My name is Ali.
I am a survivor of attempted suicide and self harm. I am also a fine art photographer creating my life events, dreams, and inspirations.
Before reading this, please know that I have not censored anything, and everything I talk about it is true for not only myself, but others. It is a story that many others share with me, and very descriptive.
I could start at the moment of birth, even before then. I could start with my adoption to the same family, and my parents divorce. But this story is a coming of age story. If you read the entire thing, thank you for reading, and remember that speaking out, ending the silence is the most important thing to do when you or someone you know is going through a situation similar to the one your about to read.
At 15 years old I took a scissors to my wrist and attempted to cut, after a fight I had caused with my parents. This was the first time that I have ever attempted to cut, and the result was nothing. The blade was to dull, and there was no blood. A scratch was the result, and a feeling of stupidity hit me. I fell asleep with the lights on, and tears down my face, because I had caused a fight with my parents, and I wasn’t happy with myself. I promised myself, in a diary entry that I “would never try to cut again, and I was so ashamed that I even attempted it.” I woke up the next morning, got dressed, put a smile on my face, and life went back to normal after a night’s rest. I lived my life day-to-day, I went to class, I had some friends, I played my sports, I went to piano lessons, and I came home did my homework ate dinner and went to bed. My life was the same each and every day. Until I met someone, I met someone who showed me to a world I had never experienced before; parties and alcohol. I found a “best friend” that in one night showed me a world I knew existed but never wanted to be apart of. After that one night, I woke up with the worst headache, hangover, and felt so disappointed in myself, and I knew that if my parents found out, I would be in so much trouble. Luckily, it took that one night for me to realize that I didn’t want to be apart of that world, what I saw that night, was drugs, drugs everywhere, booze, and sex. I was honest with my “friend” and we found other ways to spend our time, but no matter what our conversations were still toxic, and our friendship was never real, but it was the only “friend” that I had. I felt accepted, but in reality I never was by her. So eventually, I met new people, and moved on from the friendship. I still hadn’t cut ever again, and my life was still day-to-day. I was the only child at the house, and fights with my parents started to get more frequent. I noticed that in school I wasn’t accepted by the “popular crew” and I never understood why, looking back I know why, I had a loud voice, and I loved to cause drama, it’s nothing I am proud about, but I am so glad that I grew out of it. However, even if I grew out of it, I felt that I had to prove that I had grown out of it, and even than I wasn’t accepted. All of a sudden depression, and stories of suicide started to become more common around me, and I started to question “what if I was gone, what if I didn’t have to walk into the school doors daily and feel that I was hated?” I only asked myself this a few times, but then it started to become more frequent. I wasn’t a size 2, tall, pretty girl with all the clothes in the world. I wasn’t the top sports star, and I had nothing to offer, so I felt. I felt so worthless. I was at a point where I was living day by day but no longer with a smile on my face, and along came a boy. Who had no idea, no idea the questions I kept asking myself, and no idea the fear in my eyes on a day-to-day basis. There was this game he played, and to this day I don’t know if it was ever real or not. But I enjoyed the chase, it was the first person I ever liked enough to try to be happy, and I started to smile again, and my life started to be brighter again. The moment I faced rejection, my mind shut out all of the happiness and I was in a dark spot again, asking myself that question, daily, it happened within’ 2 weeks. It happened so fast. So with one of the first true friends by my side, I told myself I would move on, and keep living life, with a smile on my face, day-to-day. I met someone else, someone who took something from me. Well, if we are being honest, I gave it to him. My innocence was now gone, but I wasn’t in love. I was left stranded, and I had no one but that friend. I felt so alone again. That boy from the start came back into my life, and there I was smiling again, and enjoying life. Eventually, another friend came into my life that has changed it forever, she has been the most remarkable person that has come into my life, and stayed that isn’t family. She had a choice to remain my friend, and she stayed. She wasn’t toxic, and our time was spent doing things in life that teenagers should be doing, a healthy life. So I had the best friend, and I had the boy. I found what love was, so I thought, so I lived life and I had everything I was looking for. The instant it all changed, something in my head switched, I don’t know what, but something changed, and I didn’t know how to release the pain. It started with fighting with my parents daily, with everything, and my grades started to go down the drain. I was in my room at 16, 12:05am writing in my journal, and I received a text from an unknown number that read “your stupid, ugly, and annoying” I stopped writing, and I started to cry, there are even tear marks still on my journal pages. I wrote “I hate myself, I can’t get anything right, and I am worthless, I need to release my pain” so I went into the garage and in my step dad’s tool box found box cutters. I grabbed a few, and ran back to my room. I attempted to cut again, but this time deep enough to see the blood arise from my skin, from the blank canvas I was born with. I couldn’t stop, and I wouldn’t stop, I can’t explain the feeling, it was so releasing and so different. As tears and blood fell from my body I wondered why I couldn’t just be accepted, and