Cut It Up Fella - 10.06.97|
During the fall semester of my senior year of college, I had a bit of an epiphany. It was brought about by a lot of stupidity on my part, as well as a bit of over-reacting. At the time it happened, I had a lot of things on my mind. I was worrying about whether I was going to try and go to graduate school and therefore, whether I was going to take the GRE or not. On the other side of the coin, I was already starting to have serious worries about finding a job after I graduated. I had also hit a bit of a creative slump in my photography class and was seriously wondering whether I could keep up with what I needed to get done to graduate. On top of all that, my social life was in a total deep blue funk.
One Friday night, I was sitting in my room doing some homework and trying to figure out whether I would go out and do anything. I had some heavy brooding music on and I was in one of those unexplainable bad moods. I sat in front of my computer, writing away, but not really even paying attention to the words that I was typing. A few of my good friends started coming in and talking, asking me whether I was going to do anything. I answered them halfheartedly, hoping they would get the point that I really didn't want to do anything. Eventually, though, everyone was standing in my room laughing and talking.
When I look back on how I reacted to everything, it totally makes me wonder what I was thinking. It was one of those classic, "king of pain" situations where I was upset and wanted everyone to know it. After a few minutes of hearing laughing and avoiding questions, I stood up, turned around and told everyone to just go ahead and leave. They asked what I was upset about, but even I didn't know for sure. I just kept repeating my original statement over again until everyone filtered out. Looking back, I know that it was an internalization of fears and questions that I kept puttting off. Instead of sitting down and figuring things out as they came to me, I pushed them aside and thought I would be able to fix them easier at a later point in time.
As soon as everyone had left, I locked the door and went over and turned up my stereo, hoping that my selection would help to dispell some of the tension that was mounting. Instead, though, I found myself singing along like some angstful junior-high schooler, and getting even more upset with myself. After realizing how silly I was being, I plopped down on my bed and could feel my eyes welling up. Some of the tension was released, but I still felt completely keyed up. Thinking I had the answer, I went over to my desk drawer and pulled out an old, dull X-acto knife.
I had no intentions of killing myself, but I rationalized that some physical pain might take away some of the mental pain I had built up. I lifted up my shirt and found a nice spot just above my waistline. Without even thinking, I just started slicing away. When I had finished, all I had to show was a small, geometric design of no particular meaning. It wasn't that large, and I didn't cut that deep, but it did hurt quite a bit. After looking at it for awhile, I also realized that I was no longer nearly as uptight. My theory for dispersing my pain had worked.
It was also at this time that I had a good laugh. I realized how completely overboard I had gone in my brooding. Yes, I had a few things to work out, but it wasn't anything life threatening. I was a 22-year old college student with a few questions, that was all. I had the majority of my life ahead of me and it was completely wasteful for me to devote so much time to simply worrying about things. In the evening that I had spent wallowing, I could have easily gotten many more things done. Again I turned to my little creation and decided that it would now have a purpose. It would serve as a reminder to not let situations become problems. By dealing with things as they came up, I could hopefully keep them from becoming anything more. Even if problems did arise, I would try to attack them right away, instead of simply complaining about them and allowing them to fester up.
After a cheesy moment of self assurance, I got that X-acto knife out again. If I was going to remember this as a moment at all, my cuts were going to have to be a bit deeper. I slid the blade over each mark a couple more times to really get the blood flowing. After several minutes of wiping it off with a cloth, I taped a small piece of gauze over it and decided to make the best of the remaining evening.