Welcome to my life.
I’m your stereotypical sixteen-year-old girl, stressing about school and college, hanging out with her friends, trying to find a boyfriend, rebelling against her parents, ignoring her siblings, and discovering her passion and life dreams (cliché, right?)
Except, there is a twist.
I live in a town where the suicide rate is well above average. In 2008, a local teenager hung himself and a mother burned herself alive (and that’s a lot considering I live in a town of about 10,000.)
Although I didn’t know either of them, a related problem has occurred in my life.
I’m not going to sit here, and type away a lie. I’m not going to claim that I was a former cutter who saw the light, just so that I can win a contest. No, I’m going to give you the real story.
The first time I was exposed to this self-inflicting behavior was in 6th grade, when my friend explained why she had scars up and down her arms. At the time, I didn’t think much of it.
In 8th grade, two more of my friends admitted to similar behavior.
Now, due to the stress of high school, the cutting rate has skyrocketed. Out of my 10 closest girl friends, 6 of them have partaken in this behavior at least once. That’s a whopping 3:5 ratio!
According to my friends, self-injury is a way to release the pain they feel inside.
And that’s where the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) comes into play. The idea behind the name was to write the word love on your arm, instead of cutting yourself. Use a pen, not a knife.
TWLOHA focuses on something that affects my life. Here is an excerpt from the To Write Love On Her Arms website.
“MISSION STATEMENT: To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. You were created to love and be loved. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.”
Even as an observer, those words speak to me. This organization doesn’t just help those who struggle, but it helps those who watch the struggler.
It’s also an organization that every girl can relate to. When we get dumped, fail a test, lose a friend, it’s nice to know someone or someone, will be there to tell us that we’re loved and our life does matter.
TWLOHA is taking the time to teach the younger generation, because we are the future. Starting young, we learn and take things that we will keep and remember for the rest of our lives. TWLOHA is just giving us all hope that we have our whole lives ahead of us, and we shouldn’t waste that beautiful blessing. http://www.twloha.com/