Tuesday, July 08, 2008

lesbian cutters, goth cutters, lesbian goth cutters (self harm)

Right now, Linda has hidden all the knives, but tomorrow I will find them. Lets talk lesbian goth cutters, or goth cutters, or self harmers. Some days, I don’t like being around norms (normal people; niave, normal people), or those who lie about their fucked-up nature. I don’t like having to be judged for things that just are. I have, when paralyzed, and could only use one thumb, tapped out on the metal railing, S.O.S. ….S.O.S….S.O.S….S.O.S. The care worker didn’t get it then and when I got forth with skeletons dancing as earrings the norms don’t get it either.

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.


kathz said...

It sounds as though you are in a dark place at present, and not one of your own making. I don't understand what it feels like to cut yourself - I do know what it feels like to hate yourself, to feel powerless and want to take control. I don't know what I can say or offer so I simply send my love in the hope that it will reach you in some way.

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
I don't understand it all, but some. It does make me sad - it makes me grieve that you have been hurt so. It makes me angry - angry at those who hurt you. It doesn't change or alter who you are to me. You are my friend, my beautiful friend.


Anonymous said...

I am like you and I know.

Be kind to yourself if you can.

Defying Gravity.

Kita said...

I self-harm. Last time I did it was 2 weeks ago.. It was a release valve for my emotions. 4 burns later they serve only for something to pick - the feelings I had back then, I have now.
I know what you mean, Beth. I understand the pain, the heartbreak that preceeds self-harm. Again, I am the same...abused from age 2 - 11. I had stopped the self harm until a few years ago, my two girls were put into foster care. That was when my heart cracked. And my mind.

You know, I hate my existance. But I hold onto it because it is all that I have. I hate my disability (fibro) and I hate how it has overtaken my life to the extent of me having no life, if you know what I mean. But we keep on, because we have to. Because no-one else will.

Please feel free to disregard this.. I have one hell of a morning - crying before 9am. So bad for me...

rachelcreative said...

SH isn't simple. But I think for many people who have no experience with it - it feels very simply wrong. I know it's complex.

I hope you are in control of the cutting - as in being safe and clean with it. You must know I don't want you to SH and more than that, muc more - I don't want you to feel the way you do that leads to needing it.

Know that you are loved Beth and that you are an amazing woman. You've come a long way and you're doing a great job of living your life the best way you can. This is a bump in the road. You will get through this.

Wishing I had some magic answers. Hope you'll settle for words of support and love for now.

Meredith said...

Oh my. Yet another cutter I thought I can have some things in common with, but then realized that cutting simply does not mean the same thing for us, lol. But this time I don't feel wronged about that. (Ha! You taught me a new thing! :-D BTW I got your card yesterday, thanks very much!! I'll send you one if I can scrape enough money together :))

Control... hmmmmm. I dunno. Mostly, I cut when I'm happy, when I'm actually feeling in control, but don't think about control at all. It's a celebratory thing to me, and also a major turn-on. My ultimate sexual fantasy is getting it on with a plump woman who has razor claws. Blood, to me, is the very essence of life and therefore cutting is the exact opposite of dying. I know it's weird, it's also weird to me, but hey, that's feelings, not logic, right? I don't feel pain when cutting - I feel exaggerated pain when hit by a blunt object (like kicked, bumping into a doorhandle accidentally, etc.), and the latter happens more frequently (klutz writing here). What the cutting sensation means to me is described by Axel Brauns in his autobiography titled "Colorful Shades and Bats" as a "presence in my limbs". Like heightening the normally reduced proprioception. And in addition to that I can almost feel the flow of arousal chemicals flowing as I get more active, excited, cheery and horny at once. The intensity varies of course, but it's always the same process. (Though it started differently: as a kid I used scars as reminders of joyful occasions, as there were so few of them.)

To this time, I simply couldn't BELIEVE that other people feel differently about cutting and they really associate it with pain/control/relief/death/etc.; I guess I just needed someone I trust to describe the previously known things for me to accept. Thanks.

Neil said...

Bet, self harm is not good, and I can't approve. But I can still put great value on the person who's cutting.

