Trigger Warning for cutting and suicide.
Secrets lurk behind my eyes
But you can’t see past my lies
You’re my best friend
But you can’t see when I pretend
You think I love big shirts
It’s really to hide all my hurts
From both my mother and I
You don’t know I cut when I cry
How I long to run away
You think I want to stay
I hide it all from you
I don’t know what you’d do if you knew
My self-esteem is shot
My body’s been bought
I need drugs to sleep
Enough to land in a heap
You’re confident and smart
You always have a part
Your boyfriend loves you
When people see you, they don’t think “moo”
You’re the only one who can calm me
Otherwise I must use pain to make me free
Fingernails, pens, razors, knives
I make the marks in groups of fives
One for the inner pain
One for my mother’s claim
One for the tears
Two for my fears
Blood bubbles up from within
With it I draw on my skin
Smiley faces, skulls and my symbol
My fingers move and paint so nimble
Tears track down my cheeks
My sadness peaks
Silently I pray
This way I won’t stay
In middle school and high school I had a bit of an obsession with self-harm, anorexia, bulimia, suicide, domestic violence, and bullying (you might have noticed from some of my poems). This obsession doesn’t surprise me, as a tween and teen my school did lots of awareness videos. I can remember middle school where they showed us a movie about huffing (inhaling the fumes of cleaning products, etc) and in it there was a kid giving a testimonial about how they found their sibling dead. Whelp. That was it. Michelle was hysterical and had to be brought down to the main office and Persephone had to be called in from the adjoined high school to come give me a hug and reassure me that she was not dead, that she was not going to die from huffing household cleaners or paint, and that everything was okay.
I was a VERY impressionable kid.
D.A.R.E. worked on me. That’s how impressionable I was.
I was also a special brand of oblivious. I thought no one in my school drank or did drugs. Then one of my classmates was airlifted to the hospital because they drank an entire waterbottle of vodka and they weighed about 80 pounds soaking wet. Yup. I was completely boggled – how? why? when? where? It still blows my mind how people can so easily get illegal drugs – they are illegal! How do you even FIND them, much less BUY them? I dunno, I am a wine, coffee, and sugar kind of gal, those are all the drugs I need in my life to be happy.
In high school my obsession with self-harm grew, I read the book Cut and a manga series called Confidential Confessions that explored all of the different kinds of issues that teenagers in Japan go through. It was reassuring to see that our cultures were not so different, the problems had different flavors, but the core ingredients were the same. It also didn’t help that I became a miniature psychologist for all of my friends, staying up late counseling them on cutting, suicide, and other things.
I honestly don’t know where I got the confidence to do all these things, but then again I hadn’t finished being socialized to think of myself as lesser. I read a blog post about 16 reasons why women don’t step into their erotic powers and it really rang true to me. When I was in middle school and high school I had some neuroses, but they didn’t really impede me from being an over-confident little shit. Then I got to college and something switched. I think it might have been the power dynamic. I was no longer surrounded by kids who knew me from kindergarten, who knew the Michelle who would spit on you for not leaving her alone, who wandered the halls in full goth attire including black lipstick. I was now the mousy girl on the 11th floor who had never been drunk, never had sex, and liked to go to bed early. I was unsettled, unsure, and powerless. I was alone on a campus where I knew women were raped and none of my male friends took my fears seriously.
Although I have never cut, I can understand the mentality and thought process of wanting to physically hurt yourself or others in order to realize the pain that is inside that you can’t reach and fix. I wish that we as a society understood and offered resources for emotional and mental trauma and pain. Just imagine how much of a better place this would be if healthcare insurance actually paid psychologists and therapists what they were worth so that they would accept insurance and the patient wouldn’t have to pay through the nose to get the mental healthcare they deserve.