Copyright, Gozy

I self harm, and it’s not pretty. But I’m not suicidal. Now, I believe it’s become a solution in a way.

In the beginning, it might have been a cry for help. However, as the years went on, the cutting still released the tension, but I began to lose the bad after-feeling associated with it. The scars no longer trouble me. The lines, diagonal, vertical and hatched onto my arms and belly. The star I carved on my arm, which I thought, “oh, it’ll look cool”. The words, “always second best”, and “I love Fiona T?” scrawled in my best (or worst) left-handed style.

The first time it happened, took great determination, and I guess a lot of emotion and adrenaline. No matter how upset I was, and get, it always hurt. There’s times when all the tension, and the hurt, emotion and loneliness, numbs the pain like an ice pack.

The hiding really bothered me; the effect of me changing my shell appearance, at first drove me to be more reclusive. My friends backed away, and still do, because they don’t understand and I have still not to this day had the guts to talk to them about it. Eventually, I got fed up wearing the long sleeve t-shirts, and began to wear what I liked.

Even though I felt my friends were distant because of my habit, I always had certain people. They maybe weren’t the same people, but the majority of the time, there was somebody that I could share the pain, the mutilation with.

Recently, like this week, there have been a few articles concerning a girl from near here who killed herself in 2001. It really makes me agitated when people assume I’m suicidal. Yes, I know that there are plenty of people who change their bodies in this way, and feel suicidal. But it should never be a “cut and paste” label, one case of smoke without fire? Back to the girl — I cut the articles out, to keep. In my view, there is something almost artful in self-harm and suicide. The beautiful expression of their true feelings. Often, it is a shame when people hide inside a shell, a disguise. At the other end of the spectrum, there are the ones like me who let it show, very graphically and often as a final statement. However prominent, some people still do not recognise the turmoil they suffered.

As of yet, I have never known anyone directly who has committed suicide. Perhaps if it happens to me it will help my understanding, broaden my views, make me more aware. Nothing substitutes experience, even in grim areas.

My uncle is a coroner — maybe he has seen too many dead bodies? And I know those close to me, or reading this, would say, it should never happen to anyone. As a child, if you don’t fall over on you’re face, you don’t know what to expect if it happens when you hit twenty. If you don’t have a teenage relationship, you don’t realise fancying a girl at thirty may be lust. Underage drinking, drug use — all really bad habits, but they teach you a lesson — or they have the ability to at least.

I’ve met a few self-harmers though. There’s an instant, almost magical connection — for some reason, I just knew they did it, and noticed them. I built up friendships, relationships, all around this sharing of this disfigurement. That’s such a negative term, because it’s merely modifying the appearance. Surely however strongly I feel, I would never try to make myself look worse? Self-harm teaches you lessons too. It helps me to become strong. It’s made me open my eyes to how I hurt people around me, and made me aware of the mistakes in my life. Well, a few of them.

Everybody always says, “It’s what’s inside that counts”. I know myself that I’m sensitive, and like the company of others. The people around me, they see the physical “warning” signs, and so it takes longer to get close.

From my experience with my body alteration, I’m beginning to realise that what I seek is a balance. I don’t want to eradicate the self-harm completely, not just now. However, I never want to get into a situation I cannot handle because of my actions. I’m striving to create an equilibrium between the outside the emotional and me me.

There’s no way I would say, if you feel hurt, or low, try this. I know a lot of people who do the same as me, but I know in my heart it works for me. However successful it is in calming me, it is still not a nice habit. I’ve accepted my body (most of the time) and the furrows, cracks and ditches that adorn it.

For me, my scars are my safety blanket. I look at them they remind me of the good (when I stopped long enough to let them fade) and bad times (when they got deep or infected). The most important thing for me, was that I found a tailor made solution to my woes. Or I morphed a method/activity, into something that I accepted as a solution.

I’ll always carry the scars, inside and out, but I’m no longer scared. I understand why, what, and how it happened. And I feel strangely comfortable with my “problem”.


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