I don't like scars; don't consider them proof of anything that's good. I have many of my own, from excema as a kid when I couldn't stop scratching, to the 8 stitches where my brother hit me with a hockey stick (accidentally!), and the developing scar from touching hot plumbing parts by accident, several accidents with sharp things, one from closing my finger in a car door at 7 years old. And what my beloved wife refers to as my prosthetic dimple, which was forced on me in the one game of pick-up hockey I played - thee of us and two of them, and the odds were evened with an accidental high stick to me cheek. The doctor in the emergency room assured me that every handsome face needs a scar. Well, he wasn't talking about me, I guess...

Im running on too long already. Can't approve of cutting, but I can approve of the person who is doing the cutting. it's called unconditional love, Beth; deal with it. :)

You shouldn't have had to endure all the bad things that happened to you as a child or teen, or as a preyed=on teacher. But we can't change the past, can't stop what has made you who you are now. I CAN understand that you're feeling very little sense of self-control; your body is playing party tricks on you, other people don't approve of your lifestyle, your height, your clothes, or that you exist in their world...

I also can't stop caring about you, Elizabeth. Deal with that, too.

Zen hugs, lots of love, and I DO wish to change the attitudes of some of the strange Victorian people around you.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Dear Beth,

Self-harm/destruction can take a lot of forms. Cutting, as graphic as it is, and as horrifying to those afraid of blood and death, seems ultimately a more sane response than some others (drug addiction comes leaping to mind). Of course this is a woman who hasn't had a complete set of toenails since she was six talking. But people assume a bloody missing toenail is an accident, not self-mutilation.

Lene Andersen said...

I think your fear that you will lose control and kill people is why the therapist thought you wouldn't. If you stop worrying about losing control, you should probably start worrying. If you know what I mean?

Thank you for writing about cutting. I know a teenager who cuts and this post helped me understand a bit better. Hopefully, I can be of more help to him now.

I think most people have self-destructive feelings - at least most of the people I know, but maybe I know a lot of the Fucked Up (like attracts like, perhaps?). It's how strong those self-destructive feelings are and what we do about them that differs. You've been through the wringer since you were a child and that you've come out the other side at all is a testament to the strength of your spirit.

Thank you for sharing that spirit with me.

Veralidaine said...

I understand only a little, but I care a lot.

shiva said...

If it gets you through the night (and harms no one else), you have no need to apologise for it.

(Not that "apologising" for it is what i think you are doing. I think what you wrote was powerful and beautiful.)

My own attitude to cutting is, i think, about halfway between yours and Meredith's. When alone and self-hating in the cold and dark of a really bad winter (like last winter) it's closer to yours. When in a good, kinky relationship, i think it would be a lot more like Meredith's (although i don't know for sure, because that's never happened yet... and, i think, in that context, i would prefer it to be her doing the cutting... TMI, probably...) I feel passionately that, for me at least, it's not "self-harm" but more like "self-medication".

Disgusted, angry and sad? Well, not at all disgusted (though maybe a LITTLE creeped out by cutting enough to make a "smile" with it, but it NOT bleeding :o ), and angry not at you but at the shittiness of a world that makes good people like you feel like that.

I have more to think about this.

I am still looking for something to send you in return for that card. I just haven't seen anything that leaps out to me as "you" yet.

Good to see you posting, even if on a dark subject. I do get kind of worried when you miss a day, even though i'm one of the people who tells you NOT to blog every day if you don't feel up to it...

yanub said...

There are probably as many ways to self-harm as there are people in the world. Who am I to say that yours is more objectionable than anyone else's?

I hope you move on to where you no longer feel the need to hurt yourself. I hate that your experience has taught you that you are "deserving of an endless variety of degradation", because you are deserving of celebration and kindness. And I wish you could believe that. Possibly, you wish you could believe it.

I can't say that I see a problem at all with you turning violent against an assailant. If they are looking for trouble, why not give it to them? But that's easy for me to say. I can't really know your reasons and feelings, why you feel you are a better target than those who hurt you, even though you probably explain it better than anyone could. All I can offer is to keep coming back and bearing witness.

abi said...

I understand from the perspective of someone who has decided that that sort of thing would be a very bad idea; it's more of a theoretical understanding, really, and as such, probably little use. I prefer to punch my sofa.

I do not judge, though, insofar as I do not think that you are a bad person, etc. (I shudder to think of the infection risk, though); rather I feel sad that you treat yourself like that. You do not deserve to be cut, nor to have such pain that you feel the need to cut yourself.

I am sending more kind thoughts your way.

abi said...

