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From Pain to Beauty

I started cutting when I was 14 or 15, and for all the wrong reasons. I was frustrated with myself, the world, and life in general, so I'd open my arm and let the pain bleed out. I never really thought twice about this – it seemed the natural thing to do. I preferred cutting to letting my anger out in any other way, because I would only hurt myself through cutting, as opposed to blowing up at someone and risk hurting him or her. This went on for some time (about a year and a half), until my parents found out (thanks to an ex-girlfriend) and sent me to a shrink. Didn't work. I stopped cutting for a while (it was over the summer, where I was away from school and other such stressful situations) and I told my parents that everything was fine (Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional). I was in group therapy, and it did help to hear other people talk about their problems, but at the time, I was the only one in that group who cut, and I felt odd talking about it in front of everyone else. I like watching how the psychologists worked, and I learned a few tips about helping others from them, but I never really resolved the cutting issue, although it had sort of recessed a bit. After a while, though, the urge to cut came back. I fought it for a few months, and was pretty successful. Summer came again, and then college started. Within the first month, I started to feel the urge again, but this time I had less resistance to fight it with. There really wasn't anyone who would find out about it, unless I told them, and I was away from everyone who I kept myself cutting for. In the past, my friends had been the only things that had kept me from cutting myself. They hated to see me in pain, and would get upset whenever they noticed a fresh cut on my arm. I didn't want them to be mad at me, so I would take that into consideration whenever I was thinking about cutting, and I would find a way to bottle it up inside (which of course, was an even worse thing to do – it only led to worse cuts later). There was something else different at college, though – I wasn't angry at anything. Of all the past times, I had always been really emotional when I cut, and it usually was to relieve the pressure from within my head. But not this time. I was completely focused. I knew that I wanted to do it for myself. Four simple diagonal parallel lines down my upper arm. That's all I did, to get used to the idea that I could now cut myself without any reservation. I used a pair of scissors (which I had used many times before), and just pressed and dragged. Nice and slow, to feel the edge bite into my skin, and slip through the layers beneath it. It didn't hurt much anyway, but if I went slowly, the pain was an awesome sensation. It bled. A lot. Each cut was about an inch long, and I couldn't even guess what the depth was, but it was deep enough to leave four nice scars, purple-red against my tan skin. I came back to these scars after they had healed some, and after I had figured out a pattern to fit them to. The four original scars became part of one side, and the other side wrapped the other way around my arm, becoming half of an armband. I can't really describe what the pattern looks like, but I was told it kind of looks like a tire tread. I did this because although I liked the scars individually, I wanted something more. I wanted the scars to join together to form something beautiful. I also wanted to be able to say to my parents, "These aren't out of pain." They wouldn't believe me if they just saw four random lines on my arm. They had trouble enough believing me anyway. It took me most of one night to cut the twelve other lines that made up the pattern, and by the end I was completely exhausted, and beyond ecstatic. I loved it. It was my blood, my body, my mind, my energy. Everything about this cutting came from within me, and was a sort of a beginning to my being able to express this aspect of myself, without feeling like I was doing something wrong. Part of my problem was that I had been forced into believing that cutting was something negative and destructive, when it can actually be something positive and constructive. Getting over this step, and going against everything that my friends and family had told me took tremendous effort, but it was worth it. It was such an incredible experience, and one that I had to work several years of my life to finally accomplish.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 04 Sept. 2001
in Scarification

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Artist: mirror%2C+mirror...
Studio: dorm+room
Location: West+Virginia+University

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