Mad dogs and Englishmen
I go to a terribly proper English boarding school, a shining example of handheld tradition, 500 years of it. I also have a horrific, deep, deep fear of becoming a cliché. These two factors are rather interesting bedfellows. I see other students appealing to Daddy for early entrance to the trust fund, or at least some new Ralph Lauren because I spilt beer on the one you gave me for Christmas, really really sorry Daddy can I least have a Mercedes? and then look at myself with a 70% scholarship and the remainder paid for by a generous donor and I thank fck I'm not one of them. Ha ha. But then I look at teenagers following an alternative route the world over, depressed, angsty young things, cutting thinning puking bile-filled young things, with a lack of love for anyone but themselves and their friends... even the straight-edge kids, and the vegans, the hippies, the indie kids. They're all angry at Them, even though (perhaps because) they don't know who They are; I'm just confus ed by them because I don't who I am. I preferred teachers - they're there to help you instead of mould you, in truth. Although they are talking sht.
I pinballed around for a bit, paralyzed by any social contact because I'm terrified of being drawn into a mould, and acting a new me: the weird kid, the guy who's silent, motionless one day then rabid the next, fun but never close, overacting every single day and never the same part. It began to come true though. I developed odd sleeping patterns, periods of paranoia (no, I did no drugs at this stage). Basically my entire mental and emotional existence began to fluctuate beyond my control. Combined with the increasing hydraulic pressure of scholarship classes at an all-boys school?... I would wake up unable to go outside, unable to face light, unable to speak to anyone whatsoever, unable to leave my room because of what might be outside. Another day I would suddenly feel metal inside my chest, and stop and stare become entirely motionless and emotionless for an hour or two... then by the evening, I would be dancing on the tables, interrupting the pool games, eating the chalk. It was like shortened, intensified bipolarity.
That was a too-long introduction... sorry. My point is, about 3 years ago, I'm fourteen. It's evening, I'm dead inside, running on empty and staring at the mirror. I remember looking at myself, and thinking: I am afraid of everything and have tried everything... so why don't I go back to the simplest? If I can't see you, you can't see me. I curl up when I'm scared anyway... why not just erase myself?
I hadn't cut my nails in a while, and had nothing else to do it with, so I put my fingers to my face and just started to rub, then to scratch, to scratch and scratch and scratch. I didn't care what would happen, I just wanted to disappear. Eventually it reddened, then as the skin was pared from my cheeks and jaw, it began to bleed, and I could taste it and see it, and I was grinning like a maniac. It was fricking beautiful, and even writing this I feel proper conduct begging me not to say that but it was. The blood wasn't much, it never is from scratching, but it was more than I'd seen, and I felt giddily excited with my risque experimentation. My face, that unidentifiable frightened object, was gradually disappearing, and I liked it. When I stopped, I had a glistening red burnt-looking openness drawn down from both ears to both sides of the mouth.
But that wasn't what I focussed on... What I realised was that I felt good. Because I truly felt like I didn't exist. I had achieved nothingness, even if it was just a glimpse of it. I wasn't down, or up, or anywhere, or anything. And when gradually I returned to existence, I was in the middle-ground; no extreme emotion, no irrationality.
I started hurting myself in whatever way I could find when I had an attack - too happy or too sad, I didn't care, I wanted some semblance of normalcy. I would dismantle a pair of scissors or a razor or pencil sharpener, or find a lighter; or even better have a cigarette and put it out between my fingers or on my arm. And frequently I just went straight for the fingers.
I stopped playing rugby to better hide the scars (and also cause I hated it). Those first scars attracted a lot of questions, and I managed to pass it off as an allergic reaction to something... yes, of course it was. It was my reaction to myself, to where I was, to the fact that I was losing myself. I still get attacks, but I now have a method to handle them, see.
I've realised there's a sacredness, a transcendency achieved by self-destruction which nothing else even comes close to. It's as if for a brief moment the physical plane is cast aside in this action of damage, and the metal and emotional planes have a sudden swathe of breathing space. I think that's why those engaged in body mods (which, at their core, are physically destructive, even if they create something new and beautiful) so often refer to it as art - To create something beautiful, you must destroy something else... that's what art is. I've begun to connect the scars now, and to cut shapes so that there's some greater meaning attached to them once they're done. But this still belongs under ritual, not scarification. It's a necessary thing. I need the scars.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Sept. 2008