Shiva, you make an excellent point! Although I like you to take days off blogging if it's too much for you, Beth, I do worry when you do. It's always such a relief to see comments coming through, and more of a relief to see an actual post.

I was kind of feeling pleased that the reason you hadn't posted was due to cutting, which is under your control, until I thought about it and realised that it is the issues which make you cut which caused you not to blog, rather than the cutting itself. Then I felt a bit stupid. Then I shared my stupidity with you.

It was good to hear no evidence of what you count as a medical emergency nowadays, though.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Kathz: Thank you for your thoughts, I don't know, the dark part of me says that I am entirely of my own making - or rather that what happens to me is probably the least that I deserve.

SharonMV: I am sorry that my writing was not clear enough; it seems a hard subject to be clear about. I am not particularly angry anymore at those who hurt me, I am what I am. And yes, it doesn't what I am.

Defying Gravity: I will always be as loving of myself as I deserve.

Kita: I am regretful that your mind space erupts in such a way, though I am not saying that it is bad, or that I wouldn't be the same and hearing your circumstances, I believe you probably hold on during each day to not give yourself totally over to those feelings. Becuase it is a hard place to live, for certain.

I do not know how I survive those who relied on me being put into care; but not well. I do hope that you have someone to talk to, if not counsel with, some circle of people who will lend some time? That can help, or at least fill the time in the dark spaces.

Living every day is sometimes a very, very hard thing, and I don't presend it isn't for many people. A lot of people live lives of courage by living, and not giving up or giving in.

I hope this post wasn't a trigger for you, It is afternoon and I have not cut if that is any help. I am glad you shared.

Rachelcreative: Self Harm feels wrong maybe because it breaks every feeling most people have about themselves and thier body - that it is good and you need to protect it.

I am always very precise in my cutting forms of Self harm, the other forms tend to be less precise. I self harm because I am a selfish person who refused to leave, to give up; and perhaps the day I know, for certain that the world would be a brighter place without me, then I WILL have peace. But until then, I just muddle by.

I wish I wasn't a person who self harmed, a fuck up, a person that others run from, I wish I didn't have to be proud of being different becuase the only other societal option is self loathing. Yeah..

Meredith: I'm glad you got the card. And about the reasons, no worries, if you go on cutting forums you will find many people who feel similar to you, and that seems to be one type and I seem to be another.

I don't think it is particularly weird, I think it is who you are and also, maybe something you could safely enjoy the rest of your life, if you so wish. I knew in Europe some performance artists, couples, who did things like you talk about in your fantasy. So you aren't alone, it just seems I am not that one, but they are out there, and you are not wierd, or at least not to me.

For me, if there is no pain, in fact, no extreme exuciating pain, then there would be no point. But I can see how for you the opposite is true. I wonder what would happen if I STOPPED hurting and you stopped feeling what you feel. I did use EMLA once to deaden my arm and I will say that I couldn't do it, it was like cutting up an inanimate object; it had to be ME, and I HAD to feel it.

Well, I am glad I articulated it in a way that you could understand somewhat. But they said (about 300 years ago) that one person's pain was another pleasure, one person's vice is another's virtue. So same act, but for me penance and a scream, for you exhileration and joy.

Neil: Self harm can be far better than some alternatives. I guess it is all perspective and for me, I have never smoked, nor really understand why people are so okay with doing something that has a giant "This will KILL YOU!" label on the side (other than I know it is really, really addictive), but is or has been socially acceptable while this, which uses up a few red and white blood cells is so very unacceptable. But that's what is it.

I appreciate that you care for me but I feel sorry for you too, simply becuase that list, and more of things that people don't approve of about me, and often those associated with me. I am pain incarnate, or so I used to believe and now only believe on alternating days - and thus will bring pain to those who know and care for me until they leave.

As for scars, oddly, I don't, or didn't, it depends on the quality of the blade, how thin it is sharpened and how deep you go, but even burns, third degree burns have all disappeared on me, which did little to stop my belief that I was God little canvas for pain.

Perpetual Beginner: Yes, exactly, I am thankful that I have avoided the things like drink or alcohol or drinking and driving not becuase I felt so wonderful and worthy but simply because I found what I needed early and stuck to it: aka dumb blind luck.

As for finger and toenails, I have had MANY fall off, but I have very rarely been able to rip one off myself, you must have a much higher determination/pain intensity tolerance than I.

