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Chapter #3: The Crimson Canvas

Updated: Feb 8



We meet again, my friend! Third time's a charm, I suppose. I haven't scared you away, yet. Which to me—is humbling. Thank you for listening to my truth. I've always felt like the complexity of my life story was too jam-packed. Like it was always too hard for others to understand me. Not without unloading a mountain of baggage first and possibly burying them alive.


When we experience trauma and challenges in life... it brings great suffering. The sorrow makes us disconnect from ourselves and we can begin to reject the world. But, it also brings in a progressive opportunity for expanded wisdom and growth. Every piece of my life puzzle brought the gift of higher understanding.


As you read on in this chapter, please always remember that there was a light and a teacher present in all of my shadows. Those lessons you will read about later on in the story. There won't be a light at the end of the tunnel in this chapter, but I promise it will come. Please hang in there.


I must warn you, though... the painful experiences you're about to witness are some of the darkest snapshots of my life movie. I've had much loss and grief since then, although that type of suffering comes from love and longing. The story I'm about to tell next does not come from that place.


Insert trigger warning here.


It's 2007. My Chemical Romance is playing on my Window's Media Player. My pet rabbit's name is Miss Murder. Boys Like Girls. There's a Panic at the Disco. And I'm going down, down in an earlier round—sugar, we're going down swingin'.


Needless to say, emo culture was in full swing. It's hard to tell how it all started exactly. You know, like—what came first, the chicken or the egg? Was emo culture created and in consequence, birthed a bunch of depressed and apathetic teens?


Or did the stress and pressure of our world give birth to a deeply saddened generation of youth who bled out the emo movement? It's honestly a big mystery. All I know... "IS THAT MY HEART IS IN OHIO!"


For all the non-millennials, sorry for confusing you up there. Pop culture references are now complete.


At this point in the story, I'm 15 years old. My attitude is a beautiful blend of "this sucks" and "fuck off" as I creep the 9th-grade halls. Believe it or not, my boyfriend and I are still together.


As a young girl, dating the same guy for over 2 years is pretty much equivalent to 20 years of marriage. That part of my life was the only thing I really cared about. I was absolutely engulfed in teenage love.

Right before we started dating, my parents had broken up and the freak car accident topped off my 13th birthday party. The best friend I told you about in the last chapter ended up switching schools after her long and arduous recovery, and I lost touch with her.


After all that, you can probably imagine how falling in love with a boy and having sex for the first time could become a young girl's entire world.


What I didn't realize then... was that I was developing a coping mechanism for trauma called codependency. Codependency can disguise itself as love—and at first, may seem like it could never be a bad thing.


But soon you begin to realize your mind is always focused on an outside person or force to keep you happy. You avoid your trauma by obsessing over the love of something else. Then, your love turns to dependence. That's when things get messy.


I did love him, though.


When I was with my boyfriend, everything finally felt good again. I wasn't thinking about missing my best friend or the ongoing hate between my parents. I felt safe, happy, warm, loved, and wanted. But, when I was not with him I felt sad, lonely, scattered, and anxious.


Codependency creates an unconscious situation where what the other person does has direct dictatorship over your thoughts and emotions. Every little argument or disagreement we had ended up a huge panic attack because of how attached I was to the relationship.


If he wasn't happy—how could I be happy? My life revolved around him. And if we were in a disagreement, no matter how small, how could it not be the end of the world? My relationship was the only good thing about my life.


I was a ticking time bomb.


One day, after a big argument—he broke up with me. This wasn't the first time either of us had pulled that card, so I didn't really take it that seriously. Although, this time ended up being different.


My manipulative tactics to win him back weren't working. It made me so mad that I ended up sleeping with someone else. It all backfired on me because this was the act that finally broke us up for good.


When I realized that we were over—like, really over. I lost it. It's hard for me to clearly remember where exactly things went wrong in my mind that summer. When I try to reflect, all I can recall is this one night I went to my grandma's house.


She came to pick me up from my dad's and the second I got into the car I told her what happened. I started crying so hard that I couldn't stop.

Tears began to pour from my eyes like giant buckets of seawater. My heart began to pound and my head began to spin as it fully sunk in. The one good thing I had—was gone. I started to hyperventilate. My chest got tight and I began to shake.


I tumbled over in the backseat of the car and pressed my face deep into the seat cushion. I cried out a symphony of wails that I don't even think a wild animal could replicate.


This was the beginning of my nervous breakdowns. I think my little body, mind, and spirit had simply had enough. My vessel of pain just became too full, having no other choice but to pour out all over the earth.


When I went to sleep that night, everything hurt. When I woke up the next morning, everything still hurt. I was indefinitely angry. I was intensely defeated. To make a long story short—I was absolutely gutted.


I hated the world. But, most of all, I hated myself.


One day, a ray of sunshine managed to peak through the clouds of what seemed like an eternal rainstorm. Her name was Shanise. A wild, energetic, spunky, and out-spoken blonde badass somehow walked into my life right when I needed it.


Shan was the most hilarious, boisterous chick that I'd ever met in my life. She was caring but didn't have time for any bullshit. If I was sad she'd say, "Come on bitch, just smoke this. I don't have time for this pity party!"

She became my best friend like no other. My codependency beautifully converted from being attached to my boyfriend to entangling with my best friend.


It's all fun and games until your mental health takes a kamikaze nose dive.


As time went on, I began to mask my pain more and more. I was drinking and smoking whatever I could get my hands on. I was eating random pills from kids at school that I didn't even know the name of. The thoughts in my mind got darker and darker. And in turn, so did my view of the world.


I started struggling to sleep at night. When it was time to quiet down all of my pain and trauma would bubble up—like lava seeping up from the belly of the earth.

