The other day I was scrolling through tumblr and saw a picture of one of those butt scooter things that used to be so popular in elementary/middle school gym classes and I had a moment of realization: I've been purposefully hurting myself for longer than I originally thought.
You see, I have always had this notion that I started hurting myself in the spring when I was 12 years old because that was the first time that I cut myself and I have been cutting and burning ever since. The other day I realized that I can only say the cutting and burning started when I was 12, but the purposeful hurting of myself in other ways had been going on for a lot longer than that. And the sad thing is, if I really look back and start to think about when I started, truly started, self harming: I was in the third grade. I was 8 years old. I was a child. And that hurts my heart to realize that little me was hurting so badly inside that she turned to hurting herself, it also means that this struggle has been going on for a lot longer than 7 years, its been going on for 11.
But how did I come to this conclusion based solely on a picture of a butt scooter that I used maybe twice in gym classes from the 3rd grade on?
Because of the comment on the picture. The comment was joking about the "broken fingers" that you would get from riding these things because they were actually pretty hazardous and it reminded me of something. You see, when I was remembering using these scooters the first memory that came to mind was how I would always purposefully roll over my fingers, I liked how much it hurt. I would roll over my fingers, I would let others roll over my fingers, I purposefully caught my fingers so that they would get hurt by these butt scooters. And as those memories came back I started to remember playing recklessly in the playground and not caring if I fell or got hurt, how I would dare boys to hit me and give myself Indian Burns and how one time I got a girl to kick me in the ankle hard enough and enough times that I limped for a day. Starting in the 3rd grade I began to stop caring about getting hurt, I literally asked for it and if I didn't get it I would do things where I would get hurt on purpose. These actions are technically self harm, but not in the conventional way and not something that I ever thought of as self harm until I really looked back and evaluated things. If anything these actions were indications that I only had a matter of time until I turned to cutting myself, which I ended up doing in the 7th grade. And then Junior year I almost killed myself cutting and haven't cut since, but couldn't handle the pain so I began to burn myself. All of this can be traced back to these reckless actions, to these years of literally asking for pain and looking for pain, to the year I moved schools and started to feel like I was completely alone.