Cutting feels good. Cutting gives me a release. Only one other person in this world knows I do it. And I don’t do it that often, but when I do, it is needed.
Like yesterday, as the tsunami of my life crested and fell upon shore. I needed something to diffuse the anger, the resentment and the bitter taste from my mouth. So I went to the kitchen, found my favorite knife, and decorated my skin in with a few slashes – not enough to make blood flow. Not enough to still have the marks when my partner visits. But enough to release some of the pain and frustration I was dealing with.
I look at my arm this morning – the cuts on my legs didn’t really last – and I see a checkerboard pattern. I like it. It reminds me of struggle, of pain, and the release such a fucked up method of self-abuse can give a person. I am far from perfect, although I have been taught to project that facade whenever I am around anyone else. So these markings, like the other scars on my body – from different events throughout my life unrelated to cutting – make me feel empowered. As if I have a say in what I am doing with my life. As if I have a say in the direction I take, regardless of what the herd may be telling me what I “should” do.
Will I ever tell my shrink or therapist? No. Will I ever tell my partner? No. Nor will I ever admit to a family member or someone who might notice over the next few days. There is only one person who can understand and she knows who she is.
There is a part of me that didn’t want to stop until I had carved a line over every inch of my skin. I just wanted to feel any pain other than what was happening in my head. I know it’s part of this sickness, this disease and I accept that.
It is akin to when this first exploded in my head. I was sitting on the couch in my home in the southwest and I wanted to peel the skin from my entire body. That’s when I knew it had become really bad. And I am close right now to that feeling. And so I found a footing, a way to begin the process of releasing the pain. You may not understand it or you may. It doesn’t matter. What matters is what it does for me.
I think the last time I seriously cut myself I was over a decade ago. As usual, life had become too overwhelming and I needed a release. It was amazing to me to see the artwork a simple knife could do. It was relieving to have that moment and then another, as the blade slid across my skin, to have a second of release from the pain I felt inside and abuse the outside of myself instead. To change my focus.
It is certainly not something I condone. I understand why I do it. It is the disease. It is an escape. It will not fix problems – it might cause more. But for a moment, it is all that matters. And I hope to god it is the closest I ever get to slitting my wrists. I would rather go with pills, falling asleep. Or drowning in ice cold water. Or through hypothermia at the Island in the winter as I lay above where I buried the remainder of my husband’s ashes.
I still cannot forget when I was 16 and went to visit my favorite sister for the weekend, and she showed me the razor blade, told me her plan, made me realize that life was no longer a fairy tale, but a very dark place that we all may reside in.
I resent her for that. Yes, I am grateful she reached out to me, though if she was going to go through with it, there was nothing I could do. But that was the day my youth ended, and I realized that being an adult was a much greater weight to carry. Over the years I watched as she became severely anorexic, bulimic, addicted to laxatives and tried multiple times to kill herself. I don’t know if she really is any “better”, though she wears that mask well. She has been there through this soap opera that has become our lives with our parents. She has settled, finally, into her marriage after 20 years and numerous affairs. But I cannot blame her. We have similar DNA. I, too, have had affairs. I, too, have fallen numerous times. But somehow I can forgive her for her sins. Yet, I always feel she continues to judge me for my transgressions.
Maybe because she is older than I am. She feels “wiser”? Maybe she hates me, because for so long I was the golden child of the family. She considered herself my second mother, and if I deviate from what she expects from me, it does not follow her path for my future.
But I am sick of the micromanagement, from her, from my partner, from co-workers and anyone else in my life. I just want to LIVE as I see fit. If that means I cut myself up, who gives a damn? If I create something amazing – wonderful. If I spiral into a depression that takes me into the depths of the ocean and I cannot reach the surface than it is my right to decide if that is it – the end.
I am tired. Of all of them. Their expectations. I should not be this age and still trying to run on the hamster wheel making them all happy. All I truly care about is making myself happy, because until I do that, nothing will change…
© Sorrow & Kindness