I was filled to the brim with my suffering and I had no coping mechanisms to deal with it. I hated myself (and pretty much everyone else) and wouldn't take an ounce of help even if it was offered to me.


One night I hit a breaking point. I had to release this painful pressure throbbing inside of me. Unfortunately, my mind began to slide into a very dark place.



That night I couldn't sleep.


I laid anxiously in my bed staring at the ceiling. I squirmed about uncomfortably, as I usually did when I couldn't stop my racing thoughts.


I wrapped my arms around myself like a hug and began digging my nails into my shoulders. It hurt, but I sort of liked it. I unraveled myself and began gazing at the pasty forearms before me.


I examined my skin. It was so pale and soft, like fragile wet paper. It looked like anything could just come by and scratch right through.


That’s how I felt myself, too. Like I was transparent, weak, and empty. Everyone saw right through me. They knew how useless I was and saw all the same things in me that I hated about myself. With just one little scrape, it would be that easy to tear me wide open.

The uncontrollable anxious thoughts, fears, and pictures rushed through my mind like an endless tsunami. One anxiety jumped to the next, over and over again, until I could no longer take it. I felt completely trapped.


Please, just make it stop.


I impulsively got up from my bed and made my way to the bathroom. I began to rummage through the linen closet. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I was looking for, but a growing urge kept telling me to search.


I found a pair of my mother’s hair-cutting sheers and examined them closely. I felt the weight of them in my hand and it sparked an idea. I turned my attention towards the bathroom shower. A pink disposable razor was sitting crooked on the soapy shelf.


I reached for it. With quivering hands, I anxiously pried apart the razor head with the scissors and exposed the contents within. Using my short, black fingernails, I picked out the razor from the broken plastic.


I put my back against the wall and slowly slid myself down to the floor. I wiped off the small blade with a tissue, placing it in the palm of my hand. Grasping it with two fingers, I held it up to the light. My heart began to beat faster and faster.


What are you doing, Kailin?


With each heavy pulse, my nervous young body began to feel a strange desire. I rolled down the waist of my pajamas and exposed my warm, fleshy hip. I gently stroked my porcelain skin. So velvety and undamaged. So ironically different than how I felt inside.


Things grew silent. For once, my thoughts stopped racing. I placed the blade gently down upon my hip and applied some pressure. I inhaled deeply and slowly dragged it across my flesh-colored canvas. It carved a deep wound in the skin as I breathed out.


The feeling was shocking at first, but soon became surprisingly invigorating. Adrenaline rushed through my body. With another inhale, I dragged the blade across my abdomen.


Any remaining glimpse of the anxious thoughts and feelings I previously had completely faded as I admired the warm, crimson liquid seeping out from inside me.


That’s what I look like inside?



It's prettier than I imagined.


I watched as my blood began to form tiny wet droplets and slowly streak down the side of my body—forming little red pools on the white tile floor. It was mesmerizing.


The physical pain I felt from the wounds somehow connected to a deep sense of relief and excitement. Finally, something I could do for myself. Finally, something I had that could calm my unforgiving mind.

Long-sleeved sweatshirts and bloodstained pajamas soon started to gain adult suspicion. The healing process always took a long time for me. Although, I sort of liked it that way—often feeling for the scabs underneath my clothes.


I had to start making excuses. It was working fine until my prying mother discovered what I was doing. Just another thing to get pissed at me for. Another piece of proof that I was an "out of control" human being. Like you’d expect, my mother flipped the hell out.


Like you’d expect, that didn’t stop me.


One night, two older boys who lived in town came over to the house. Trying to seem cool, I snuck into my mother’s bedroom and stole a handful of her medication. I crushed them into dust and arranged the powder in a few skinny white lines. I held a rolled up dollar bill to my nostril and breathed in the chemicals.

A half-hour later, I was extremely disoriented. I was inexperienced with these types of drugs and had no clue how they would actually affect me. Unknowingly to me, they made me feel extremely sluggish and weak.


Sprawled across my bed immobilized, I struggled to pry open my eyelids. The one older boy sat down next to me. I didn’t really like this guy, but when I looked into his eyes it was clear that he saw something he really liked in me.


Without any hesitation, he climbed on top of me and placed his mouth firmly on mine. Wait, wait, wait! I was too weak to react. The feeling of his mouth soon turned into an invasion. His tongue pierced open my lips and made its way inside.


In my semi-conscious psyche, I was screaming. I knew this was not something I wanted. I actually found the boy to be a bit repulsive, but regretfully enjoyed the attention and party that he usually brought with him. Did that make this my fault?


I could barely move. The older boy pushed my face into his lap. Tired and defeated, I succumbed to the act. The party ended and everyone left.

It wasn’t very pretty for me after that. I played it off like I didn’t care, but inside I was extremely ashamed. The intimidating front I put off worked to my advantage. The girlfriend of the older boy who took advantage of me didn't do much, other than call me out in front of the entire lunchroom.


My depression continued to deepen, as did my wounds. The cuts in my skin became more abundant. I stopped trying to hide them. One day, my mom noticed my bandaged wrist. She pulled off the gauze and saw my chilling artwork. That was the final straw.


She told me to get dressed and that she was taking me to the hospital. I refused. My mother demanded it again and threatened to call the police to escort me if I didn't listen. Knowing she was spiteful enough to do it, defeated and enraged I put on my clothes and made my way to the car.


I know this all may be quite a shock to anyone reading this, especially if you've only known me as an adult. I shine so bright now, but its only after years of drowning and digging my way out of the mud. I apologize in advance for rocking your entire perception of me.


That very night was my first trip to the psychiatric hospital.


Let's save that adventure for next Tuesday,


Kailin of Earth



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