The Art of Cutting……yourself

Dear Cutter,

Welcome to the club. We have many different tools you can use.

You are creative! But you are not unique. You see, this thing you are doing to yourself, to your body, to your mind, is very artsy and is very real.

According to Merriam-Webster, Art is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.

It takes skill to do what you do. It takes power, and self-control.

It is control. It is power. It is dominance. Of yourself, of your mind, of your spirit, and of your body.  But it does not leave you beautiful. It leaves you more broken.

Where are you cutting?

The first time I cut myself I was probably a teenager. I don’t have much recollection of it except I knew that I started to do it in High school. But it didn’t start as cutting. When I was younger, about 10, I used to hit myself with my fist. I punched myself in the head with my fist. Slapped myself on my face.

I learned where the temple was in science class. I wanted to hit that and create an explosion in my brain. I wanted to be brain dead. Helpless-so that I would either die, or someone would have to take proper care of me.

When that didn’t happen, I moved to better and more creative ways to make myself feel again. It wasn’t about the pain. It was about knowing that I could feel something.

That I was allowed to feel and know that what I felt would be validated.

So I moved to greater things. Pinching became the new thrill and form of escape. I used my nails to pinch myself. At first it was surface, and simple. No pain associated really. Just something I could look back on and admire. It was my handiwork…I was my own art project.

At least something was listening to me.

Eventually, as time wore on, the surface pinching got dull and I felt the effects were not enough. So I started to dig to the point of drawing blood.

You see, drawing blood meant a hole or a scratch was now visible. I needed to see what I was actually doing. I got to a point in my life that I needed to be reminded of the pain that ran so deep. Pinching to the point of drawing blood meant that maybe someone would ask “what’s that?” and I got to choose to tell them or not.

I would have the power to answer.

Pinching and digging my nails into my skin meant the breeze that blew across it would leave a bit of a sting…reminding me that I can feel again. That I have the right to feel.

But I had to give myself this right. I had to remind myself that I had this ability to use all of my senses. For so long, they were oppressed, and held down.

When pinching became obsolete, and people stopped asking me “what’s that? or what do you have on your _____(name a body part that is visible to the world), I graduated to using a paper clip to impale my arms, legs, shoulders, and thighs.

The inner pain was so much stronger than the outer pain.

And  no one asked….because even though these parts were visible, I dressed accordingly.

Scissors became effective because the idea of using scissors was total sophistication in my mind. I was afraid of using a knife, or a Gillette. I was afraid of giving one side all the power.

So, one day scissors destroyed part of my face. I thought this would at least put myself out there. It is hard to hide your face completely.

“Holy Shit, what happened?” By now I had used one of my adoptive father’s animal gauze to cover it and use a bit of the white surgical tape to keep the gauze in place.

“Oh, it is just a bad pimple”, I would say. And no one cared to check to see if  a pimple could really require surgical tape and gauze. No one wondered why the gauze covered so much surface area.

They shrugged it off.

Not caring.

Their job was too important. Their work too important. Their mission too important.

Finally, I gathered my artistic tools I had used over a few years and had a pow wow. I told them that they were no longer useful and I had to step it up.

The scissors got real upset and actually broke apart. I was happy!

Now I could use one side, its sharpness like that of a knife. I was ready now.

I had finally found the tool that would get me noticed. I was crying out to them, and yet they were not hearing me. They didn’t question, they didn’t wonder.

They didn’t care.

The knife gave me more relief than any other tool. First, because of the amount of pain it caused. Second because of how large or small I could carefully create my incisions. Third because of how much control I had over my own body, my own self. When I cut, I used ice to numb the pain. At times, before I cut, I would use a piece of ice to numb the area. I had the control. I could do it my way!

Where I cut was my art. I think it is the art of every cutter. Where. Where are we cutting that does not draw too much attention, but draws just enough? I began with my calf. I have the mark to this day. I gradually moved to my wrists.

How I cut was a skill. I think it is a skill for every cutter. We can choose the direction we want to cut in. We can choose how deep, or shallow the cut will be.

How we cut can often determine what we want in the end.

For me, I didn’t want to die as a result of cutting. I wanted to live. I wanted to feel that these shallow and deep incisions; these disorganized pokes, these spread-out fist beatings was the ONLY thing that made me feel real, human, and also alive.

Cutting for me was an art. But the creative part is being able to share my story in hopes that all you cutters out there can know that we are listening, we do understand and we want you to find a different art.

We want you to rise above self-inflicting pain, and know that this club we created, is no longer accepting members. This club is now dismantled.

This is an ex-club.

And we are Recovering Cutters.




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