I think everyone is allowed one vice in their life at a certain point of time. While most would argue that this is not a healthy, sane, or logical belief; it is mine and I stand by it. You have asked me to recently give up my one and only vice and I am struggling your request.
I am a cutter. Not of paper or of flowers (although I do enjoy both), but a cutter of my skin. I believe the political correct term is “Self-Injury”. My vice is my addiction, twenty years in the making. And let me remind you, I do not cut for attention or in an attempt to end my life. Some people chain smoke, I chain cut.
I first cut two decades ago while attending my first funeral. A small accidental scrape with a nail at my cousins funeral, my cousin who committed suicide. Yes, my first experience with a death in the family was a sixteen year old boy who ended his young life by jumping off a very tall structure. We were very close, an older brother figure who introduced me to grunge rock and taught me how to skip rocks. I didn’t know how to deal with the sadness I felt after his death, my heart felt numb. The nail was sharp and there was blood, but I did not cry. Instead of pain there was this amazing release that went though my body and I finally was able to feel.
Time passed and a small nail became a razor. A scrape became a five-inch scar. An accident became a craving. The incident would be later described by my therapist as my “Self-Injury Root”.
I don’t how it got to this point. I had an amazing childhood with two loving parents. I did well thought my entire school career. I had and still have many supportive friends. I am successful in my occupation. I contribute to my community and the organizations I am so passionate about. Yet I struggle with an addiction that is not accepted by main stream society.
And now you walk into my life and ask me to face my addiction. You ask me to stop a behavior that has gotten me through heartbreak, rejection, and extreme stress.
You may be asking for too much.