Guilty Pleasures Part Three

As suggested by the titles of this post, there are two pre-existing parts to this saga that can be read here and here.

So guilty pleasures. There are many things in life that could be classified as guilty pleasures that really aren’t. For something to be a guilty pleasure, it does literally have to involved both amounts of guilt, and pleasure.
So for example, I enjoy watching makeup tutorials even though I don’t wear any makeup. A bit weird maybe, but there’s no guilt involved, so not a guilty pleasure.
Also for example, I tend to check emails and messages and then not reply to them for weeks. Not a lot of pleasure there, but plenty of guilt.

My third guilty pleasure is pushing the line a bit, but it’s one that I want to talk about.

So to recap, number one was narcissism. Number two was fag-haggery. And number three involves scissors.

Ladies and gentlemen, I sit before you today and confess that I have a bad habit. It’s one i picked up when I was fourteen or fifteen years old and going through a difficult time, and it’s one I have tried very hard to break over the years but to no avail. It’s one where the guilt certainly overrides the pleasure, but there’s still enough sick appeal for me to consider it my third guilty pleasure.

So, for those who haven’t worked it out yet, I used to cut.

I stress used to because i’ve been trying to give it up for, oh, about three years now. But it’s one of those things where it’s difficult to just put a full stop on it. I won’t do it for months at a time and then suddenly relapse when something horrible happens and I can’t deal with it.
It’s addictive, in it’s own way, which is why i classify it as a pleasure. But there is a lot of guilt involved as my resolve breaks down. Not only is letting down that side of me that knows this is bad and I need to stop, but then there’s the covering up, the lying, the scars.

I’ve never really talked about the cutting before in any serious way. I mean, I once confessed to my friends and to counsellors, which led to absolutely nothing and really didn’t help. But interestingly, no ones ever asked why. 

So, i’m going to tell you.

I used to cut myself because, like I said, I couldn’t deal with life. It wasn’t like I had anything particular to complain about. but the sadness and anger and frustration still gnawed away at me day after day after day. And on top of all these bad feelings, I was confused as to why i had them at all, and felt guilty about it because I felt i had no right to feel bad about anything. Like I said, for all intensive purposes, my life was great. It was just me who was the fuck up.

Cutting was, in the beginning, an expression of the things I couldn’t put the words to. I had no way of saying or coming to terms with how bad I felt, and so intentionally slicing my leg open with a pair of scissors was a way to make the hurt into something physical. Something I could understand and deal with.
On top of that, cutting was a punishment. Every time I screwed up in real life, was bad to a friend or said something stupid or let myself or others down, it was like a kind of relief. Instead of carrying around the guilt and embarrassment, here was one way I could let it go and feel justified.
Finally, it was a distraction. Cutting is a time consuming process. And to follow up, there’s coming up with excuses should anyone accidentally see it and ask questions, there’s patching up the wound so it heals faster, and the pain that goes on and on for days afterwards. Little things to focus on and think about. Simple things that could distract from dealing with every other bad feeling that I couldn’t explain.

This went on for months in total secrecy.

I started to grow up a bit more and got my first job, and with it my first sense of real responsibility. Jobs are great when you’re a teenager. A dispensable income, a purpose, a real skill set in the real world.
As I grew up a bit, dealing with the shit I was carrying around got to be a bit easier. Cutting had been a normal part of my life for so long that I hadn’t really stopped to consider whether I actually wanted to be doing it or not.

And when I did think about it, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to.

It was like being on autopilot. Something bad happened, so I reacted by cutting. Simple, elegant, but ineffective. Like any great drug or any addiction that’s ever existed ever, it stopped working so well over time and the simple fix wasn’t working anymore. And besides, at the end of the day, the bad thing was still there. I had just pulled the blinds down for a while.

I wanted to stop. I knew I had to if I was ever going to move on with life and be able to deal with things in a lasting way.

So I stopped, for about a month, and then had a relapse.

It’s a weird thing. As soon as you start trying to break a habit, you start missing it. My fall back reaction whenever I felt bad wasn’t there anymore, and I was missing it a lot.

It wasn’t like I had forgotten why I wanted to stop. It was more a case of having these cravings to do it again. I have no idea why.

And so began the past three years of relapsing and being determined to stop it for good.

I actually managed a full year in between my last two relapses. I cut myself once during the HSC when I was so stressed out I just couldn’t handle anything at all. And then a year later, about a week ago, I gave in and cut myself again.

This time there were various reasons. I’m not going to go into them right now, but I did give in for a moment there and now again, am utterly determined to never do it again.

With any luck, this time it will last.

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