For years we have been hearing about people who cut themselves. I had always heard about these folks as troubled “girls” who were upset for giving “it” away and they were now replacing sex with razor blades to their bodies. That they were so ashamed for being sluts they needed to be punished.

I found this explanation confusing.

I have never used a razor blade to cut myself but I have been self-harming for years. And it isn’t because I am ashamed at how many men I have slept with. Lost count of that number years ago, but I am good with my sexual conquests.

self-harmI grew up in abuse. I grew up with if you made a mistake you were punished with pain. As a grownup I have struggled with how to deal with disappointing people and making mistakes. Once pain is inflicted I know that I have atoned for my mistake. Without the physical pain I am left with the emotion of having failed and I don’t know what to do with it.

I have spent years giving my time and my money to atone for not being a perfect human being. But that feels like things I should already be doing. That does not atone for my not being perfect.

I went over a decade without self harm. Then I got involved in the atheist movement. I was OK with being bombarded with the hate from the religious right. It was the hate, disappointment and the letting down of people within the atheist movement that started my self-harm again.

I am in my mid 40s and the damage done to me as a child still affects me. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel alone. It makes me feel small. And yet there is this tiny voice in my head that keeps fighting. It is the emails and fb messages I get from those that have come out of religion that make me fight harder. I may be damaged, but I have a voice.

I do not want to self harm anymore. I want to be OK that I disappoint or fail. I want to accept that I will never be perfect or please everyone.

I want to give myself some slack and say, it is OK.

I am tired of people saying that people who self harm only do it for attention. I’ve constantly worked at being a better person and I’ve the scars to prove it.

I self harm and this has been my secret for over 4 decades.