"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream." Martin Luther King, Jr. We were about the same age. Both of us stuck on a locked pysch ward. Me - to serve out my sentence for drug possession; her - I don't know. They said she was an attention seeker. She didn't look any different than anyone else, but one morning, she poured lighter fluid over her body and lit a match. Her shrill screams, the smell of burning flesh and the sight of the flames engulfing her terrified me. Once medically stable, they threw her in an isolation room. I didn't get that. Why did they punish her? It was a pretty desperate act just to get attention. Why couldn't they just give her the attention?
They didn't know I had been raped or beaten. They didn't know I had been told so many times I deserved nothing and called horrible names. All they knew is I couldn't stop hurting myself, or shooting dope or throwing up. So they pumped me full of pills or tied me to the bed like an animal. What they did was instill more hate inside me. And all that hate made me hurt myself even more.
You can't force anyone to stop self-destructive behaviour. Stopping comes only from feeling safe, feeling accepted, feeling cared about. It's like the story of the sun and the wind. They had an arguement to see who was stronger - who could make the man take off his coat. The wind blew and tried to force the coat from the man, but only when the sun shone it's warmth, did the man remove his jacket.
The warmth of God's touch cut through my pain, my hate, my fear. It didn't happen all at once. It took time. Time for me to feel safe. Time for me to trust. First, He broke the hold of the drug addiciton. I stopped shooting dope but I still wouldn't eat and I cut myself all the time. I used to scream at God, You want to kill me? Then go ahead. Do it. I don't care. Do it already! I dare you to kill me. In the gentleness of His love, He overlooked my attitude.
Hope. I want to reach out in gentleness like God did for me. Maybe what I lived can give hope to others who live in the dark.