Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lesbian goth, gothic self harmers, cutters & a love story

Okay, you are a lesbian goth, which means like me, you know all too well that implosive balance between destruction and self destructive. There is something inside that makes your whole body ache from the emotions that rip through you like a human conduit. And yet, they don’t leave a mark. And yet, no one can hear you screaming. Sound familiar? I don’t put on mascara tears because I’m really smiling on the inside.

I’ve been watching the rare goth lesbian beauty in the video Overload (Created by two Germans; the country that invented modern Goth). Let’s say her (ex)boyfriend didn’t take her announcement so well, let’s say that with her cream white skin, black hair and red lips she rips the hell out of her room wearing her all black pumps, stockings, pvc slip and gloves. I am torn by my desire to BE her, or just be there stroking her raven’s hair: “lost and alone, but I still keep proceeding on…times running out, feel like I’m walking upon a wire, headed to the edge…I’m getting ready, I’m getting ready to explode”

Lesbian goth right? Hmmm, let me take a stab here......self harm? Cutting? Oh it’s not just experience talking, when even straight goth girls are cutting four times more than their pop crowd counterparts. So you throw studies showing the lesbian/bisexual self harm stats in and they might as well just start including Polysporin anti-infection cream with your mandatory guidance counseling sessions. Cutting and me? Let’s say incident with a carving knife at the age of five made my parents really nervous to have me around knives. My baby-goth tendencies came out a few years later when I became a “biter”; of those kids who when pushed over the edge tends to bite. I, however, only ever tried to bite one place; the jugular. Many was the time my older brother, having teased and tormented me just one too many times would have his mocking laughter turn to screams for my parents as he held my arcing body back while I twisted and strained closer and closer to his neck. My parents always reached us in time. They tried to get me a stuffed animal to rip the throat out instead. “It’s not the same.” I told them after a few bites.

In the UK, “self harmers”, or cutters are turned out of medical centers, “It’s just a cry for help.” This really is the reasoning to not take it seriously (in that it’s not a “real” suicide attempt)? That makes as much sense as the Coast Guard saying they are going to ignore all S.O.S.’s because, “they are just a cry for help.” – I mean, duh! We are not going to help because it is a cry for help? Anyway, one time I went to my clinic for a chest pain and the doctor wanted me to take off my top. I forgot that two days before I had carved “Mea Culpa” across my lower ribs (Mea Culpa is latin for “My fault” or the confession of one’s innate sinful state). The doctor listened with the scope thing, did some taps and ignored the cut words entirely.

There would be, you would think, no representation of romantic lesbian self harm cutting couples. Not so. Maybe not in North America but in Japan the anime/manga series, Loveless has a couple, Yamato and Kouya; who, finding each other, both believe they were the only ones to feel they way they did. In Loveless, couples battle with a form of word magic, where one does the battle and the other is the “sacrifice” (Yamato). Kouya cuts herself so that she and Yamato share the same pain; as each battles feelings that they are weighing the other one down (gee, trust issues, isolation, feelings of low self esteem…imagine that?). I’ve been watching this AMV cut of their relationship a lot recently. In a classic line that should be the self cutter’s motto, bleeding while falling into the Kouya's arms, Yamato says, “this isn’t pain.” Yeah. It’s only on the outside.

Linda, my partner, stayed with me through the worst of my cutting days. She hated it. She loved me. She knew I could only resist so much. Until eventually I began to scare even myself. For each cut to count it had to be a “bleeder” which meant blood must visibly flow from the wound. It got to the point where five bleeders weren’t enough, then twenty, then sixty. One time, in a obsessed fury of self hate I cut myself 211 times, all bleeders, on every part of my body I could reach. Linda got a plastic drop cloth, hid the knives and then took a picture of me shivering naked on this plastic dripping blood. I assume that was to show a doctor, but with Linda and her pictures you can never tell. I asked for professional help, and was put on a 18 month waiting list. I found people to help me anyway and started trying publically, with support, to live every day without cutting. That was three years ago. I’ve had a few stumbles and one big fall, but I was getting on with getting on. I dunno why for some the cutting ends when they turn 21 while for others it goes on and on. Dumping some of my historical baggage helped. I offered to high schools to come in and drop my clothes as a warning to what happens (like to your body once those scars don’t disappear anymore) if you don’t seek a bit of outside help. I think it was the lesbian going to classrooms and taking off her clothes which got the administrative thumbs down on the project.