I thought maybe if I was prettier, maybe if I was skinnier, and maybe if I was just not me, not Ali Kvidt. I decided right than and there that I would reduce the intake of my food, and try harder in the sports I was in, and I would just try to be better. I texted my sister, and told her what I had just done to myself. She talked to my mom, and came over bandaged me up, and took me to her apartment, she sat me down on her couch and told me her story, and told me it would all be better, she made me promise I would never do it again. I was wrapped up in unknown blankets with a bandage on my arm and a stinging pain. I fell asleep, and awoke ashamed of myself. I went home, and realized I had forgotten about my best friend through this all, I was in such a dark spot that I she didn’t even cross my mind. It scared me, that it was even possible to feel that down. So, I tried to start over again, covered my wounds and went about living my daily life. It took about 2 weeks to start feeling a little better about myself from that night, and about 2 weeks to feel normal in my house again. Once I felt normal again, I went back to the boy, and the life I had before that night. This time around it wasn’t the same, and he didn’t know, but he didn’t have to know. I didn’t feel the need to tell him, or my best friend, and in one night it all ended up in flames. I said the words “i love you” like I had before, and with no response, I got a text after I left saying “this isn’t going to work” my life shattered, I allowed it too anyways. So I jumped out of the car with my best friend, and other friend in it, and started to run, I ran for so long. Around and around barefoot, in tears, wondering all of those questions again. Once my best friend found me, she hugged me, and didn’t let go. I was brought home, and I went to my room to the box of razors, and started to cut.. This time harder, deeper, and longer. I couldn’t breathe, and I had no idea what to do. So I texted my best friend, and told her what I had done, she told me to tell someone, I told my sister, who told me “I told you that if you did this again, you or I would have to tell mom, and you’ll need to go in” so as I walked up the stairs to my mom’s office in tears I stood and looked at her, and saw the pain in her eyes, she saw the pain in my eyes, and we argued, I didn’t want to go in, but I had no choice. As I went downstairs to get ready to head into the hospital, I cut even more, I kept going, and I couldn’t stop. I was so scared. The car ride to the hospital was the longest of my life, even if it was 20 minutes. I waited in the emergency room in a gown, and when the doctor came in I covered my arm, ashamed that I had to show someone. As my mom sat across from me, her face was pale, and I couldn’t believe what I had done. I heard the words “you’ll be admitted to a behavioral health center tonight for one week” tears swelled up, and I knew this was real. I was brought to the behavioral health center for evaluation around 1:00am and I was shown to my room for the next week. I woke up in a room with white walls, where I had nothing. I walked out as I was told, and was told what my morning routine would be for my time there. Pills if I had any, vitals, and stepping on a scale. Grab your towel for the shower, and so on. Breakfast came, and there was faces all around me of people going through similar situations, and some welcomed you, and some didn’t. You didn’t talk about why you were there, you just knew. My day went on through therapy, group sessions, and so on. After my week was over, I was sent home, and my life with my best friend was still there, she was still there, and that was the moment I knew she would forever be there. Returning to school was hard, I didn’t know if anyone knew, and it felt like they did. So it was hard, and seeing him was hard. Culture shock hit. I felt worthless still, and no matter what I did I couldn’t shake the feeling. I returned home everyday after school, and at night I felt alone again, so I returned to the box of razors, but my arm had no more room on it, so I moved to my leg, and the pain I felt was being released. I would go to sleep, and wake up feeling the pain in the shower as the water hit my wounds. I felt stupid, I knew what I was doing was stupid, but I couldn’t help it, I was now addicted. It got to the point that in art class sharp objects were hard to be around, he was there, sitting in front of me, and I had to face my fears, and I couldn’t handle them. Being called into the principles office with the counselor there, being told your mom has already been called, and they ask if you need to change classes, and that someone came to them about me having sharp objects in class was a concern was something I never thought would happen. I had to go home I was in so much shock and pain. I found every chance I could alone to cut. I was starving myself, and I was becoming weak, I was loosing weight, and I was just a mess. I had to go back to the hospital 2 weeks after my first release, and for some reason I felt safe there. It was my safe haven. I ran into that friend from the beginning of my story in the hospital, and it was an eye opener to what I had become. I was able to return home after a week, and this time I promised myself that I would try harder. So the cutting stopped for a while, and starving myself stopped. But every time I ate this time I felt so gross, and I ended up throwing up almost anything I ate, I didn’t want to gain weight, I wanted to be like those in the magazines, and I wanted to be like those in my class who were being accepted, and who were thin. I thought that it would change things. I kept working at my sports, and I started doing better for a little bit, until my body started to feel the pain of lack of nutrition. I got to the point where I was worse. I was being made fun of now for not being good enough at the sports I was in, and I hated it. I was given a nickname, Kfat, that resembled my last name Kvidt. I don’t know how it started, but it was everywhere, I couldn’t get it out of my head, and I kept starving myself, I kept