I gave a speech on self-inury awareness for my class yesterday. I did the whole without any sleeves and made a bleeding board dawning my old journal entries with blood and a few cussing words (the teacher didn't mind too much). Before I even stepped up in front of the class, I was getting compliments for it (genuine supportive comments) I didn't receive any funny looks while I was presenting and afterwords, students gave me great feedback that made me smile. It was at the least inspiring and uplifting. So now a good majority of the sophmore class knows I self-injure and no one critizes me for it. I'm happy :3
Hopefully, me coming out so boldly will urge others to do the same. Now the support group won't have to be unerground but out in the open!!!!
“You stop this right now! I’ve already decided you’re going to college!’ I’m sure many miles underneath the scary, somewhat eccentric exterior of Dr. Scruggs laid with certainty at the very least one iota of charity, goodwill, and understanding. After all, she had gone through the unnecessary trouble to reach inside of my soul, in such a manner of profound violation, take and examine every aspect of morale and aspirations then as coolly as the wind blows over the leaves of North Atlanta, disregard them, bringing forth a proposition of convenience. She had literally tried to make my life much easier to walk than if my mother or anybody equally as terrifying carried me themselves. It was at most…flattering as it was for her to pull my arm in an intentional rough yet loving way; However, I didn’t want what she had constructed for me. In Fact I desired a whole different path, maybe not even a path. I yearned for a dirty, nasty, rocky climb above impossible obstacles. The feeling of easy street was just tiptoe around the edge for me. My heart was pumped to not only run along the edge but to jump off it, not aware at all of the ‘splash’ I was going to make. I thank Dr. Scruggs for her subtle irritation but like many others whose secret similar to mine had been so recklessly revealed, I needed to experience life, accumulate strawberry gashes of battle wounds, and stand in front you, my lovely assortment of dismantled mannequins, to discuss with you the pain and the pleasure I had adopted.
Call it a case of ludicrous emotion. I just felt this compelling force to tremble before you today in hopes of gaining a helping hand in establishing a program to not only help me but many, many others in a self-made war against self-injury and a program to spread the awareness like a terrible infectious disease, a word not too often associated with this certain topic however, something with a seriousness so high and yet so low in depth of tunnels of complication can only be brought to the surface and attention of others in such a manner that will stick, possibly horrify, and force upon a change. The achievement that could slowly sprout from the roots of this could not be beneficial to those participate in it but also who help constructed. A small flicker of hope boils oh so fierce in introducing possibly the first step to making a small percentage of change in the world.
Self-Injury---the act of inflicting injury to oneself by the act of hair pulling, burning, scratching, the interference of wound healing, punching self or objects, infecting oneself, inserting harmful objects into the body, bruising, breaking bones, amputation, and a personal preference, cutting. Copy and paste a picture in your mind from anything you may have heard, just heard, or seen on the idea of SI. Not too pretty is it? Now erase it. Chances are what you have manifested in that shell of lovely limited intelligence, although in complete honesty of perception, was not 100% accurate. Even after I spill the rest of my speech onto the farther dustiest corner of your subconscious, I’m confident it will still not be at 100%. Surprisingly or not too surprisingly (your call), self-injury is a topic of intense complication. It’s absolutely not the course of learning your alphabets, which although turned out to be a nice slice of pie for most, for others was something more of a nightmare. I do not approach the topic as an expert in her field. Even with the experience under my sleeves, I am so very shy about its origins of why it compels self-injurers to continue to ‘rid themselves of the sin’ as I sometimes like to call it. What I know, other than the studied statistics and witnessed acts, is of other’s educated opinion so what I say to you is a recycled, modified, and newly shined opinion. Ingesting this prepared give-in of information, why should you ever consider caring? This question is completely irrelevant, somewhat unimportant if you can’t care. Luckily, you CAN care. The secret of this helpful function is nicely woven in human ability and now that has been brought into the light, I ask once more: Why should you care?
