I ripped out a piece of cuticle yesterday, something I haven’t done for weeks. Amazingly, I haven’t picked at myself for a while–until yesterday. As I reached for the flap of skin, I thought–oh, I’ll just pull it off. But when I felt the pain, I knew I had done something wrong, something that I really did not want to do.
For years, I’ve been tearing at my cuticles, my feet, my pimples, my split ends, my scabs and anything that I can find on my body that could possibly come off. I’ve also done some more serious things, which I discuss in my manuscript The Autobiography of a Sea Creature.
In my life, self-mutilation, or “self-harming” as a friend put it, is connected to the early surgery. I keep opening up my skin and dealing with the aftermath. It’s a way of touching base with the early unresolved trauma, a way of dealing with something that has yet to be finished. When one is unresolved about an issue, the body has a way of bringing our attention to it again and again. With our actions, we are crying out for closure. We are saying, we have yet to understand and integrate what has happened to us. And we want to.