I Get It

The #cut4zayn “trend” is something I can understand. I don’t mean turning it into a trend. But I understand being upset enough to react in a self-destructive way. I’ve self-injured off-and-on for most of my life. 

But the first time I cut myself? It was related to a boyband. 

In May of 2000, I had tickets to go to Nashville to see *NSYNC with my dad and Stephanie. I had had a hell of a time getting these tickets. Ticketmaster’s site didn’t work the morning they went on sale. I guess it was overcapacity. I thought I wouldn’t get to go because there were reports that all of the stadiums were sold out. I was disappointed, especially because this was my favorite group and I had missed a chance the previous summer to see their amphitheater tour. I was determined to see them. 

I took a chance at Blockbuster a night shortly after the website snafu happened and was able to get the three that way. 

The week before the concert, I got in trouble for not cleaning my bedroom. I know. I know. That’s a sort of pathetic thing to get in trouble for, right? Well, I did, and my mom said I wouldn’t be allowed to go to the concert. 

In that otherwise forgettable moment, something broke. Like I said, self-injury was not unusual for me, but I’d never done something as serious or dangerous as cutting. Mainly it had been superficial. Even the cutting that night was pretty tame. 

But, as superficial as it was, it helped clear my mind.1

I shouldn’t have done it. My mom changed her mind a little while later. I was still allowed to go to the concert. And I had a wound on my leg that I had to take care of and keep hidden because I knew that what I had done would be something that could get negative attention. So I obsessively cleaned it with antiseptic spray, pulled shorts down to cover it or just wore pants, and told no one. 

Aside from the cleaning, I did the worst thing you can do after hurting yourself: I hid it. And that led to guilt and stress, which made every little thing in life that much harder to deal with. I didn’t tell anyone until December of that year that I cut. And even after that I kept details quiet. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I shouldn’t have felt that, but I did. Because that’s part of self-injury. 

Cutting myself in May 2000 changed a lot about my self-injuring habits. It didn’t change what was really causing the SI, which wasn’t really the concert–just like I suspect Zayn leaving isn’t causing the cutting by the 1D fans. What led to that one bad act for me was a lot more complicated than being kept from a concert.

I’m not going to joke about the people who self-harm over Zayn. I’m not going to judge them. I’m going to hope that they get help if they’re serious about wanting to harm themselves. I’m also going to hope anyone who promotes cruelty or mockery over that sort of reaction gets some help. 

  1. I’m not saying that as a challenge or as a way to encourage any person to self-harm. 

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.