Copyright, Rowena

I’ve been cutting for about 2 years now, and it’s odd because I don’t have a traumatic life. I was never abused, my parents never had a divorce, no one close to me died. So why do I cut? I don’t know. I do it to see the blood. The pain doesn’t help me; I have a low pain threshhold and it hurts. But I love the sight of my blood. I love knowing that I’m fucked up enough to do that to myself. I see it as physical proof that I’m not normal, that I’m not okay.

The first time I cut was in my freshman year of high school. I had heard about self-mutilation before, in magazine articles, I think, but it had never occurred to me to try it. Until finals in January. I was stressed out already, and the transisiton into high school was not going well. I had been depressed for awhile, but after studying for classes I thought I’d never pass, I just lost it. I wanted to do something drastic, so I cut my arms with a nail file. It hurt, which shocked me, because I had read about people who didn’t feel pain when they did it, and thought I wouldn’t either. But the cuts bled. And they scarred. They weren’t deep, but I seem to scar very easily (not a good thing for a cutter). I went a while without cutting, and seemed to be doing a lot better once school got out for the summer.

Then in September, I really became messed up.

My boyfriend and I had been together for about a month and a half, and we were (in my eyes) very close. School started, and I was depressed again. Sophomore year appeared to be no better than freshman year. September 11 was my birthday, which my boyfriend was very well aware of. On that day, things went wrong from start to finish. The big thing being, my boyfriend forgot my birthday. Except that I don’t believe he forgot it. He said nothing about it all day, not even “happy birthday”. I came home, locked myself in the bathroom and cried as I used the nail file on my leg. Those cuts looked like hell, and I had to wrap my leg up, so it wouldn’t bleed onto my jeans. Later my best friend called, and I told her about my boyfriend (but not about the cuts) and she called him and yelled at him. He then called me, and apologized for being such a jerk, though I don’t think I believe him. I then made the mistake of telling him what I did. I should have known he wouldn’t react the way other people had; friends of mine who had done it before and understood. He said nothing then, but as my depression increased, and the cuts scarred and I told him I wanted to die I felt so miserable, he told his mother. Who in turn called my counselor at school. Before I knew it, I had been dragged into her office and subjected to an embarrassing interrogation. If I had wanted help I’d have gotten it. I told him because I wanted him to care. Instead he betrayed me without even telling me first. Then I had to calm down the counselor and assure her that I didn’t hide in my room with a razor every day and cut, cut, cut. It was one of the worst experiences I’ve gone through. Now I can’t stand her. She made me sign a paper saying I’d stop cutting, and she said she wouldn’t tell my parents. (Though I found out later that she had told them I was “depressed”.) I did stop cutting. For several months actually. I did it out of love for my boyfriend, who had broken up with me about a week after this hell. I still loved him and knew he’d be disappointed if he knew I still cut. So I stopped.

But nothing lasts, and one night in the summer before my junior year, I cut again. I was stressed out and angry about something, so I took it out with an X-acto knife. I can’t remember when I switched from the nail file to the blade. The knife was sharper, and I liked it better. Knowing that I had broken that contract was the most satisfying feeling in the world. Knowing that I had control of my body and could cut if I wanted to and no one could stop me was such a great feeling. Since then, I’ve cut off and on for about a year. It comes in cycles. I’ll be okay for awhile, and then for a week or so I’ll be cutting every day. Little things can set me off. But once I get that urge, it just rises up in me so that I have to cut. Or scratch, which is worse, because fingernail cuts hurt like hell, and look much worse. Some of my worst scars are from my fingernails. I’ve also started to use kitchen knives, and soon I’ll buy some razor blades.

The truth is, I don’t want to stop. I like cutting. I like seeing myself bleed, and I like the lines of cuts and scars. I can hide them pretty well, and they really don’t look that bad. Also, I’ve been accepted with it. My current boyfriend is also a cutter, so he understands me very well. He knows I can’t stop any more than he can, and he’ll let me know he hates for me to hurt myself, but he won’t freak out on me. I owe him so much. I can’t explain why I do this, or why it works for me. But it’s a part of me, as much as any talent or trait or personality quirk is. I don’t mind being fucked up, because it’s just so reassuring to know that I am, and that I’m not alone.


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