When I was twelve, I was exposed to the ideals of self-mutilation. A classmate had started cutting her arm, and openly showed her wounds to us. Most people were disgusted; disassociated themselves and seemingly forgot about the incident. But I could not. In contradistinction to what most would believe; I was not drawn to the idea of cutting as a release, but rather the concept of cutting and the eventual scarring as an art form.
For almost a year, the idea lay dormant. I knew it was there, tucked away in my subconscious, but I was determined to forget about it - after all; I thought the idea was obscene. But still I could not shake my attraction. It had seduced me, and I knew it was a matter of time before I tried it.
Soon after my thirteenth birthday, my urges to grew stronger and I succumbed. I told myself that I would only do it once, just to see what it was like. I reassured myself. I waited until I knew I would have an evening alone; some time to purge myself of my morbid curiosity, uninhibited.
I collected some tools; needles, razors and a sword-edged knife. I was completely at a loss as to what to expect. I started off simply; scratching an abstract design on the inside of my wrist. It bled a little, but I knew it was not enough. Next, I went over the aforementioned pattern with the razor, cutting deeper and deeper until the blood was soaking my bedspread. The pain was not what I had expected - it was there, it was definitely there, but the satisfaction I was getting from the act seemed to dumb it down. I left the knife; my exploration had been enough. Or so I thought.
A few weeks later, when my work had healed, I was emotionally blown away with what I saw. Yes, the design in itself was not that magnificent, but it was what it stood for. It was a statement, a declaration to myself. I had scarred my skin, left a mark that would be sure to remain there for life; and in my eyes at least, it was beautiful. I felt beautiful.
Some may see this as a sign of Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD), and I would like to make clear that this is not the case. Admittedly, I think that my scars and the array of piercings I have acquired make me more aesthetically pleasing, but I was never particularly unhappy with myself in the first place.
After that breakthrough; I found that I was not content with discontinuing my new pursuit. Throughout my early teens I created a variety of scar designs; all of which were planned out - none were random. When my parents found out, I was sixteen and had been successful in keeping my secret safe; by cutting in places not commonly on show (upper thighs and breasts) and generally keeping myself well covered up. As I could have predicted, my parents were aghast and immediately jumped to the conclusion I was cutting for emotional release. I spoke to a psychologist, on their request, and he wronged their prognosis; telling them that I did not cut because of an inability to express myself, but he did find my interest, or hobby, disturbing and dangerous.
I gave up trying to convince my parents that I am responsible and this is a pursuit for my own gratification. I appreciate why they find it hard to accept what I do, but in what I hope to be a trend, they have become less critical.
I continue to scar myself deliberately to this day, and shall carry on doing so, for as long as I find it satisfying. Most people tell me I will regret it in the future, when I am unable to do anything about it. But to them, I say this; if we spent our lives procrastinating over everything because there may be a chance you will not feel the same a few years down the line, we would not do anything. If in later life I do dislike my scars, then I will have to face those consequences, and that is my burden to bear.
Some people may wonder; why are you writing this? And I would probably ask the same thing in your position. I am in no doubt that there are thousands of experiences a lot more exciting than mine, but if you think that is the reason I wrote this, you have missed the point entirely. I wanted to express, through my own journey of discovery, that you do not have to be weird or crazy to want to indulge in acts of body modification.
I am by no means recommending this, I am merely trying penetrate the majority with this message; not all self-mutilation (although I do not refer to what I do as self-mutilation) is a cry for help, or a beacon of life in dark and desperate times. It can be a pleasurable pursuit. I am not asking anyone to understand why I enjoy this, just to tolerate it, and leave me judgement free.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 30 April 2005