Allow my selfish assumption to creep into your mind as I try to explain a human choice that is yours and for the most part, only yours. You should care. How strongly and shamelessly bold of me. Let me say it again. You should insert some type of compassion when this slithers past you or in some cases, into you. You should care so that when a friend or relative of yours reveals to you a neat row of raised ruby wounds and your heart is being ripped into two, your mind is meticulously destroying every aspect of a reasonable answer and a fear freezes you both, you would know what to tell them, how to treat them (in love not medication), and most importantly, how to love them when your love isn’t enough to make them stop
Never has anything ever been so vivid in memory when I recount the first time a friend was a bit too careless about her sleeves and flashed me a battle field of lacerations. The wind instantly sucked back into me and I stared at it with fear, not knowing what to say let alone what the heck it was and why she had done it. Actually, I made a slight change in the last sentence, I at first was not aware that she had done it herself so of course that wasn’t a question up for debate at the time. Twelve years old I was absolutely unaware people did that. My friend could only deliver a smile, not of relief or sadism in my sympathy but much like she had lost a game of ‘hide the scar’ and although heartbroken about it, offered a trinket of ‘no hard feelings, you totally got me.’ I remember feeling betrayed for her not telling me. I thought we were close and yet she had hidden something so emotionally enrapturing when opened to the public from its once-chained chest. As hurt I was then, I know now that it wasn’t a fact of concealing things from me but of protecting but sort of protecting me. Fast forward two years where I stood before my aunt’s sink with a small trace of blood and satisfied sense of accomplishment, I suddenly understood everything my friend never bothered to tell me. From the smallest of a cut, I felt a rush of relief from all the stress around me. I was no longer in states where I was constantly reminded of how I lived two hours from school, was practically homeless, and lived in the basement of a relative I hardly knew or wanted to know. Bad grades? Out of mind. My mother’s screams? Nonexistent. The pain from the great amount of pressure of my pencil sharpener razor? Divine.
To explain my feelings and behavior is very much like trying to tell how I look as I stand before you at this instant. I could give a good guess at it but I would never accomplish describing every single detail in immaculate accuracy. I can only say that I wanted to be punished. For years, my mother screamed at me about horrible I was and how much a little selfish, little conniving wench I shall always be. Having this hammered into my young impressionable just about every day soon led me to believe. I hated myself so much for all the pain I in what seemed to be an inevitable effort. My mind had transformed into a masochist playground, being my worse critic in whatever I did or said, urging me to cut a little longer or perhaps a little deeper. Months I left my friends jaded of my secret which is very hard to justify because they were so familiar with it themselves. If I had admitted earlier, I would not have been the first to admit so. I ‘m pretty sure they would have been supported but…I was so terribly terrified. I hardly knew what I was doing so how could they—my sweet, sweet angels—know that for me?
Most self injurers according to the book, We’re Not Monsters, illustrated by Sabrina Solin Weil, are usually teenage girls, middle or upper class, with medium to high intelligence, and low self-esteem. At times, they are perfectionists. On my own I drew a conclusion that many of them were very expressive and artistic individuals who were usually more in tune to their emotions to others. Of the people I met, they were also incredibly honest of what they practiced as long as you approached with the absence of the accusation of the ‘sad little emo girl or boy’. (For the record, when it comes to the problem of self-injury, emo is never a great way to put it.) You may ask why anyone of medium to high intelligence would do such a destructive thing. Good question of adequate amount of difficulty to explain. I wish I knew the whole answer however I can only draw a picture in the dark that many feel as I do. Alone, abandoned, worthless, and a walking embodiment of sin. Statistics show that students whose orientation is of homosexuality or bisexuality tend to self-injure at a higher rate.
Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are not readily accepted by society and even at times are threatened for who they are bringing forth a sense of isolation that was just meant to be because of personal or religious reasons. As much as I would love to say this otherwise, self-injury is not a rarity and in fact a lot more common among the student body than you might have never imagined. Everyone and anyone (Goth, prep, punk, or any other label manifested by the world out of convenience of classification) can be a self-injurer. It breaks me to know that there are beautiful people out there on the brink of extreme popularity who are like me. Even celebrities who I greatly admire are self-injurers scrutinized by the media, such as Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, Fiona Apple, Angelina Jolie, Marilyn Manson, Brody Dalle of The Distillers, Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers, Colin Farrel, Courtney Love, Shirley Manson of Garbage, Princess Diana, Christina Ricci, Amy Studt, Elizabeth Wurtzel, and one of my greatest role models Johnny Depp. It’s so easy to just want to yell some sense into these broken-winged angel’s minds. Just don’t do it! Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Like anorexia and bulimia which is frequently linked to SI, it is a great mental battle. No, those who perform SI are not mentally-unstable but more of an emotional wreck, lying in a ditch, with hopeful watchful eyes for a kind passerby to help them to their feet which is what I think we should attempt.
Like I said SI is a complicated, frustrating mystery of twisted sorts; however, with an established support group at North Atlanta we can help our fellow classmates and make them feel as if they don’t have to keep their self-made gags around and in their mouths. In binding together, we could create a small example for the rest of the world of what can be done.
Help and heal. That has been a personal goal of mine.
I thank you, my lovely assortment of mannequins for listening to me today in a rollercoaster of emotions. This speech was dedicated to my past friends, my present friends, and everybody or anybody who self-injures who has known someone who has. My broken-winged angels we shall convalesce. This speech shall not be the ending of my efforts. I will continue to reach out and connect, no matter how futile or impossible it may seem. True, I am in a sort of a hell myself but that doesn’t mean I can’t identify and ease the flames around me.
I hope I did self-injurers justice!