Of course now, what with my life at the whim of a dodgy heart; a life which seems out of my control and one is which I now really AM dragging Linda down, the thoughts of cutting have been coming back stronger. My recent counselor, Dr. W, asked me why I cut. I told him that I cut to write my hidden story where everyone could see it. The skin was my canvas, and because my struggles and pain were invisible, they were ignored, so I wrote them in a way so everyone could share. “The scars” I told him, “tell the other side of the story of my life.”

He was silent for a moment and then said, “So, you don’t really fall into typical classifications then.”

I wear what I want and maybe I am wearing it (and those hair colours) to force you to look at me. Or maybe I just like a little skulls and fairy fashion now and then. And if I get those knife holding leather arm gauntlets, then sweet! You really will have to watch how you treat people in wheelchairs. But goth lesbian cutters, ex-cutters, and battling self harmers do fall in love, do stay in love, do find a life, do value what dealing with pain taught them.

Just one regret, that I didn’t get a final chance at my brother’s neck (I really should have snuck in while he was sleeping!)

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Jim said...

I can't say that I enjoyed that entry very much. In fact....just so someone will tell it to you straight ( I guess that is a double connotation )....that is FUCKED up! Okay..I am done now.

Beth...I have enough to worry about. Please be strong for me Tiger and put that crap out of your mind.

If you want to do something cool with knives, mount them on your wheel chair wheels like a Roman chariot.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks Jim, your comment made me laugh (oops, that wasn't the point?). Don't worry, I'm still cut free today; it is just, I think like a lot of self destructive habits, once you learn a "coping" mechanism, the greater the stress, the more the feelings of helpless and hopelessness, the more those kind of feelings return.

But I mean, let's see, I was sensitive, incredible intellegent in a religion where that was a BAD thing, closeted and a sexual abuse survivor, so you know, pressure comes out somewhere or ummmm....hey, didn't do heroin! (needle phobia came in handy there). And when I dealt with some of those issues, then some of that pressure went away.

So, you didn't like the goth girl pics? You didn't find the story of me as a junior vamp interesting?

kathz said...

I've seen too many nice kids and adult woman self-harming as a response to pain, desperation and self-hatred. I've heard quite a few explanations of why if feels good - but I just see people who are hurt and who don't like themselves very much. I know people who self-harm now and hope they'll get through whatever makes them do it - and that their friends and lovers will also survive the helpless pain they feel when watching and/or knowing what is going on.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

The cutters I've known were mostly native american girls, who had nowhere to turn, living in a world that consumed and used them, they wrote their anger and their love on their skin, because all they had was their skin.]
God, that sounds so Hannibal Lecter.
But that girl at the beginning of the post looked hot. I mean, for a girl.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

And the image of you trying to chew a hole in your brothers neck is totally funny. I hope you scared him good.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thanks daniel for talking about "it" - you know.....masturbatio.....I mean cutting, in a sort of normal way - and yeah, I was like a little cat I think, or vampire - whatever - and she is hot...for a girl.

hazel said...

I loved this post, stole your vid and didn't even stop to say thank you. Truth be told... I was sleepy and had trouble figuring out where to leave a comment. :oops: Any way I had a nap and came back to say thanks for the witty writing and great media bits!


hazel said...

PS I've heard the pen can be mightier than the sword.
insert keyboard, or even the voice.

Keep writing, the record of what you write has so much more benefit than the scars left by the sword.

Plus you've got a wonderful sense of humor.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Hazel - thanks, I've found the keyboard has a much better "erase" feature" for rewriting as well - of course, if you found this funny, why not try the post above? I think "wheelchair slut" is the new look for this year at the Paris show.

Penny P said...

It occurs to me that your almost obsessive fencing practice can be seen as another self-destructive behaviour, if you see what I mean. By personal experience I know that people with self-injury behaviour seldom restrict themselves to just one form of self-destruction. It is very easy to just change from one form to another, and I don't just mean from one type of self-injury to another.

Anonymous said...

you are brave.I have encourage to do the same thing as you.but my lebian friends on
must do it much better!!!

Joe said...

Hey, I might need some help with a few things since you ahve been through so much. To just see your veiw in it. Do you have yahoo or msn? Well, my yahoo is Metalifan9 and my MSN is

I would greatly appriciate it if you could help me. (they are a bit too much to randomly post on a blog)

Anonymous said...

I get it.
stay strong.


admin said...

I get it.
stay strong.