Cutting my way ahead (TW: self-harm)

I am proud of the scars I bear on my arms and legs… Scars I’ve tried to hide for a long time, scars I rarely talk about. But not talking about it has more to do with the looks of pity and concern I get when people find out that for a long time I took razor blades, scissors, peering knives, needles, anything to cut myself until the smell and sight of blood would bring me relief. I used to cut because it kept me alive in a world where people seemed intent on putting me down at ever turn; I wanted to scream at people but that wasn’t decent, that wasn’t considered right. I wrote poetry about the darkest parts of my mind, and that was considered okay (kinda)… But drawing a blade across my skin, the sting of pain, it always just kept me going for another day, hour, minute, second.

I’ve been cited the issues many times: those who self-harm are more likely to commit suicide; cutting is a symptom of a shopping list from the DSM… But what people forget is that I have been told I am mentally ill just for being transgender so often that at some point I believed it myself. Therapists and psychologists tried to halt any gender-affirming help I got because “first I needed to sort this out”; I packed my bags and move to another country and clinic… because fuck them.

Often people’s looks turns almost to accusation as they start wondering why I didn’t ask for help, that one should ask for support. But when you were alone and on the street, and people ask “why didn’t you ask for help”, I cannot help but think about the women’s centre that shut the door in my face claiming that my presence is a danger to the women inside. When once I came home from a trick, bleeding from between my legs, the only solution that my Feminist friends offered me was to stop perpetuating this abuse; ironically, it was another client who later gave me the comfort that I really needed. All I know is an establishment that has pretty much locked me up for periods of three days in a row in some facility or another, far too often with the help of my “friends”; and when you leave those places, you just look around and find nothing changed, you still need to survive, you still need to move ahead, you still need to stay calm and make things work somehow.

People say I just want attention, and – whether intentionally or not – try to make me feel guilty… and for what? Because my coping mechanism in life just happens to offend your sense of aesthetics??? Sure, that will get me to stop and find that “help” I’m suppose to find somewhere; perhaps a therapist that will put me on a cocktail of medication that I still fear for how it used to hollow me out, turn me into an strangely emotionless powder keg (yeah it doesn’t make sense to me either, wasn’t that shit suppose to calm me down?)

In all this I used to try and hide my scars, or try and be a bit more strategic to hide the fresh cuts; to this day I only own long skirts and pants, cause my right leg looks – as someone once put it – like someone had a party with a switchblade… And now that the scars on my arms are very slowly starting to fade, little by little, I wonder what it would be like if they  were gone. I so long lived with the question “how did you get those” and the entitlement that people feel to dissect my life and provide all sorts of Facebook-memes-and-status feelgood advice that really just doesn’t cut it… really it doesn’t… on the other hand knives do, trust me I know. Over time, I’ve learned to shut up about my scars, dodge the question, pretend as if that part of my life isn’t there; I hate myself for that. Hell, at this point I almost feel like freshening those cuts so as not to lose sight of the scars. Because my scars are more than just a sad memory, they are a story, a moment where I took a road that would get me going rather than quit…

My scars are a symbol to me, a sign that I have survived, that I am able to survive… My scars are a statement in the face for the damn world, a scream too long held silent that frak it, I made it so far. My scars are a middle finger to every psychologist who tried to drug and change me, to everyone who tried to patronise me into behaving properly. My scars are my life, they are my pain, they are my strength. They make me feel strong, despite the fact that many – when they find out how I got them – try and make me feel small…

Cut it out!


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