“Life and death, energy and peace. If I stop today it was still worth it. Even the terrible mistakes that I made and would have unmade if I could. The pains that have burned me and scarred my soul, it was worth it, for having been allowed to walk where I’ve walked, which was to hell on Earth, Heaven on Earth, back again, into, under, far in between, through it, and above.” – Gia Carangi
By Christina MacNeal
Dear Punk Rock Grrl,
Hey you, it has been a while since I gave you a hug and said how amazingly beautiful you are and I have forgotten to let you know at times how much I love and miss you.
I just wanted to touch base and see how you have been and how you are handling things. I know that it hasn’t always been easy for you, but hey at least you have your romper stomps.
I worry about you sometimes; I don’t know how you manage to keep everything to yourself and even though I know how strong you are everyone has their limits including you. You have no idea why everything affects you when the noise and lights are turned up too high. You don’t understand why you start going into rages or start crying for what people think is nothing. All you know is that you are different and something is wrong with you, like when someone asks you something but you can’t form the words to answer.
I admire you deeply for what you have survived and I think that most everyone else would have snapped had they gone through the things you have. Through it all you were always willing to speak your truth; that’s the real deal and it takes heart to do so. Your goal is always to make someone else not feel as alone as you do.
I tried really hard even though it might not have seemed like it to make you happy and put a smile on your face. I am sorry for the times I failed you and as hard as I tried I couldn’t reach you even though my arms were extended.
I am sorry for every time I have hurt you; it wasn’t intentional it’s just like that Tegan and Sara song about walking with the ghost you like so much. I guess I am your ghost.
You are an amazing person and deserve much more than what you have put yourself through and let others do to you. I hope you can see that.
I am sorry that things shattered like a mirror and when the pieces fell at your feet you picked up the pieces and tried to make scar over scars go away with a rush and a razor.
You could never fake being happy and just smile pretty like all the rest of the girls. Speaking of girls, being a riot grrl and feminist is something you will always carry close to your heart and it will in the end save you and preserve your sanity as for the first time you won’t feel so alone in this world.
You find yourself writing all of the time and submerge yourself in art and for you these two things are such a part of you your heart beats for it and your very being will thirst for it. It is your first and last love that never loses that newness and gives you the butterflies every time. It is your voice and how you speak to and reach others.
One day you will be without all this baggage: the self-injuring, suicidal idealization, one too many rapes, depression, panic attacks and battles that you bare every day. I guess when life gets to be too much you continue to survive despite your surroundings and the things they call you, say about you or do to you. Through it all perseverance and a stubborn spirit will be your survival.
You would never actually take your life or take your life for granted; it is just where your mind drifts into a dark place and trauma on top of trauma piles up and sometimes you are just too tired to fight them all off.
This is when addiction is your escape from reality. It’s understandable and one day you will beat your addiction much to the surprise of those around you. You will simply decide that you are worth more than the self-harm it causes and abuse it brings and you won’t pick it up again.
As you grow you will find friends that have either survived similar things or that are just as broken as you and pieces of your heart will be freely given to each of them. Your loyalty is unmatched and you are fiercely protective over your friends as you know what can lurk behind any and every dark corner from experience. Even though it is learned your autism doesn’t dictate this type of awareness.
This is when you became the activist you will always be. It all started with seeing how marginalized you and your friends were and all those things that you have survived found a new place to live and it lit a fire in your heart and in an instant all that you carried on your shoulders turned into action and determination. This is when things changed forever and life got better.
You had a purpose and the opportunity to get off the ground for good; dust yourself off and say I will never be shoved around or kicked in the teeth again. And you ran with it, you took yourself off the ground for good.
I am so proud of what you have managed to accomplish, that you always choose to try and never ever give up.
Soon this is all behind you as you grow, learn, become educated and are given life changing opportunities. Through it all you became more focused, more aware, more passionate and of course always stayed true to your first love and friend, writing.
You go on to accomplish the impossible and all the while aiming for the moon, dreaming big and relying on your intelligence that has taken you this far. In fact, people will come to name it as one of the things they admire most about you.
You learn to love yourself for who you are, but most importantly for yourself. You forgive those who have done you wrong, you moved on and made it out alive and furthermore you are successful.
You do what you love for a living and while you have steps still to take you have mountains and a million miles behind you. You did what life told you you couldn’t and while you have the scars to prove it you made it despite the odds.
You see I know your strength as we have been sharing and living off of it since birth and from the womb to the tomb we will always have each other. I am glad that you gave us the chance to grow up; I am glad that you fought for us and chose to live.
Self-love first and I love you,
A Smaller Punk Rock Grrl
To all those who are still struggling with addiction, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, abuse and rape stay alive another day. Life is worth living and it gets better, I promise. If you need help go to twloha.com To Write Love On Her Arms.