That is, to be powerless.” This appeal mapped largely onto illness: “Sadness and tuberculosis became synonymous,” she writes, and both were coveted. Susan Sontag has described the heyday of a “nihilistic and sentimental” nineteenth-century logic that found appeal in female suffering: “Sadness made one ‘interesting.’ It was a mark of refinement, of sensibility, to be sad.
Instead, I got so drunk I fell in the middle of Sixth Avenue and scraped all the skin off my knee.
Then you could see it, no T-shirt necessary—see , that bloody bulb under torn jeans, though you couldn’t have known what it meant.
” I guess I’m talking about it because it happened.
Photography by Robert Mc Keever.)" width="800" height="725" /he says. And on the other hand, I’m like, Why am I talking about this so much?
How do we talk about these wounds without glamorizing them?
Women still have wounds: broken hearts and broken bones and broken lungs.Without corroborating an old mythos that turns female trauma into celestial constellations worthy of worship?The moment we start talking about wounded women, we risk transforming their suffering from an aspect of the female experience into an element of the female constitution—perhaps its finest, frailest consummation.I have the faint bruise of tire tracks on the arch of my foot from the time it got run over by a car. He said, “You gotta come up with a better story than that.” Hating cutters crystallizes a broader disdain for pain that is understood as performed rather than legitimately felt.For a little while I had a scar on my upper arm, a lovely raised purple crescent, and one time a stranger asked me about it. It’s usually cutters who are hated (wound-dwellers! It’s the actual people who get dismissed, not just the verbs of what they’ve done.The ancient Greek Menander once said: “Woman is a pain that never goes away.” He probably just meant women were trouble, but his words hold a more sinister suggestion: the possibility that being a woman A friend of mine once dreamed a car crash that left all the broken pieces of her Pontiac coated in bright orange pollen.“My analyst pushed and pushed for me to make sense of the image,”she wrote to me, “and finally, I blurted: ‘My wounds are fertile! They yield scars full of stories and slights that become rallying cries.The boons of a wound never get rid of it; they just bloom from it. Perhaps a better phrase to use is , which is to say: the ways a wound can seduce, how it promises what it rarely gives.My friend Harriet put it like this: “Pain that gets performed is still pain.” So after all this, how can I tell you about my scars?” full of statements to be agreed or disagreed with: Gradations sharpen inside the taboo: Some cut from pain, others for show.Hating on cutters—or at least these cutter-performers—tries to draw a boundary between authentic and fabricated pain, as if we weren’t all some complicated mix of wounds we can’t let go of and wounds we can’t help, as if choice itself weren’t always some complicated mix of intrinsic character and agency. The answer, I think, is nothing satisfying—we do, and we don’t. I felt like I wanted to cut my skin, and my cutting was an expression of that desire.