A Call for Contributions to HA’s Upcoming Self-Injury Awareness Series
By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
Update, 06/04/2013: We will be starting this series on Monday, June 10. So if you are interested in contributing, please try to get your submissions to us by Saturday, June 8. The series will be running for all of the following week, so that’s not a “it must be in by then or you can’t contribute” deadline. Just send us an email and let us know if you need more time beyond Saturday.
I vividly remember the day when cutting struck close to home.
The year was 2004. I was a junior in college, and visiting a friend at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. I remember the evening when he started telling me who among the debate clubs we coached cut themselves. Actually, I should rephrase that: he did not tell me who; rather, he gave me the list. Because there was a list. There were that many.
I remember what I was eating. Because I was eating In N Out. Living in Oregon where In N Outs do not exist, I looked forward to eating it as much as possible while in San Diego.
I remember what I was eating because I instantly lost my appetite. My stomach clenched into a knot of pain. I would describe that pain as dull chainsaws hacking at my insides.
My stomach clenched not only into a knot of pain, but a knot of fury.
I could not articulate to anyone at that time why the pain mingled with fury.
But I can tell you now: I was furious that we had grown up, and were growing up, in a culture that tried so hard to be perfect but failed miserably and could not admit its failures. I was furious that homeschooling was paraded around as this children-first movement when in fact children were so often subjugated to the ideologies of their parents, to the point that children’s needs were being ignored. I was furious that these children did not feel safe enough to express their needs to their parents. I was furious that I knew I could do nothing — that I was powerless to help.
I cannot think about homeschooling without thinking about self-injury. I know they are not inherently related, but they are psychologically related in my own mind because of my personal experiences. I think about my friends who cut themselves because they had no other outlet to express their pain; I think about my friends who drank themselves into stupors, or overdosed, because the pain was overwhelming; I think about my ex-girlfriend, who would regularly lock herself in the bathroom to bang her head repeatedly against the wall or access her razors while I would beg her to please come out, that I would do anything I could to help — but again, I was rendered helpless.
I know there are many stories out there, many more than the ones I know. I know from my relationships with my friends how difficult it can be to struggle with self-injury, and how hard it is to overcome. But I also know that it can be done. I have seen people find strength to overcome and find healing for their pain.
This is honestly one of the most important subjects for me, personally, to bring awareness to. So I would like to do a self-injury awareness series at HA. This series would welcome contributions on any form of self-injury/abuse awareness. I know this can be a very difficult subject to talk about, but I am hoping that, in talking about it, we can shed light on this issue and maybe bring hope and healing for other homeschoolers.
If you are interested in contributing, here are some ideas for what you could write about:
1) Your personal story of struggling with self-injury
2) Your personal story of being a friend to someone struggling
3) Your thoughts on the relationship between your homeschooling experience and self-injury
4) Your advice, as someone who personally struggled with self-injury, to other homeschool kids who are currently struggling
5) Your advice, as a parent to a kid who personally struggled with self-injury, to other parents who have a kid currently struggling
You do not have to pick just one topic. You could combine several of these ideas, or bring your own ideas to the table, or — if you have a lot to say — contribute several pieces on a variety of these topics. There is no deadline as of yet. We are just putting out feelers to see if people would like to be a part of this and share their stories. At some point soon we will come up with a concrete deadline.
As always, you can contribute anonymously or publicly.
If you interested in participating in this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.