Yesterday I finally saw “Straight Outta Compton”. I had been waiting, not so patiently, for this movie to come out. I know many people didn’t care for NWA’s music (misogyny, violence, etc…) but I was a huge fan. They were the first rap group from the west coast I got into. And it was very different from the rap and funk I had been exposed to.

For a white girl from the ‘burbs this was an entirely different America than I had ever seen. It opened my eyes to a world I was sheltered from. It showed me my white privilege, although at the time I did not know what that was, I only knew my life was different. It wasn’t just their sick beats (and they had that) it was the words, like beautiful poetry, that tapped in to something deep.

I surprised myself in the theater when I could still lip sync their songs almost word for word. Watching the movie was like reliving parts of my teen years. I remember their music getting banned. I remember parents so upset that they were a bad influence. I remember the news saying they were vulgar and leading the young people down a violent path. And damn! Too Short and 2 Live Crew weren’t even mainstream yet.

I remember some saying rap was a fad and we would outgrow it. I also remember those that reminded folks that many of those same things were said about Elvis Pressley back in his day. But what I remember most was these “poets” were people my age telling it how it was for them. They were sharing their lives and their experiences with the world.

I remember the Rodney King beating like it was yesterday. I remember the riots. I remember feeling sad and confused then angry and helpless. I remember thinking this cannot be happening in America.

It was about the time that NWA broke up that I officially changed from a republican to a democrat. It was around that time that I had become a mother. What I knew was that I wanted to live in a world where freedom of speech was accepted and people listened. I wanted a world where everyone was equal. I was tired of conservatives telling my generation how to think and feel. I was tired of inequality.

I am 44 years old and I still listen to rap. I introduced my children to rap music. Rap music. I remember when rap wasn’t considered music. I remember when rappers weren’t considered artists. They were beyond artists. They were poets that put their words to music. They changed a generation. They changed me.

I remember where I was when Eazy died. I cried in the theater yesterday and felt grateful I had the sense not to wear mascara. But what stood out most to me is that all these years later not much has changed. Almost 30 years after NWA was formed and 27 years after the song “Fuck tha Police” was released we still need the hashtag BlackLivesMatter.

I’m still just a white girl from the ‘burbs and I can empathize, I can listen, and I can be an ally but I will never know what it is like coming Straight Outta Compton. But I do have a voice and I can use it.

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.