my wrist.
It didn’t take long for Jake to know that I did this. He would notice that I was wearing long sleeves when it was warm, or he would go to hold my hand and graze my wrist and feel a scab.
When he first noticed the cuts, Jake asked why and I lied, kind of. I told him it was a release and it made me feel better, which was true. When he asked why I needed to do that and what I needed to release, I told him how I felt, but not fully why. I never told him what Jed said or did to me. I only shared pieces of what happened at home. He listened and told me that I could talk to him instead. He promised not to tell anyway and told me that it would be ok no matter what.
It helped, but only when he was around. When Jake wasn’t there at night, there was nothing between me and the blade, and that part of my life kept going.