Puking, shaking, sinking, I still stand for old ladies. Can't shout, can't scream, hurt myself to get pain out.
Remember that thankfully brief period just after the turn of the millennium when nu-metal/rap-metal seemed to be all conquering? How could anyone possibly forget? Such was the success of perhaps the standard bearers of the ill-fated movement, Limp Bizkit, that Fred Durst's band contributed the main theme to Mission Impossible 2. Then there was Slipknot, Papa Roach, KoRn, Puddle of Mudd, and most importantly for this piece, Linkin Park.
Ah, Linkin Park. Crawling, In the End and all the rest are classics of the period, in they're perfect distillations of what the especially angsty side of nu-metal was all about. Previous generations of rebellious teenagers heard music that tended to suggest they either direct their anger outward, or better still, created the conditions which enabled them to create their own new sub-culture, somewhere they could belong. This isn't to say those into the heavier side of usually American rock didn't have their own cliques, and in my neck of the words we called those who belonged to it or dressed in the style grebos, but I digress. Nu-metal seemed different in that it suggested the best way to deal with the loneliness and pain of being a teenager was to direct it against yourself. At least, that's what it seemed at the time. When the chorus of Crawling is "crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal", why would anyone think differently?
If I haven't made it clear before, I was more than a bit of a dickbag until not long after this period (who am I kidding, I still am). What could be more enjoyable then than a spot of trolling Linkin Park fans? Whether this was an official site or not I now can't recall; what I do is there were plenty of other teenagers the band did speak to, and they were incredibly easy to wind up/upset. Before the banhammer came down, plenty of forum threads were duly derailed, much personal shit was mocked, and self-harm especially made light of. Kill yourselves. Do it properly. Slice up and not across.
At the time I hadn't realised the sadness I felt, the self-loathing I was beginning to truly experience and the longing for things to stay the same meant I had far more in common with these kids than I would have ever admitted. I didn't know I had been depressed, was depressed, would become more so. It was just angst, typical hormonal stuff, nothing more; I'd get over it.
Karma doesn't exist, couldn't possibly, not least when so many of those deserving will never get their comeuppance, but all I had dished out, not just online obviously, came back and far more besides. So it was that probably only a year and a half later I started using a knife against myself. Irony of ironies. Hypocrite of hypocrites. Where I got the idea I don't know; extremely rarely does someone begin to self-harm completely of their own volition. Perhaps it was from a friend I spoke to over the internet who had told me he had cut himself. Maybe I thought it would give some kind of release, divert my attention from thinking about everything else to a real, physical injury. It could have been I wanted to prove just how "4 real" I was. As usual, probably a mixture of all three.
Except, thankfully in retrospect, I wasn't very good at it. Not that I didn't try. I even bought a Stanley knife from a market stall so as to keep from blunting the kitchen cutlery (jokes). Surprisingly, cutting yourself hurts. Who knew, right? It didn't however have any real effect on me. It didn't distract me. It didn't make me feel better. All it did was leave lines of not much more than scratches on my arm. It was addictive though, and I kept doing it for a while. For some people, it clearly does help. There was controversy a while back about providing adult patients with a "safe" environment where they could self-harm, on the same principle as allowing addicts to inject. If it's a first step in getting those with a severe problem to stop, then it's worth a go.
When you cut yourself, you aren't thinking of the future. You exist only in the moment. In my case I didn't think I had a future anyway. I certainly didn't imagine that 11 years later the scars would still be all too visible, a constant reminder of how fucking stupid you were, you still are. As I've made clear, I never cut too deep, with the possible exception of the mark dead centre, where I gouged as much as slashed. Here's the warning, kids: if you think cutting will solve something, anything, know that you will bear it for a long, long time, even if you're a wuss like I was. Sure, you could cover the marks with a tattoo (if that is the damaged skin can be covered), but it will have to be a pretty damn big one, we're talking almost a full sleeve, and they cost money, money that could definitely be spent on better things. Besides, is a tattoo going to make the difference that matters the most, the one to you, when you know what it's hiding? Plus trust me, while a tiny minority of people might like scars, they won't appreciate those where it's apparent how the injury happened.
See, I was wrong about Linkin Park. Not about them being shite, natch, especially when everyone could have been listening to say, Relationship of Command instead. Rather it's that the lyrics, regardless of what you think about them, meant something to those people at a time when it mattered. When they needed to know someone else had gone through what they were, were thinking the same way they might have been, a popular beat combo filled the role. Looking at the mainstream in 2014, about the only person telling teens to be themselves and not to worry about being different is, err, Lady Gaga. How times change.
Labels: Linkin Park, music, non-politics, personal shit, self-harm