This, cutting and fucked-up, isn’t about dying, this transcends dying, if you can believe that. I told Linda as I went into my third day without food that if I could avoid the workers and her for another few days, I could probably be the first terminal anorexic. Because anorexic isn’t about starving yourself to death, it is about control, or having some sort of control; emotional, something, in a situation or place where there is none for you. And so is cutting; control over the body, control over the blood, control over something. And it is about pain: the internal released, the external to hold.
There are times and types of pain that cannot be articulated in simplicity. Maybe some people are just born a little too emphatic, a little too open, a little too sensitive, a little too something. I started cutting somewhere between 4 and 5; I used the carving knife on my belly. My parents still have that carving knife; it has a stag horn handle.
I asked Linda why she thinks I cut and she said it was control and pain. That the more lost I become, the more used, the more beaten down, the more I need to take it out on someone, or something, but there is really only one object deserving of and endless variety of degradation and treatment: me.
There is also safety and beauty. That’s what Goth is in a way, being a person who appreciates the beauty in something that others see as forbidden or tasteless: blood, death, decay, mortality. The last time I cut, my circulation had retracted so much that I couldn’t bleed. That made me feel very wrong. I mean, when my skin has split open and I can make a smile with it, there should be blood, right? It was funny, but not beautiful, so I dress in spider corsets and kink boots.
I remember just entering college this woman telling people that I liked torturing children because I read the books of Edward Gorey. She was quite angry because I found them funny; I found them beautiful. Was I a cutter because I was a lesbian? No. Was I a cutter because I became a very young fuck bunny for host of people? No, though I can’t say it helps. I will free myself to speak of being lesbian, or at least of that inclination (as much as any woman in a wheelchair can be a sexual object – the great neutermobile!). I will one day know that the men who used the body and broke my mind in many pieces are NOT coming back. I don’t know how I will get there from here, but I will. But I will always be a cutter. It is written upon me, into me, my addiction.
Talk about cutting, about using the swift downward stroke with one hand, knife in the forefinger and thumb, and that burn, the white hot burn of blood from a German knife, running down, and another stroke and another, leaving a trail of blood as I wander in MY woods, hoping that I find my way home. Hansel and Gretel left bread crumbs which were eaten by birds. Blood doesn’t bring birds. And there is someTHING about me, a THING, which brings out the predator in some people, some men. You don’t want to go in my woods: unless you are one of us. The Fucked Up.
Things I worry about: Loss of Control – I worry a lot that I will lose control and do things to people, be a person who throws things, who attacks outward, and so I attack inward. I worry that I will lose control of attacking inward and cutting won’t be enough. Because sometimes when the crazy red demon is out, it doesn’t want to go back, it wants more, more and I worry that I will break my fingers, or put my arm through a glass window just to see what happens.
Actually I didn’t tell the truth, exactly, because of what happened to me, becoming the object, the therapists say, of violence, but seemed a lot like the object of pain and sex and fear all mixed together. I was obsessed, secretly terrified these men would come back. And so I learned every possible way to kill someone with one arm. So that way, no matter what they did, they would surely let one arm free and then, throat and nose strike, palm strike, fingers into the eyes. I practiced in my head, in my body. So THAT is what I fear most, that I will lose control and kill people. Not that there has ever been any evidence that I will, or even have that dispossession. One “expert” in abuse told me that I was ‘incapable’ of hurting people in that way. But I fear it.
And there is the roiling boil of the mind. The triggers everywhere, it brings you to the point of insanity, you speak of things in a monotone. It is then that cutting must be careful, so that you touch the scars, the healing scars dozens, hundreds of times a day to remember where you are, that you are here. That you have made it through another minute or hour or day. You want to know where I went missing.....I was deep in the woods.
And if you have known pain, or whatever it is that separates you from the norm; for some reason the humor is a little altered. The beauty is altered. And maybe there are perfectly normal people who just like to dress goth, and don’t want to dress up in a way that says, “I am sex and I am death in one.” Actually, that would be a relief, maybe dressing is like cutting, saying, that if you see the sex, if you fuck the body, then beast will be loose. Or maybe it is saying just that: I am already dead, and what you lust is a corpse. There is no evil, nothing that you can do that makes a corpse provocative that isn't funny, isn't grotesque.
Or maybe it is nicer than that; just saying, “I know what I am, and society doesn’t have it.” Or know that there is something far, far worse than death, and so, that makes death, something to play with, to dress as, to play at because it is far safer than the deep dark woods inside.
And just because you ACTUALLY happen to be dying does not magically cure this. Therapy helps, sometimes. I was told that what has been written on me, cut on me, is not who I am. I don’t know if I believe that; but I half believe, which is more than before. But what I have written myself, well that is S.O.S., and yet, when I write about this, people say it makes them disgusted, or angry, or sad. Well, I’m not exactly leaping around in joy when I cut, you know. I cut, so that I can sleep, so that I am HERE, instead of trapped in my mind THERE.
I used to cut because I was in a program where every class I had to get an A, and I was teaching and each class I taught was evaluated many times, and each time had to be perfect. That was enough, but there was so much more, like the fact I was homeless, or that the evaluator described himself as “A touchy-feelly guy and if you don’t like that, well tough, that’s just the way I am, and I’m the person who passes or fails you.” So he touched what he wanted when he wanted. And so, to get up each day, and go in and shower and get dressed in the restroom, and face the day, and the evaluations, and the rest I cut.
These days, I don’t cut that often, once or twice in a couple years. Because I am better? Well no, but I am better at hanging on, at not putting myself into situations like that, at standing up for myself. But sometimes things pile one atop another, sometimes things happen, things out of our control, very much out of our control that bring us back there, deep in the woods, following the blood trail.
Cutting makes me feel better. Cutting tells me that I am worse. Cutting tells me who and WHAT I am. I need to see the blood. Yes, I am a beast from horror films, the shambling THING, there is something WRONG with me. I am wrong. Sometimes I cut to stop from knowing what others feel. Sometimes I cut to stop feeling at all. Sometimes I cut so I can feel SOMETHING. If you are like me, you know all of this already, and if you aren’t I don’t know any way to stop you looking at me like that.