Submitted by megan on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 21:34
This started out as a post about cock-loving lezzies. Somehow, my brain has turned that into a post about self-injury.
I've been trying to blog about my sexual identity for ages. Months. I think I have an interesting perspective, I think I have the words at my disposal to describe it. I thought I was just shying away because sexual identity is a complex and beautifully tricky knot. I thought I'd use the aforementioned CLL as a way of forcing myself to ravel it.
The self-harming started in earnest when I was around 17. There were signs before that, but my late teens is when it really geared up, peaking in my early 20s.
Mostly I punched myself, or hit myself with whatever blunt object was handy, though I have other scars from other methods. The target was generally my leg or my head, sometimes hard enough the bruises would have me limping for a few days. Or worried about concussion, fingers slipping up under my hair to press the hard clots of blood and flare the headache up again.
The reason it started stopping was my therapist, Karen. I spent a lot of time in her dusty office, and much of that time is a blur, but I remember her asking me what the triggers were. Not why did I do it, not how did I get here, but what is going on when you want to hurt yourself.
"When I am too hot," I said.
Which in some ways seems completely bananas, that the first reason to pop into my head for what is a reasonably horrific act can be rectified by taking off a sweater. But there you go. It's as good a start as any, I suppose.
Over the course of several sessions, we pulled that apart a little more. What else was happening around me? What early warning signs was my body giving me? How was I feeling just before it happened? What else could I do with those feelings?
It took a while to get used to watching my body so closely, but it's second nature now.
So when I got halfway through the 5th starting paragraph tonight and deleted it, for the fifth time, I was frustrated by what I couldn't say, frustrated that I had all these pieces that seemed perfectly meshed in my head only to dissolve as soon as my fingers started moving over the keyboard.
It's not just the pieces, the words. That tricky knot is not beautiful inside me. I can't tell you what its central ravelled strands are. My fingers on its exterior strands were making me too hot.
I got up and poured a shot of whisky. I stood by the sink, my back to the window. I put my nose in the glass, let the oily, peaty stink coat my throat. The edges of my nostrils burned lightly. I breathed, eyes closed. Felt my central nervous system sending off signals to shorten those muscle cells, raise that arm up, bring it down in a hard fist. I took another deep breath. A sip.
I sat back down. Took off my sweater. Started typing.