I have no vision of the future for myself, if indeed I do survive to see it, she says matter-of-factly. I have no ambitions or career plan, and reject the idea of marriage and procreation. I don’t feel I have a useful work- or sexual-self, two things that seem essential to normal adult functioning. I don’t feel I have anything to offer people, although I know I am intelligent and creative. — a cutter from A Bright Red Scream
“You know she has to assume the identity of everyone she’s dating.”
That’s a good friend of mine talking about his sister. She has certainly come far. I remember her going from long black pants and dangling chains to wearing camo and shooting off guns. Her skin doesn’t just shed away, it’s like a chameleon reassembling in a completely different environment. It’s really quite something and even surreal when you take a seat and look through journals and trace the lines. Here’s where we came from and here’s where we are now.
We like to think we don’t change, but we do. We sometimes feel stuck, but we’re never really cohesive. I’ve only been around Scott for a week, but I’ve already noticed how my voice has taken on new qualities. It’s picked up some of his mannerisms. My sister called attention to the hard “k” sounds in my “likes.” I hadn’t noticed. I’m slowly absorbing his power.
I’ve been congratulated for sticking to my own colors. Being a beige blot in purple. Not copying or adapting when I’m thrown into a new pattern. I’m not sure at which age we start to become more like mosaics and quilt our own patches, but I wish it were soon.
I haven’t been writing much, but I have been reading a psychology book on self-mutilation, A Bright Red Scream. I was browsing my boyfriend’s bookshelves and it caught my eye immediately. He said I could bring it home. I’ve always been curious about cutters and why they injure themselves. Although I have known some of their issues, I don’t know the intimate relationship with self-inflicted pain like they do. I’ve never had a desire to self-injure, even on my darkest days. Suicidal thoughts seem to come from a different place, where you just want complete erasure, not stability and reintegration. It seems to me more about catharsis, and trying to articulate things which can’t be articulated.
In the book, is this quote: “For most people, tears, not blood, are the language of the body.”
When tears are gone and the pain still remains, blood is the next step up. I was not so sure about all this though - I am only one person with my own particular feelings. I am glad there are books to help us understand.
I woke up to an acceptance letter today. A story of mine will be published in the forthcoming issue of PANK. I really love them, so this is quite exciting. It is also timely, since my story is, incidentally, about quiet self-destruction. Self-destruction and family dynamics. From all the trauma I’ve been reading about, I wanted to supply an unsung story where the trauma isn’t so evident.
Maybe I’ll try to write a happy story next.