Becoming a self-injurer does not require becoming insane, losing your mind, or joining a satanic cult.  It isn't a far step for one to take when one is in deep emotional pain.  Just as alcoholics drink their sorrows away, drug addicts snort theirs away, and eating disorders reveal a vast world of inner pain, the outside behaviour reflects the inside hurricane.  Scars, bruises, these things tell a story, of how we bleed, how we hurt, how we ache.  This has been my life for 9 years, on and off.  It is not a life I'd wish on anyone.  It provides no solution, no resolution.  But it has kept me alive through the time.  So I do not begrudge myself for choosing it over suicide.  If there is a lesson here, it is to not hold things inside until they threaten to explode.  Speak much.  Scream out loud.  Not on your skin.  If you struggle with this as I do, remember it will  not always hurt and we can overcome this.  Step by step.  Stain by Stain.

Step 1:  Bleed Emotionally

We twist and turn in our minds and emotions, as they envelop us, a thick blanket in a fiery summer night.  The emotions overwhelm and underwhelm in their overbearing presence or conspicuous absence.  They fade and roar, until we are slave to their tides.  When they relax we are free, as prisoners are allowed their free time to stretch outside in the constricted area defined by sun and metal.  You become a piece of decaying wood floating about, ebbing and flowing, rushing with the storms and waterfalls, the twists and diving. 

Step 2:  Bleed Mentally

Your mind begins to seep into an endless cycle as rhythmic and predictable as the beat of your heart.  No longer can you concentrate on essays and tests.  You are faced daily with a cacophony of your failures and transgressions, your every mistake, the world's every rejection.  The thoughts demand your time, your attention, and your blood.  You must comply.  You must obey, they say.  You must be punished.  Everything is out of your hands.  You can hear yourself screaming, but you look up to realize it is only in your head.  Outwardly, you are mute.  And you cannot part your lips.

Step 3:  Bleed Socially

Let's face it:  people only love you when you're happy usually.  The exceptions are few and far between.  While consumed in this endless chatter of emotional waves and a narrative of your bad points, friends begin to recoil.  Your words begin to stumble wrong through your lips.  You are left behind in the dust of parties and movie nights.  You cannot define what is wrong, nor can you explain why you think as you do.  Someone has switched the gears inside and now you operate just a little differently.  Isolation becomes your norm, and is preferred, because then you don't have to paint on a smile, pretend to care about boys and movies and music.  Because you don't.  You don't even care about yourself.

Your friends bleed away, trailing off into the world, leaving behind scabby reminders of who you were, and you wish you still were.  Because what you are now is foreign.  A stranger is in the mirror each morning, and you can feel the glass laughing at you.  It's so much safer with the lights off.

Step 4:  Bleed Spiritually

There is a point where the words hope and faith become meaningless, empty, shades of grey painted upon a black canvass.  There is a muffled sound of water about, and you know what it is.  It is water.  You are drowning in your own flesh.  And you struggle to swim, but do not know how.  Mommy and Daddy never prepared you for this swim, this nosedive into the abyss.  It is here where you see that you have been sentenced for being alive, and there is no parole.  None that you can see.  So you blow a kiss to the jailer and swallow the key.

Step 5:  Bleed Physically

It usually begins as an accident.  Or behaviour on a whim.  However it begins, it is alluring, tempting, forbidden fruit.  The delicate parting of flesh.  The eruption of purple and blue as fist meets thigh.  The swollen water stretching skin taut as the flame is withdrawn.  And you know it won't fix you.  But it quiets the roaring for even a moment.  And you need these moments.  Because if there were no moments of silence, you would go mad.  "A bright red scream", it has been called.  Being mute for so many years, it is relief to finally scream.  To finally have release.  But she comes with a price, this relief;  she demands submission to her will, to her demands.  And you make the deal, sell your soul.  It's not like you have much left to lose.  You are once again a slave, but now free time is dictated by you, and a blade.  A silver lining in dark cloud.  A crimson kiss.  Scarlet baptism.  

"Flesh to the curb...."

"Got a little red line that tells you, boy Where the razor's been"

Never Seen Blue - Tori Amos

"Well, how many troubles should equal a legitimate reason for self-mutilation? Ten? Twenty?  One hundred? And how monumental must these troubles be? There's probably no critical mass beyond which cutting yourself would ever seem, to most people, like a reasonable choice.  I cut because it did look that way to me. I cut because something had to give.  I cut because the alternatives were worse"

Skin Game - Caroline Kettlewell

"Wrists are for girls"

Ginger; Ginger Snaps


"Her mouth was an empty cut and she was waiting to fall

Just bleeding like a polaroid who lost all her dolls"

Coma White - Marilyn Manson

"I've spent so much time living in Survival Mode"

Precious Illusions - Alanis Morissette