hating myself, I kept feeling so alone. So there I was, and I stopped cutting because I knew what would happen. I found myself writing letters, and collecting all of the meaningful things in my life. I had written 8 letters, and 8 valuable things that I had put in each letter. I placed these letters in a drawer in my room. During the next few weeks I had attempted suicide, in my closet, medication at school, and it never worked. I was still there, I was still feeling worthless, and alone. I found a gun in my step dads drawer, and started googling how to use it, I never could figure it out, and so I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be an option. The letters were still there, and I was ready for my departure. One day after school it hit me, I would drown myself, and electrocute myself in the bathtub. It hit me that it was time, and that was the way. That night I was in the bathroom, and I figured it was time, and right as I put my toe in the bathtub there was a knock at the bathroom door, and it was my step dad, the knock became a pounding. I had to answer the door, or do it right than and there. I don’t know what it was but there was a pull inside of me, and my feet were headed towards the door. I opened it up, with tears down my face, and the next thing I knew I was back in the evaluation room at the behavioral health center, 2 months later, being asked about 8 letters I had written and had tucked away. My parents found them, and I was alive because they found them. This time at the hospital was different, they knew about my eating disorder, and I was on suicidal watch with sedatives. This time it was real, and I had no choice to go home after my week was over, I was sent to the state ward in Yankton, SD. I was suggested to stay there for 3 months, and my parents wanted to do whatever it was to get me better. Because to them, it was more real than ever before this time around. I hated myself for doing this to my parents, my family, my best friend, I even blamed them for being in the hospital because they “didn’t give me a chance” but looking back now I had no reason to be upset with them, they all saved my life… While at the state ward I did soul-searching with reading, writing and drawing. It really opened my eyes to what I was doing, because this hospital was a lot different from the ones before. Shockingly, my parents took me out a week after being there. I think they secretly knew that they would have lost me if I would have stayed longer. So I returned to school, and got more involved in the organization To Write Love on Her Arms, and my church. I turned for healing in ways the hospital didn’t give me, faith, and God. Eventually everything turned around, and my life started to look up. I was now healing, and healing in the right ways. I would lie if I said tears didn’t fall, and the thought of cutting didn’t approach but I turned away and gave my life to the Lord. I left the drama at the door, I ignored the whispers, the bullies, and I found love in life through my family, friends, and church.
After all of this in two years, my grandpa in North Dakota got sick, and needed my mom’s assistance in living because he was blind, and putting him in a nursery home wasn’t an option. As a family, we looked at this opportunity as a new start for all of us, and especially me. So the summer before my junior year of high school I made the move to ND, knowing I would miss my best friend who had been there through it all, I also knew I needed to make this step for a better life. The instant I walked in the door with my bags, my life was forever changed, and I was a new person. I was the person, Ali Kvidt was meant to be. I started my junior year, and kept my past a secret, I didn’t need to tell anyone. I kept following God, and my grandpa taught me more life lessons on a daily basis than I felt I had ever learned. I learned that the most important thing in life is to get up after you fall, and wipe your ass off and keep moving on. My grandpa taught me so much about life, and I was so blessed to have lived with him, had apart in taking care of him for one year. Until his passing, which was hard, but I took everything he taught me, and changed. I eventually opened my eyes to the possibility of becoming a photographer. I came across these pieces of work from photographers that shared dreams of theirs, new worlds, and I knew that I wanted to learn how to do that. The instant I took my first photo, I knew that I had found what I wanted to do the rest of my life. Being able to share my life through the lens seemed so much easier than any other way, and I started to receive feed back from others saying they had experienced the same things, and they admired my work. Throughout my senior year I dedicated myself to my work, and started to get a lot better. I moved to Minneapolis, MN and started to go to school where I found more of myself and my artistic voice. I eventually realized that my artist voice was being muted by the school I was at, and that I wanted to take the journey of photography on my own. I knew right away that dropping out would be a challenge, but that I had to do it. So for the past 5 months I have been working on my personal work, and finding my voice.. I have found friends along my journey in photography that have shown me the importance of photography, the importance of friendship, and the love I have for life. I have been starting projects left and right, and I am no longer the girl who would turn to a razor blade when something came to her door and ruined her day.. Instead any obstacle that I face I ask myself “how can I make this into a portrait?” and I work at that, and the feeling I used to get as the razor released blood from my skin, is now released when an image I create is made, and I know that I am where I should be doing what I love, and what I know my life calling is..
Thank you to the friends, and family that have been my biggest support group out there, and have never stopped loving me for me. Thank you to everyone who ever held out there hand and told me to “keep fighting” I am alive today because of you…