Every week, I try to put some thought into what I say here.  I try to avoid certain topics so that I don’t tire myself on the same subjects (and so I don’t make the mistake of posting too much information on the interweb).  It can be challenging to find just the right thing to say at the right time, not to mention the challenge of writing enough to feel like I’ve stretched myself and not just blurted a few jumbled thoughts.

But this week, there is no problem.  After consulting a calendar to be absolutely sure of my accuracy, I produced this timeline:

Three years ago today (Feb 25, 2008) was the last time I cut.

Two years ago today (Feb 25, 2009), I went to play rehearsal, then went out to Denny’s with Audrey (my roommate through most of college) and Momma and Papa Owl to celebrate the toughest year of my life.  A year in which I had taken an action of pure self-loathing and turned it into an expression of self-love through henna.

One year ago today (Feb 25, 2010), I waited for play rehearsal to be over, then went with Audrey and Matt (my adopted Freshman) to McDonald’s to celebrate two years of positive expression towards self, as well as almost an entire year without the need for the henna as a cutting substitute.

On March 12, 2010 I went out for the real celebration, going to a movie with Audrey, her fiance, and another couple who had been there for me in the past several years, who had shown the kind of support that had gotten me through all of these two years during the most of which my five closest friends from home were gone on their missions.  Their support, which had gotten me to the point where I was strong enough to give up cutting, was gone, but these four friends–and another who couldn’t come–were my chosen companions for the night, the people who I needed to share this celebration with.

Today (Feb 25, 2011), I will go to Whole Foods during my lunch break for the small celebration.  I’ll get some tofu and interesting food (for some reason, on this diet, tofu has become my “special occasion” food) and quietly say, “well done.”  Tonight, I’ll spend my anniversary with my family, the first one I’ve been able to, attending a play.  It has been three years since I have cut as of today and two since I needed to use the henna to patch me through the rough spots.  In the past year, I have not just learned to survive, but to thrive.  I have developed myself in the areas I felt weak and maintained that which I felt needed to continue.  I am no longer hiding inside.

In about two weeks, I will share this victory with the best friends who brought me to the brink of health before Audrey & Co. took over.  It is their turn to be recognized in these celebrations, though only one will join me.  Hopefully, if Colorado weather cooperates (hah!), we’ll go miniature golfing.  If it doesn’t, the plans are what I’ll call “fluid” (read as: I have no clue what to do if the weather is bad).  Again, this night will be to celebrate my anniversary, but also my chance to honor the amazing person that has seen me through so much.

This will be my first year without Audrey by my side to celebrate what is, by all rights, her achievement as well.  However, we’ve already talked about it and I’m sure we’ll talk again.  There are many people who have always had to celebrate from afar.  Celeste, Bex, Kate, and Nikki, you deserve quite a bit of the credit as well.  What I have learned from all these anniversaries and the trials in between when people check up and make sure that I’m still steady is this:  I am NEVER alone.  The people who saved me in such grand ways continue to do so in the vital and small ways.

I’m on a journey of healing.  Part of the timeline is that this is my halfway point.  Previous to the round of cutting that lasted from January of 2007 to February of 2008, I had been able to quit for six years.  Today is my halfway point to that goal, and August 25, 2011 is the next point on my timeline: halfway to the new goal.

I can’t promise myself I’ll never cut again.  It’s a stupid promise to make.  Guarantees and absolutes are just standards for failure in the world of a Manic Depressive.  But, as To Write Love on Her Arms so wisely states: Rescue is possible.  I’m going to spend the next three years, and hopefully many more, remembering that I’ve been rescued from so much that I thought I couldn’t be and looking for ways to make the other steps that are needed.  And, as I get to firmer and more stable ground, I’ll be able to help realize that rescue for others around me.

No man is an island.  I am loved.  Rescue is not just possible, it has happened in my life thanks to the amazing and beautiful people who took the time and effort to pull me through the worst of the worst.  As I said, this week’s blog subject was an easy one to choose, for on this day I have so much more to celebrate than three years free of cutting.  I have the incredible presents that these people gave to me: they gave me my life back and, in the process, they gave me themselves.

I could not ask for a greater or more precious gift.

Thank you.