Lene: no, he actually believed that I simply did not have the capacity to deliver deliberate harm to another human being for my own pleasure.

As meredith showed, there are many types of cutters, but maybe this will be of help, also, I started cutting BEFORE I was sexually abused, and while that didn't help, I don't know what makes one cut and another not; "too sensitive, too........" I don't know.

I hope like attracts like becuase I find myself not exactly often portrayed in media. IT also seems Lesbians and feminists find self harm a no-no, and like many things which exist in epic quantities, the solution is seems is them looking at the person going, "No! No! No! Bad! No!" - or maybe there is some other useful literature I have missed.

Is wanting to live and survive and stive a form of selfishness or spirit?

Veralidaine: It is actually GOOD not to understand that much in this area. You are one of the ones I am supposed to protect. To live a life without having this.

Shiva: I have to admit that I am sometimes worried about you, becuase you do have those two sides; the one which can be positive and sexual and the other which is darker and self destructive and I hope that these don't get mixed up and you self harm by proxy but have pleasure (even if in cutting, or being cut), for pleasure.

but that really isn't my business and thank you for your sharing that you thought it was eloquent, and as a person who does understand the self harm and self loathing, I worry a little - that is all.

I wrote on this so I Would not have to write about something dark. This was the lesser of the two.

Yanub: true enough, people think my exercise was self harm, certainly my anorexia was. Lots of ways to self harm.

I think maybe some of the better days I forget for a while what I am; and that there is nothing that could be done to me or that I would suffer through that I don't deserve and if I did not, would not choose anyway, if it would make another live a life without knowing or experiencing it. Does God make people who exist merely to suffer? I don't know.

As for hurting another, I don't think that is really me. I believe in holding people accountable for thier actions and how can someone be charged with assault if I don't let them assault me?

Why me? I dunno. Because I was there? Because it was planned on high? Because I was walking by? I don't know.

Abi: well, I think punching the sofa WITH the cushions on is probably good - far better than cutting. A few good screams too maybe.

Thanks for your kind thoughts.

Tammy said...

I so very understand where you are coming from and what you are saying.
I am sorry that so many people in your life have tortured you so badly. I understand the feeling of control or loss of, and doing anything to feel like you have just the slightest bit of control over yourself, your life. The feeling of wanting to send the bad guys to a place so far away, that they can never touch you again.
Stay strong for one more day. I don't know exactly how you are feeling, but I do know what you are saying. I hope you can feel the warm hug I'm sending your way.

Jon said...

Elizabeth, is it OK if I subscribe/link to this blog? When someone is being as honest as you I feel it's best to inquire about boundaries. I was a cutter as an adolescent. Then I became a chain smoking alcoholic. I wish I'd kept cutting myself instead. I suppose I had to go where I had to go. I am clean sober and tobacco free for almost 16 years now, but it wasn't easy getting there. In sobriety, I started getting tattooed. It wasn't until after the work was done that I realized that I had gotten tattooed on one of my favorite spots to give myself shallow cuts. I've gotten many more tattoos since. I DO NOT like the pain, but most of my tats were done by one guy or by other artists in his shop. I know them and they know me. I like the combination of blood, pain, art and camaraderie. I see it as a process, and while I like some parts of the process more than others (ouch ouch ouch) I like the whole very much. At some level I sincerely believe that I have acquired something like magical gifts by turning self harm into art and spirituality. I can also say that, by embracing process- the whole of the experience, I have been cured of lifelong depression. I have been helped in this by a fairly ordinary spiritual practice. I also work with a pretty good therapist who has been able to understand that marking myself is not the same as self harm. I consider it self claiming, but I'm at the point where I could go on too long.

Neil said...

My dear friend: as usual, others have a far better idea of what to say to you than I. They can also say it with far more economy of words. I'm envious.

I've realized that since I have no experience with cutting or the life that causes one to cut, I have no business commenting on or disapproving of your cutting. I apologize if I insulted you with my earlier comment.

"I will always be as loving of myself as I deserve." The Christians would have you love your neighbours as much as you love yourself. My phoilosophy says the reverse should also be true. Thus you, Beth McClung, should love yourself as much as you love your neighbours - your online neighbours and friends, I mean. You've shown us your love; now please accept my love and caring, and my hopes that your dark place is becoming lighter.

