‘Tis the season for carving pumpkins, but this post is actually about something more serious and not talked about nearly enough. I get it, for those of us who do and have done it, it’s a very personal private thing; and for those who haven’t, it’s scary and impossible to understand. It’s just as impossible to describe to someone who has never been there. Have you ever been so pissed, but not able to do anything about it, so you clinch your fingers together? Or jam your fingernails into palms? That distraction, that pain that breaks your subconscious, that’s the closest thing to a
normal person getting to cutting.
I’m not going to lie, I miss it. I miss it like some adults miss being able to stay up all night and still work the next day, or being able to eat the all you can eat tacos without testing the toilet in the middle of the night. It was a part of who I was. I think about it every now and then, just taking the pairing knife while I’m cutting tomatoes and just drawing it along my wrist or arm or my fingers; the sharp, but somehow still dull, pain as my flesh would split open and the warmth of the blood that would trickle out. Sometimes it was about control, actually being able to have control over something for a change. I haven’t cut myself on purpose in many years, not that I haven’t thought about it. I know that’s not the way to handle stress or my feelings, but I miss it.
I’m not saying that it’s easy, or that everyone who feels like carving should stop. That is NOT what this post is about. I’m just trying to put into words what I could never explain to my own mom and other family and friends that never understood why I wore the long sleeves and had bandages on my arms, why I couldn’t seem to stop hurting myself. It’s not about wanting to die, as so many people think, it’s a very common misconception. Yes, I as well as others, think of death often and have contemplated suicide, but that has nothing to do with cutting. Cutting or carving or whatever you want to call it is about being able to compensate for the pain on the inside so that we don’t have to die.
There used to be this thing that I would do when I was being yelled at or someone was talking at me about my depression and how I could think myself out of it where I would grab my forefinger with my thumb and squeeze it to my palm. I did that so much that the joint is actually flatter and more flexible than the others. As I grew older I found other ways to hurt myself if the need ever arose. I have multiple ear piercings that I’ve gauged out, I get tattoos whenever I have the money, I pick scabs, pop zits (which I have a lot of), pull the cuticles and hang nails off my fingernails, and sometimes when I get into a daze I’ll poke my fingers with needles or pens or staples or whatever else might be in hand. It’s just part of who I am, and I’m OK with that. There’s little that can be done about it.
Cutting is sort of the darker even less talked about part of something that is already taboo. Self harm isn’t something most people advertise. Things are a lot different now with social media and places where people feel they can be safe to express themselves for who they really are. Instagram and Tumblr are just two places where you can find beautiful posts about cutting, what it’s like, and how it makes them feel.
It’s opening the door to allowing people to understand better, and it’s bringing those of us who do it together in a way that wasn’t likely to happen before. I know it sounds super cheesy, but talking about things, getting them out there and not keeping them all to yourself really does help and makes all the difference. Especially in a supportive place (which is not always the case with the internet) where you can find like minded people who you can talk to honestly and without fear or judgement or repercussions. For those of you that haven’t gotten to that point yet or are still ashamed of how you feel or that you hurt yourself, that’s fine too. What you’re feeling is
normal, and you progress at your own pace. Believe me, 17 years ago I never thought I would have made it to my 30’s, let alone that I would be writing about all of these things for the whole world to read. Mostly because the internet was barely a thing, and blogs and Facebook and Tumblr and all of those other things didn’t even exist yet!
Honestly, I feel a little bit like a liar in this post because I don’t really have any scars of my own to share. I heal so well, and I guess never carved deep enough for them to scar like everyone else’s seemed to. I was always jealous; I wanted battle scars too. Now I’m sort of grateful for my mutant ability to heal; in the professional world it saves me from having to cover up everywhere and from having awkward explanatory conversations. I’ve been lucky in my life that things have turned out the way they have.
I’m not sure I’ve made the most sense on this topic tonight; I’m not supposed to be doing anything strenuous with my brain today. I was put under anesthesia for an endoscopy this morning and was told to rest. But I’m trying to keep this up and I don’t want to have excuses for not writing. (A minor update, I had this procedure done to see why I can’t breath and my throat closes up sometimes when I eat. There was too much scaring and swelling in my esophagus for them to do a biopsy, but I’ve been given something for my acid reflux and go back for another in 2 months where we’ll be able to tell more.) I’m really not feeling well right now and I have to lie down, so I’m going to stop it here, my apologies; if anyone would like to hear more about anything just comment or send me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I’m sorry.
Never be ashamed of who you are; love you awesome nerds!