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Self-discovery in cutting.

My experiences with cutting began over 7 years ago. Back then I was young, I didn't fully understand why I cut, and every single person who found out about it kept telling me how wrong it was. I never quite understood why it was so wrong. They always described it as damaging to myself and hurtful to my loved ones. I was told it's a poor way to cope with life's trials.

Well, now as I'm embarking on adulthood, I can see just how misinformed most of those people were. It frightened them and worried them, but for illogical reasons. Being young, I naturally reacted to all of the negative attention, and I tried my best to quit. I would succeed sometimes, but I always went back to it in a matter of a couple months or just weeks.

Almost two years ago I got my first tattoo. It's the word "love" written on my wrist, and I got it to commemorate my decision to never cut or harm my body ever again. Since I got that tattoo, I went the longest I'd ever gone without cutting. The tattoo held some kind of power in my mind, and it helped me to resist the urge quite astonishingly well.

However, around a week ago on a Saturday, I was reaching my wits end. I lost the motivation to live, I couldn't feel any emotion, and I was becoming a shallow, uncompassionate person. The only feeling I ever felt was an occasional jolting pain in my chest that was nearly unbearable. I couldn't function and I wanted to die. The only thing keeping me alive was the knowledge that I have people who love me and I refused to remove someone from their lives.

That night, I realized that it didn't matter anymore--keeping my promise to never cut again. I'd lost all hope in my life and I had absolutely nowhere to turn. So for the first time in years I got out a blade. I'd recently been browsing BMEZine, and some peoples' stories opened my eyes to the possibility of making cutting a positive experience. So I decided this time I wouldn't go into it feeling out of control and shameful. This time I was going to embrace the feelings it brought me, and I wasn't going to be ashamed after it was all done.

My room was dark, and I had candles lit. These days it's easier for me to do it in peace and take my time because I live in an apartment and my roommates don't bother me like my parents did. I drug the blade along the skin on my arm, above the elbow so it would be easily hidden. At first I wasn't used to the sting so I held back. But on the third or fourth try, I pushed down harder. Then the old familiar feelings of years ago rushed back. The brief stinging, the strange sensation of my blood pooling and dripping across my skin. And then the rush in my chest. For the first time in a couple months, I felt something positive and good. It was just as jolting, but it felt nothing like the pain I kept feeling lately. I closed my eyes and relished in the emotion.

I allowed the blood to drip onto my glass desk, and I found the image to be quite artistic. So I held a candle underneath the glass and snapped some photos of the bright red droplets contrasting against the darkness. Now when I look at my favorite picture of the bunch, I don't feel embarrassed or ashamed of what I did. I look at it and see a massive turning point in my life.

The day after I did this, I felt incredibly different than that Saturday. It was like I'd found myself again. I cared once again about my future and my goals and my life. I felt compassion and love again. I felt physical energy. I wasn't numb anymore, and the emotions I felt weren't painful and incapacitating. I felt normal again.

The tattoo on my wrist will obviously always be there, but the meaning has shifted in a way. The core value that I've learned in life which helped inspire the tattoo is that I always must love myself before I can possibly love anyone else. Love is the most important thing to me, and without it life has no meaning. That value is still very alive in me, but what I see as "loving myself" has now changed. Cutting is not counteractive to caring for myself, it is a way to care for myself. Forcing myself to abstain from it only leads to hopelessness and worthlessness.

It's a lesson I've learned over and over in recent years--society's general opinion on any given activity or self-identity is not the best thing to go off of when choosing my actions. I was raised in a Christian home, and I was a Christian for many years. After contemplating what I really felt and believed, I became a non-religious person. I was taught my whole life that homosexuality is a choice and a sin. Then I learned I was queer, and I couldn't change that. So I wasn't going to hide it my whole life and live unfulfilled for my family's sake. I was told for years that cutting is dangerous and wrong. Now I see that it made people uncomfortable, but in reality it's safer than many practices people participate in to experience feeling and adrenaline. Not only that, but it's personal and it doesn't need to affect those around me. I greatly look forward to more times of release and self-discovery.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 11 Nov. 2008
in Ritual

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