Zen hugs, dear friend. Thank you for sharing even the dark moments, and for helping me grow a little.


"Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased." - Spider Robinson

kathz said...

Neil makes a good point about loving your neighbours as you love yourself. I am sure you believe that this is right. You show a great deal of love for others. But someone once pointed out that loving yourself is a starting point for loving your neighbours. You deserve to be loved by other people - as you are. And you also deserve to be loved by yourself.

I hope you are finding your way from darkness to light.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Tammy: I'm sorry you understand what I am saying I think. Yeah, "control" is like a dirty word but people don't realize how much they have so when so much is taken away, when everything is hell, having control of anything, even negative like starving or cutting feels better than having nothing at all.

Yeah, sorry, not really in a good headspace (but a consistant one) when I answered people before but I will make it today I think. We found out that Linda can only take time off if a doctor will give a SPECIFIC time of exactly when I am going to die - if they say "She could live 3 to maybe 12 months" - Linda can't take off compassion leave. She does get ONE day off for the funeral though. Good thing she works for government eh!

Jon: Thanks for asking, I don't post that much on cutting or self destruction, well, not destruction taht I initiate...well, a lot of it LOOKS like self destruction but sometimes there is a plan. What I mean to say, is this blog has by medical necessity become about dying and how that is actually a lot more complicated that it first appears (freaking medicos!). So if you are up for that, there is usually some humor and squirrel videos. So please subscribe or whatever - I am very, public.

Congrats on the 16 years, I wish I could make that claim, I am three years TRYING to be cutting free. Which doesn't mean I haven't cut, it means I am actively trying not to cut, so a cut is not a "start over in counting" but a fall and then I keep going. I am glad that tattoos and body art has transformed the experience for you into a reclaiming, that sounds very interesting and theraputic. There is a lot of interest in people who tattoo, people with disabilities and what it means. And I could see a tat as something which speaks what needs to be said but isn't actually breaking the self down, the body down, the skin down. Interesting.

Neil: please don't apologize for being innocent in this area, that is a GOOD thing. And I mean that sincerely, I think you are a good person and a good soul and maybe anquish a bit too much over things because you are a person who hasn't been touched in certain ways but that is okay; really, please don't apologize. Who would want anyone they care about to know this, from the inside? But the truth is a lot of people do. You didn't insult me it was just from my headspace I couldn't understand what you were saying, so I couldn't comment.

You quote Spider Robinson? The Callahan Saloon (did I get that book right?).

The Azazal - two perfect animals, one for punishment and pain, the other not. You know even as a youth I could not understand "love your neighbor as yourself" becuase Jesus never practiced it. And because I could love my neighbors because I knew what they needed, because it was a burning hole in me, not because I was content.

If you want me to accept love, I need to accept meaning; why was I sacrificed? I'm sorry this is probably way too left field for you. I used to say to MY therapist, "If I had deserved it, God would have come for me." And the next night, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next, and the next and the next, and the next and the next and the next and the next and the next (we aren't even HALF DONE - I was loved as God and my neighbor loved me - and now I make sure no one else is loved that way).

Sorry if that seems a bit dark, I can either be honest about what I feel, even if what I feel is fucked up or I can pretend; and since I consider you a friend, I don't pretend.

Kathz: Oh, don't worry, I always come back, I'm like the cat, even when I try to drown myself I come back.

I have learned how to love my neighbors BECAUSE of what some might call the total vacuum of love, or the cauldron of some years. Because of that, I will love, I will try to be there, I will try to support becuase I know what love is not. That's as close as I can get.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts on the loving yourself/neighbour theme. I intentionally said 'be kind' rather than 'love' because for me it's easier to be kind, even when there is no love there. Love is a loaded term, and kindness for me is more likely to be undeserved, unlike love which often comes with a price tag. Anyway... I liked what you said Beth about knowing what love is not.

Defying Gravity

Neil said...

I think Jesus would be a poor example here. The Bible is mostly a work of fiction, and a misogynistic one. My wife says that if saint Augustine hadn't gotten is editorial hands on it, the bible would be a better book.

The ten commandments, however, should be an okay code to follow (though if a potential US president wants to throw out the constitution in favour of the ten commandments, I'd like to hear his spin on "Thou shalt not kill").

