How My Tattoos Help ‘Heal’ My Scars

New article was published on The Mighty today! My second with them. 😀

themighty

Always Recovering, Never Recovered | World of Psychology

Thanks to psychcentral for publishing my piece on self-harm!

‘Always recovering, never recovered.’ A simple sentence that can be a harsh reminder. And that’s not to say your efforts or how far you’ve gotten were for naught, but to keep getting back up when you do fall. I’ve learned over the years, of course, that it’s extremely important to know you are not alone. Others are struggling and surviving alongside with you and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ve always had a difficult time accepting the shame part. I’m very back-and-forth on my scars. On one hand, they’re a reminder of what not to do, proof I’ve held on this long. But on the other hand, I hate them. They’re a reminder that I was ever so weak to do such a stupid thing, and now I have to live with the physical proof. The amount of shame and guilt I’ve dealt with not only from myself, but a few loved ones as well, breaks my heart. I can’t help but feel they’re ashamed of me; of knowing me, being who they are to me, as they tell me to cover them up like a dirty secret. Maybe they don’t

Source: Always Recovering, Never Recovered | World of Psychology

Vol. 3.1

I am so excited and honoured to be featured in this issue of Untethered. It’s my first publishing in print – thank you to everyone at Untethered for including me! ❤

Forthcoming August 2016   Editors’ Note Dear Reader, In this issue you will find the body controlled, imprisoned, misunderstood, judged, failing, starved, bound, raped, disappo…

Source: Vol. 3.1

Scars Are Souvenirs You Never Lose

“Scars are souvenirs you never lose; the past is never far.” IMG_20151021_190542734 2
From my art journal – “Name” by the Goo Goo Dolls.
I grew up listening to this band. Name had always been one of my favourite songs, but it wasn’t until I started self-harming that it took on a whole new meaning for me, became one of the most special songs in my heart to this day.

I’m very back-and-forth on my scars. On one hand, they’re a reminder of what not to do again, proof I’ve held on this long. But on the other hand, I fucking hate them – they’re a reminder that I was ever so weak to do such a stupid thing, and now I have to live with the physical proof.

IMG_20160611_155332824 2
“Cut” by Plumb.
“I’m not a stranger – no, I am yours. With crippled anger and tears that still drip sore. I may seem crazy or painfully shy. And these scars wouldn’t be so hidden if you would just look me in the eye. […] but the only anesthetic that makes me feel anything kills inside.”
Another song that’s in that special, tragic place in my heart. I remember so vividly the first time I ever heard it. It was just a few months after my parents found out about my self-harming, in 2006, 12 years old. The way they reacted and dealt with it was totally wrong. And hearing this song for that first time just broke me, saying what I couldn’t.

tumblr_n0wsx4BzVH1qlccb8o1_1280
And of course, this quote from The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.
“What are you doing here, honey? You’re not even old enough to know how bad life gets.”
“Obviously, doctor, you’ve never been a thirteen year old girl.” 

And over the last decade I’ve relapsed and just keep adding to them. Like I said – always recovering, never recovered. 

I’m never not aware of them. I never forget. Some days are easier to deal with – like, this is me, this is my body and my scars and it’s okay because I’m still here. Some days, I just want to hide, they’re ugly and forever a part of me and I hate them.

I don’t want to be ashamed of myself; my mental illness, my body. Every day is a fight to do the right thing.

I am in recovery. I am a work in progress. And I’m still working on being okay with that.

Self-Harm: Always Recovering, Never Recovered

recovery

I don’t remember the exact moment, but I know it changed me irrevocably. Obviously.

I was 12 the first time I cut myself. And I’ve been in this war of relapse and recovery ever since.

It wasn’t until last year that I realized that it’s an addiction. 10 years of this unhealthy relationship and I was only now seeing it for what it was. I even asked my family doctor about it, and she shared the same sentiments.

And it may sound so obvious but think about it – is it ever referred to as an addiction?

We turn to it in the most desperate moments because it offers a relief, if only for a moment. A relief that’s always temporary. And then you always crave it. Even years later into recovery, it’s there in the back of your mind. Every day is a fight to do the right thing and stay clean or sober.

If we talked about self-harm as an addiction, maybe it would help people understand it better, understand those who struggle with it better.

IMG_20151021_190542734 - Copy - Copy

“We couldn’t imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins; the emptiness and the calm.” 

This quote, in one of my art journals, is from one of my favourite books – The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s a beautifully tragic story and the words have resonated with me in a way not many things have.

Self-harm is a part of who I am, whether I like it or not. I will always be in recovery. I have to make peace with that.