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Monthly Archives: March 2008

Q: What’s the one thing you think could be done that would change the world the most?

A: People really grasping what is possible with this word “love.” It is not small. It is not cheap. When it’s lived out, it has the power to change.

–Jamie Tworkowski in an interview with Mammoth Press about To Write Love On Her Arms

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OCF Podcast

Episode 1 of the OCF Podcast is finally ready for public consumption!  This weeks episode features part one of a talk by executive director Fr. Kevin Scherer entitled “How to Survive College as a Christian.”

Download/subscribe here.

Tiff and I came across this video of Presidential candidate Mike Gravel a couple of weeks ago. Since then, we’ve gone back to it a couple of times just for laughs.

She says, “I just want to poke him and watch him tip over…like a cow!”

Man! What a beautiful day!

It’s 70°, the sun is shining bright, and a walk of any length anywhere on campus reveals people enjoying the day outside. There is a feeling of newness, of great opportunities ahead, and of a fresh joy that hasn’t been felt around here in a while.

I even left my iPod in my dorm room this morning so I could just take in the life around me on my way to biology. I’m so excited about the weather, I haven’t even needed caffeine today.

Sure…this is East Tennessee, and cold weather will be back in a couple of days (shhh…don’t tell anyone). But it’s just so beautiful right now that I had to share. 🙂

There’s a song that I heard recently which speaks to this idea of newness and opportunity. Take a listen if you get the chance.

Lyrics

Tiff and I came across this video via the Post Secret blog. It’s an interview with the owner of I Found Your Camera, a website dedicated to reuniting lost cameras with their rightful owners. This is a really cool idea. Spread this one around and help the cause. 🙂

Sel Injury Awareness Ribbon

Today—March 1, 2008—is Self Injury Awareness Day.  As many of you know, the topic has struck a chord with me in the last year or so.  And, now, it hits a little closer to home, as my girlfriend Tiffany is a recovering self injurer.

When we met this past September, she allowed me to read a cover letter made for a research project she did a couple of years ago in high school.  I was very moved by it, and I continue to be. I thought it would be appropriate to share today, along with an update she wrote specifically for the blog.  So, I guess I have a guest writer today.  🙂

Anyway, feel free to read, comment, or even share with others.


November 30, 2005

Dear Reader,
What do you think of when you think of a twelve year old?  Naïve?  Pre-teen?  Now say to yourself, cutter.  That was the age I was when I picked up a piece of glass to “kill myself,” or so I said.  I’d felt so many emotions building up and I exploded.  I never thought for the next three-and-a-half years I’d fight an endless battle of “checking” the sharpness of a knife by running it along my arm; pricking with the tip; soon escalating to box cutters and razor blades doing more than pricking and “checking.”
In this paper I hope to show the truth of self-harm and to reveal the skin exposed and the scars that lie on them, the flaws.  I want the lines of “attention-whore” and “they just want attention” to cease from people’s mouths.
Self-injurers are not weird, or depressed freaks, they’re not “emo” or “gothic.” They are friends, spouses, students, children, “significant others,” bosses and co-workers.  They are people all around you; maybe the bubbly kid that sits in front, or the quiet one in the back, your sister or brother.
I am one of those teens. Though I am seven months free of cutting, it crosses my mind every single day.  Three and a half years of my life were wasted on my “friend,” something that I thought could help cure all my problems, but was physically and mentally destroying my life.  I hid my shame with long sleeves and late night tears. I cut, burned, pinched, hit my problems away.  i did anything to help me ease my emotional pain the only way I thought I could.
I went through on and off stages for about a year.  The summer I moved to Ohio changed all of that.  I started up more and more, everyday, or every other day. I had eighty-four scars on me at one point.  it helped me, even if I cried over it, and hit myself over it.  It eased my pain of not having friends, my pain of not fitting in, of not making the grades my mother wanted. It eased my pain of my family dying, my pain of my ex-boyfriend ignoring me. It eased my pain of not being perfect.
Honestly, i don’t even know if I always want to stop at times.  However, I did.  i have, at least I hope.  I stopped as a New year’s resolution for 2005, and failed on January 2nd.  i started up again, and made it to April 25th, and then the 27th.  I haven’t cut or burned since.  I still have a horrid habit of subconsciously hitting my head on things, picking at a raised scar on my shoulder, pinching my wrists when I’m nervous, upset or in deep thought.  i don’t know it until my boyfriend moves my hand away, or places his hand on my head.  As of today, seven months and two days is my longest record since freshman year.
This letter is supposed to be about my essay, but my essay is not the raw parts of it.  My paper is research; my interviews, my letter, and my poem are the raw parts.  That is what I need people to see.  I need them to see the emotion, the feelings, thoughts behind the labels, the pain and agony of stopping.
I need the truth to be let out. I need someone to understand.  Someone that hasn’t been there.

Sincerely,
Tiffany Rachael O’Brien

UPDATE:
Wow. I wrote that ages ago.
I have no idea what to say right now, but when Jonathan asked if he could put this up, I decided…I want an update. So an update you shall get. Rambles, are more like it. :]

In a little less than two months, it will have been three years when I officially put myself through my own recovery. The moment I said to myself, I’m done, we’re gonna get better. Did I? I would like to think so. The most common question I get is why? The next is do you still do it?

I cannot answer the first. It just felt like the right thing to do. After that it was something I needed.

To the second:
No, it is not my first release. But it is something I struggle with everyday of my life. I struggle to get people to understand, not to pity or look down on…just understand. I struggle through the battle of not putting one more scar on my body, one more mark one more look of pain in the heart and eyes of loved ones.

I have fallen twice since 2005. TWICE. God, I’m so happy it is such a small number. I really am. May 23rd, and August 1st. I can’t be mad at myself, not when I worked so hard to get to where I am now.

I’m stronger. I try to support others, help them the best that I can. But I’m human and I make mistakes, but they make me who I am. I love my scars, I love my weak moments. I love them because they are what made me who I am. They are stories of hard times and I’m here to tell the ending.

But I’m still writing that story, so an update will just have to be suffice. The ending won’t be anytime soon. :]
I’m sure if there are comments or questions, Jonathan will show them to me. My book is open…I’ll give a reply to the best of my knowledge.

For now, take care.

Tiffany


selfinjury.org | To Write Love On Her Arms