But I wasn't talking about your childhood neighbours; I was thinking of specifically excluding them, but erased that sentence in a pathetic attempt at tact. I was thinking of your virtual neighbours, and the real ones who don't abuse you. I meant the brotherly love part, not the physical act.

Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Cross-Time Saloon" series is what I was thinking of. "Callahan's Key" is the last one I've read, and is very good despite having one of the few errors I've actually noticed in print: Robinson has a guy mooning someone drop his sarong. Nope. He'd flip it like a kilt, Spider!

No need to pretend here, Beth. We'll take the good, the bad, the dark and the light. Maybe writing about the dark can help drive it away. Maybe.

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
I meant that I don't understand (on a personal level - through my own experience) every thing you write about cutting & self harm. You explained your own feelings and experience vividly, honestly,and very well. When I said it made me sad & angry I was referring to this statement "when I write about this, people say it makes them disgusted, or angry or sad".

If you write it, I will read and try to understand. Acceptance is a given, caring about you is a given - these will not change.


shiva said...

Elizabeth - i'm kind of touched that you worry about me, but please don't! You have enough of yourself to worry about...

Yes, i do have those 2 sides (not just to my attitudes to cutting or sex, but to... most things in my life), and sometimes they may seem like they are in contradiction, and yes i have my days when i feel like i'm just too much of a living contradiction to exist, but... i am very good, possibly too good, at compartmentalising things apart from each other in my life (possibly an autistic trait), and those compartmentalisations (is that even a word? guess it is now) can be quite complex and difficult to explain in words, and getting those 2 things "mixed up" with each other in a bad way is pretty unlikely.

(I was going to use an analogy about drinking, using a friend's experience, but thought it was a bit too ambiguous and possibly appropriating her feelings more than i felt i should...)

Christianity and "love thy neighbour"... that's an interesting one. When i was a Christian, the commandment to "love your neighbour as yourself" always stuck in my throat because i neither felt able to, nor *wanted* to, love myself, and it felt contradictory with the general Christian emphasis on the virtue of selflessness, and seemed to imply that self-love (which i still find slightly distasteful now, and found even more so then) was necessary before "loving thy neighbour" was even *possible*...

anyway, that's probably a topic for a whole other post...

Dawn Allenbach said...

One of my best friends is also cutter. I do not understand, probably because I am not wired that way. But knowing A has taught me not to be shocked, and I do not feel pity. I want to help, but I've come to learn that because I do not fully understand what makes a person cut, I cannot help with what I do know.

So I'll tell you what I tell A: I love you. I may not fully understand, but I will listen and try to understand. Everyone deserves a listener.

Anonymous said...

Beth, i just read your post & the comments. I know very little about what your going through and not be able to offer much help but i want you to know that you deserve to be loved and treated the same as so called" normal " people. even if i cant quite understand i still offer my care. there are people who care about you, your online friends are just a few of those. if you look hard enough you will find people who will help you and love you no matter what. finally, Elizabeth McClung, always remember that you are a good person and good things happen to good people. sooner or later you will find the one person who will accept you 100% and not care about your cutting(if you still do when this happens) and they will help you stop cutting and allow you to finally have a good, happy life. until then i can only say that i may not know you but i still wish you the best. good luck and i hope you become happy soon.

Anonymous said...

The Fucked up?...heh I'm the Unwanted, the Lost, and Trash you can't throw away. I know what you feel...well not all of it...but the need to control something...I see beauty in death,blood,and things like that...though my mom's boyfriend says I'm a witch for it...I just grin real big while my eyes stay emotionless...I don't think he likes me...I beat myself up more and more each day, scared I will lose control over myself and break...

Saerie said...

I am a cutter. I'm not ashamed of it, but I have been excessive for a while and I want to slow down, I'm only fifteen and I have scarcely a spot on my body I have yet to scar. I have been searching site after site, blog after blog, and whilst our circumstances and persons could not be more opposite, the emotions you feel are ones I share. Thank you. There is a difference between knowing other people do as you do and knowing they feel as you feel, you made a difference in my attempt at life, and for that I am eternally grateful. Yet I ponder whether my eternity shall give me oppurtinity to be grateful, I am not at present deserving of the light, but I see that you are, and I hope that is how others perceive you.

Kate B aka mewler666 said...

In one way every one of us self harms, some of us are more visceral in our need of that release. For me it is needles, i could never bear the thought of the scars from cutting and the pain from a well placed needle can far exceed that of a blade.

