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It's No Lie

The first time I ever intentionally harmed myself was in my grade seven math class. I had recently been reunited with my best friend from grade three, and I found out his mother - who was like a mother to me too - had died of cancer. I was thinking about her in my class, and I found myself overcome with sadness and regret that I hadn't been around to see her at all before she died. I then decided that I needed to do something to remember her by, while I was thinking about what I could do, I was absently writing her name on my hand with my mechanical pencil, the scratch would go white for a second or two, then fade to really light red, barely visible. I thought more and more about what I could do, then I realized that my hand was burning, I looked down and saw that I had scratched her name into my hand fairly deeply. It wasn't bleeding, but I had taken a few layers of skin off.

I didn't try it again for a couple months, the next incident also happened in school. I was sitting with my friend in the back of our Science classroom, and we were carving things into our desk with Exacto knives that we had found in the supply cupboard. Before long, we got bored of that and decided to play sissy games, and we both ended up with fairly deep cuts all along our arms and checkerboard designs cut into hour hands. Before class ended, we'd stopped ourselves and cleaned up the blood with some paper towels. Though we didn't talk about that day for a long time, we both sort of developed it as a habit after that. Well- she told me about herself cutting, and showed me some light cuts on her shoulder. I didn't want to be left behind, so I told her I had been cutting too, which was a lie.

I left it behind until the summer before grade eight. I was talking to some people online while I was in my dad's basement, and I hadn't slept for a few days, and I was being told about something that happened to one of my friends, and it got me down. At the time I'd been scratching at my arm absently. I zoned out completely, and the thing that brought me back was smelling blood all of the sudden. I looked down, and there was blood all over my arm, the hand that had been scratching, and my lap. I cleaned it up, and tried to ignore it. Next time it happened was only a few weeks later. First week of Grade 8. I was in Science class, and I just started scratching very rapidly at my wrist. I needed, for some reason- to make myself bleed. After I opened up the skin, and my arm was about to bleed, I went to the washroom and continued the job there. After I got a few droplets of blood, I pulled my sleeve up and covered the open wound. That night, I had to rip the fabric off my wrist; the blood and ooze had dried and hardened. From then on, every few days I would scratch myself until I took off a few layers of skin. I liked doing it this way, more than when I had cut myself with the Exacto knife in grade seven. I liked it because the burn was almost unbearable, it scarred magnificently, and I've always liked the look of big open wounds like that. I scratched all the skin off the name that was carved into my hand, at one point. I just suddenly couldn't stand the fact that I had a name on my body, and every other name that I've put on myself since then has been covered up by different scars. People started to notice when I was coming to school every week with a new area of my left arm bandaged. At that point, I was still doing all of them close up to my wrist and hand, I felt invincible, like nobody was allowed to ask me why I was hurting myself.

I started going to see the school counselor, because many of my teachers threatened to call home, if I didn't. The only explanation I could give her was that I feel guilt for so many things. Things I've done, things others have done, the list goes on. I kept at scratching my skin off until around November. Maybe December, even. It slowly developed to using anything I could to get skin off. I particularly enjoyed using rubber erasers. I'm not sure when exactly the changeover happened, but I started to use razor blades. I think that it was just wanting a fresh change in the type of pain I was giving myself. The blood that came so easily was also one of the reasons I liked the razors. The cuts moved down to my left leg for a while, but the main focus was still my left arm.

I don't cut anymore, and I haven't for about a year. There have been some lapses, of course. More often to using my nails than to using razor blades. I know that for many people, it's not simply deciding to stop, but it was for me. Throughout the whole period that I was cutting and doing any sort of self harm, my closest friends had only been affecting me negatively. Talking to them was only about depression, and death. Around January/February of last year, I started getting close to the girl that is still my best friend today. I think I mainly just realized that I didn't need to be doing all this, on a personal level, it was more to show that I was tuff, like all my friends. I wanted to have a bad life, I wanted to have bad experiences. Talking to somebody who wasn't into all that though really set me straight.

Being done and done with cutting, the main feeling I have when I think about it is regret. Not so much that I did it, but regret over the fact that I wasn't very smart about it. Because of where all my scars are placed, I can't wear t-shirts. I'm not brave enough to wear a t-shirt, rather. I could wear them if I wanted, but I can't handle the looks and questions people give me. I'm still not a strong enough person to stand up for myself, I guess. Even the few on my hands get odd reactions from people, never mind the purple and white scar tissue taking up so much of my left forearm. I also sort of regret how much I bought into the whole scene. I convinced myself and everybody around me that I was addicted to it, and that I was probably going to commit suicide at any moment. I forced myself to turn into a jaded, bitter girl, so I could fit in better with my morbid friends. Some days I find myself becoming that person again, and I hate it.

I can't tell you whether or not the whole thing has been a good experience, or a bad one. What I can tell you though, is that nobody can tell you why you cut. You can't be diagnosed with anything that will justify cutting yourself. It's something you need to decide for yourself, and maybe some of you will realize that there really isn't any reason for what you're doing it. Maybe you like it, maybe you need to do it to cope. Maybe it's just because you're riding a trend. Who is anybody to say which reasons are valid and which reasons aren't? I don't think it's a big deal that I have self inflicted scars, but I'm still forced to keep them hidden because most people do indeed think it's a big deal.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 25 Jan. 2006
in Ritual

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