In the past, I used to cut myself. It started when I was perhaps 12 years old, and found that people I looked up to the most (badass movie characters) had scars. Scars made it look like you’ve been in fights and survived. So I carved a cool symbol into my arm. I was not understood. Perhaps I would be better understood if I was born in a culture where this type of thing is mandatory for girls and boys transitioning into adulthood.
Later, I did a few home made tattoos and cut myself some more. There was once a time where I cut myself because a friend of mine cut herself. I couldn’t help her suffering, so this was the only thing I could come up with – showing COMpassion in the most direct way (and get cool scars, all in one). It was, at the time, a big value of mine – to behave a certain way when your friends and loved ones are in trouble. You can say it was a part of my “honor code”. I now think it was a stupid way to act, and my values changed.
Unfortunately, this was also not understood. A doctor saw my scars and made a big deal out of it. When he asked why I cut myself, I made the mistake of bringing up my depressed cutter friend in front of him, which brought me to tears. Even though I wasn’t suffering because of her depression anymore, her condition still brought me a lot of grief and I couldn’t talk about her without getting a little emotional… Fortunately he didn’t attempt to force me into any treatment, and agreed, at the end of our talk, that I seem fine and able to handle life.
But since then, I stopped cutting for coolness. There are two reasons. One, people jump to conclusions that I must have done it because of depression, or it’s a cry for help. I’ve never been suicidal. But I have been angry in my teen years, and I’ve always been a bit of a weirdo. I always liked and enjoyed things that make me look like there is something wrong with me (the latter is a side effect, not the goal!). For example, my omega fetish – I like awkward guys who can’t get laid and fat basement dwellers. I’m a fan of horror movies and all things dark, too. I even think Jabba the Hutt is cute, and one of my favorite Star Wars characters. All that stuff is really, really cool.
My second reason to stop is that I have a boyfriend now, and I don’t think men enjoy big ugly scars on a woman. I might find them awesome, but I shouldn’t make more of them. There was a time in my life when wanting to look like a man-eating slime monster seemed like a really cool thing,
but not anymore.
What I did to myself was a result of my overly active imagination and my personality. As a teenager, I didn’t think far enough to understand that this could affect how people saw me, negatively. Perhaps I shouldn’t have done it, but I can hardly blame myself – I still have that same active imagination today, which I value. It’s just that this valuable thing gave me both artistic ability and made me look less presentable.
However, I just don’t want to hide. I can fake normalcy in polite company, or for a job, but don’t want to go farther than absolutely necessary. I’ve been going back in forth in life, alternatively choosing to be true to myself and to be more socially acceptable. Both have their disadvatages. But now I have scars, tattoos, and I’m dating Eivind Berge – perhaps all these are an accidentally-on-purpose method of preventing myself from going back to faking?
To end this post, here’s a famous quote:
“One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny. “
P.S.: Cutting yourself is dangerous if you don’t sterilize the razor and cut way too deep, or over bigger blood vessels. That is the third reason why I stopped. I got smarter with age, and more paranoid about things I try for fun. I never got infections, blood loss or anything, but it CAN happen.