I was 16 when I started carving hate words into my flesh. So glad I wised up. The inner hate I harvested caused physical wounds. Real pain. I reveled in the pain. Enjoyed it. The pain seemed to make the scabs of a torn soul disappear.
I put the on my long sleeve shirts to cover the wounds and a smile on my face, as if everything was ok. I hid my dark secrets. I hid from mirrors and as well. The mirrors reflected truth. I could see demons playing in my hair, when I peaked in the mirror to wash my face.
Outbreaks were sporadic. I was set off by certain memories, rejection, or if my feelings were hurt. Often times when I was angry I’d put wholes in the wall by socking them or kicking at them. My tantrums turned into somewhat of a teen opera.
I was experiencing emotions I couldn’t explain. I hated my surroundings and my façade at school was becoming a task to uphold. The troubles of youth trying to fit in with, and the pressure of potential social demise could drive a person mad.
The words etched in my skin were always the same. “I HATE YOU!” In all caps, underlined twice for effect. It burned as I drove the hot safety pin across my flesh. Continually, I dragged the pointed carver into my skin frantically and deviously as blood oozed from my pores. My rage was soothed as the warm blood began to pour from my arms. Like a vampire to blood. It was a high I couldn’t explain. Watching the blood and the skin break made me feel as if the problems were solving themselves. I didn’t remember the reason for my tantrum much after because my thoughts were clouded with the pain of my cutting experience.
The bandage was soaked with blood. I had to be sure to change it often. I was fearful of anyone finding out of my self mutilation. People of color tend to think that this type of behavior is limited to other races. We may have different cultural traditions and there are in fact ways in which other cultures and races deal with stress and the like. However, we have since crossed race lines, that we would have never expected to share.
So for those readers confused as to where this is going, The cutter isn’t a white thing. It has no color. Self mutilation is a cry for help. I didn’t know how to expressively speak to my loved ones about my feelings or insecurities because , those types of things weren’t discussed openly in our family. The communication barrier had yet to be broken.
The cutting became a ritual. It was my coping mechanism. I began using my feet as the place for pain. I would pick at the toe nail digging deep under the nail, claiming to have an ingrown toe nail. I’d make sure to take Tylenol so that I could make it through my operation. Picking at the scab gave me peace reliving the pain and watching the pus to reveal that it had indeed become infected. It hurt like hell to walk. The pain was like a hurt me, hurt me feel good sensation.
Sometimes as I walked, I’d put pressure down on the toes I’d operated on to ensure that I could feel pain, or make the infection ooze so that I could later pick at the scab.
Disturbing I know, and it wasn’t until my late 20’s that this ritual was put to rest. Discussions with medical professionals didn’t help the soar subject of self esteem and body image. I was harboring secrets of torment during my childhood, which later grew to haunt my abilities to form healthy adult relationships.
You see, how the development of the child psyche can affect the brain and its development. Our very developmental processes and environments in which we live and grow effect our learning, and ability’s to cope with stress. Even, just the day to day struggles. I don’t need a psychology doctorate or medical book to convey this message to you because it is something I have learned and experienced. Even though my educational background is in psychology. I only took on the major of the mind to understand my own.
You know you can’t keep ignoring your feelings. Feelings of anger can foster into rage and develop into plans of premeditated crimes of passion.
I vowed to my husband that I would never pick up a sharp object, with the intent to carve words into my skin. I vowed this same oath to myself. I took up writing again as my release. I drew for the first time in 3 years. My father had passed. My love for the arts died along with him. My art work was lost in storage that I didn’t bother to retrieve. I had lost all use of it.
Today, I find joy in many of my suppressed talents. I opened my heart to the world by letting out the demons I hid in my closet so that I could heal. You know when you make an issue public that is the first step to healing and letting go. Its when you hold it in that you give room for continued practice of these unhealthy behaviors.
Many of us are afraid to reveal our inner most feared secrets because we are afraid that we will be judged. Well you will. People judge you whether it’s a headline or subtext. The cutter in me threatens to peak and rain havoc on my soul. I have to look at my children’s faces and I begin to pray immediately. It’s a sickness, an addiction. An addiction can take many shapes and forms. My name is Aija and I am a cutter, with whom is addicted to pain. Pain in which I believe to suppress, the emotions of my mental state of mind.
My cure to this pain is journaling. In this journal is my diary. This is the way I can at least release my emotions and learn to let go. A healthy reaction to anger and fear.