Love Me, Love My Damage — Or It's Not Going To Work

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Love Me, Love My Damage (Or It's Not Going To Work)

My damage makes me who I am.

I was in a mental institution. It's true. I went during the day and came home at night. It was after my panic attacks got so bad I couldn't function, and I was withdrawing from a medication that made me cry 24 hours a day. So I went, and we talked about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and we talked about Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and we had visits from a yogi and a priest. After two weeks, they pronounced me ready to graduate and shoved me out the door. That was last year.

Love me, love my damage.

When I was a kid, I told my mom I didn't have any friends. She said that since I didn't have any friends in public school, and I didn't have any friends in Catholic school, it was my fault I didn't have any friends now. And I cried harder, and I vowed not to come to her with anything again ever.

Love me, love my damage.

When I was fifteen, I started cutting myself. With a plastic ruler during French class, but it still counts. I cut my wrists. I cut my thighs. I cut my upper arms, near my elbows. I cut because it hurt and I cut because I wanted someone to notice. My parents finally did. They yelled at me.

I'd cut whenever things got rough. I cut my freshmen year when I thought nobody loved me. I cut myself during sophomore year when I thought I had no friends. I cut myself junior year when my ex threw bottles at my head, and I cut myself my senior year when my baby bled down the drain.

It's hard to cut yourself and miscarry at the same time but I managed it. I cut myself when I fought with my husband. I cut myself during the panic attacks. I left gashes on my thighs after I thought no one loved me, again.

Love me, love my damage.

I tried to kill myself my freshmen year of college with a bottle of Zoloft and bad intentions. My best friend D made me throw them up and held me until the shaking passed. He made me go back to counseling, which did about as much good as nailing a goat head to the wall.

Love me, love my damage.

My sophomore year in college, in the middle of a dorm picnic, my best friend/fiance D keeled over in a dead faint. We put him in a car to go to the hospital. We sat at a red light on the corner. I yelled at the driver to run it. He said, "I'm passing out, Alissa, I'm passing out..." and his head hit the back of the seat.

No amount of prayers or tears or essential oils could wake him up. He died two weeks later, never regaining consciousness. My friend K said that if he didn't make it, I'd end up in the ward or the morgue.

Love me, love my damage.  

My junior year, I landed in the apartment of a guy friend with long blond hair. He wanted to f*ck. I said no, and I said no, and I said no again, and then finally just to shut him up, I just laid there.

The next day, my friend J drove me to the nearest big city for a girls' day because of it, and we both tried to ignored that I'd been raped the night before.

Love me, love my damage.

My senior year, I went out to a bar where a professor was supposed to meet me. He never showed. The other two students did, who were older than me. The girl had one drink and fled. The guy took me home and showed me a Kevin Smith movie.

He kept trying to get me back to the bedroom. I said no, and I said no, and I said no again, and then finally succumbed to the pressure and laid on his bed, where he undressed me and we hooked up. I was almost too plastered to stand. I asked if he had a condom. He said no.

I said, no sex then! And hit him on the back. He entered me anyway and raped me all night.

Love me, love my damage.

I spent my first year of grad school, before I went on the straight and narrow, putting every kind of white powder I could find up my nose. Coke, meth, I dropped acid, and took someone else's pills, and smoked more cartons of Camel Lights than I care to count. Once, I hallucinated fairies from sleep deprivation, cocaine, and ambien.

If you want to love me, you have to know what comes with it. You have to know what makes me who I am.

Love me, love my damage — or it's not going to work.