Those of us who, cut, burn poke etc can be seen as the extremes of self harm. The need to feel, feel anything in my case, pain is better than feeling emotionally numb.

Others get high; some go shopping buying crap they will never use or need, digging themselves deeper into debt.

Others drink or do drugs, over eat until obese, of under eat until they can see though tissue thin skin.

Mechanisms change, some are obviously more extreme, but the need to control one aspect of my life, to feel, to release that internal burning anger seem common threads across a lot of none "norm" behavior. For one little mew, i.e. me will take a needle inserted into my nail bed or through my nipple, way before i would throw myself into toxic relationships like some other abuse victims i network with.
Pain is my friend a constant reminder that i still live, that i survive. I might be a freak, but i am starting to love who i am growing into.
So I’m clinically PTSD, so what if I’m a sexually masochistic submissive lesbian.
So freaking what if i have a huge masochistic sexual parafetishism. i survived, i never gave up i never chose death over life, despite crying to die every single night for twelve years of my twenty year life so far.
I survive, despite all this, yes i hurt myself, and yes I know it’s not truly healthy, but it beats the alternative!

Deliberate Self Harm Scarring said...

it was very bad story you have told. i am feeling very sympathetic. anyways best of luck. dont worry…. good days will also come very soon…

Midriel said...

I used to be somewhat like you, i used to cut myself often every time i felt internal pain, when i remembered, when i felt like being punished... i wanted to find an explanation,i felt like a freak and cutting myself was my way of demonstrating it, and i felt great, that relief feeling, like if all my problems would go out through my wound, and then i used to drink my own blood, every time i became in love with myself through that personal ritual... One day i cut so deeply i couldn't stop bleeding, i was living at that time with my boyfriend and his family, and everybody knew, and that day my boyfriend and my boyfriend's mother helped me with the bleeding, and in that moment i saw, i saw something i never saw before till that day, that Sadness, that suffering, that pain in their eyes... i understood in that moment that their suffering at watching me with a self injury was even greater than the Pain that i was trying to release through that cut, it lost all sense, so i ought to stop it.

Time passed, many things happened, and it wasn't easy but i swore to myself that i would never Ever cut myself again, i moved to another country, married with my boyfriend and had children, and in all these years, more than 7 i assure, i haven't cut myself.

But it's an addiction, even now when i feel that boiling rage i wish i could, just a small cut, just to have that taste of "relief", also happens when i have a high lust, blood is an absolute turn on to me, the smell, the color, the consistency, the taste... but every time i wish for it, it stops me 4 things:

1.the promised i made to myself
2.the remember of that pain on my beloved ones
3. My Children
4. The control that i acquired on all these years, where i see my monstrouness, my freakiness, my uniqueness as a gift, not everybody has the privilege of shaking other's lives as we do, the sinners, the freaks... i am now proud of knowing that even those who are considered "weird" in a normal society consider me a strange and a unique being, i am proud to know that i have this way of seeing things on a way that only i can, because it's my own way, my own world. I feel control when i know that i can be loved and repulsed at the same time, that i can go into other's minds and feelings and i can decide which cord to pull, now i am the one that feel pittiness and sadness towards those that cannot understand how beautiful i am, how beautiful is that darkness inside me, and i have learned how to mix up my darkness with the light that i also know i possess, it is amazing...

If you ever have the opportunity, try it, try to see things on a different perspective, let your cuts be a luxury because you like it, not because you need it, don't be a slave of your own addiction and pleasure, and if you wish someday to leave your cutting in the past as a memory beware that is not going to be easy and you may find another replacement, and if you're afraid to lose control be conscious of who you really are, don't suffer for it, enjoy it, good luck Beth.

LostGoth said...

One shot in the darkness
one small bullet trough it all
may it change may it blame,
or all hope is lost " IS IT???"

where all angels go
nether there are any demons to follow
what is this all
am I loosing it to fall.

LETS FINISH THIS HOLE AND SAY LOUD WE ARE NOT ONES WHO ARE BE FOUND WITHIN THAT HOLE .........S....H.......H...I.T HOLE .........PEOPLE...........Idiotic:::::::::::Gothic::::::::lifeform::::::::sighted:::::::::::readying:::::::all out :::::::::::Defences::::::::

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth your beautiful.