Self Injury: Beyond the Scars

Guest Post by Catherine Terranova

I found Jenny very accidentally, or rather I thought so. Turns out, GOD has bigger plans than what I can see.

I was looking through Craigslist postings for writing gigs and up popped Jenny’s call for scar stories in the list. I was intrigued so I sent her an email. We set up to meet, in a VERY public setting. My husband tagged along “just in case” and there it was that I unfolded the testimony of my scars and, ultimately, of me.

Sipping on our coffees and laughing and in turn leaning in for quiet details, at a distance we looked like old friends catching up.

You wouldn’t stop to think I was laying out for her a bloody map of my battle with self-injury.

I have hundreds of scars. About 75 percent of my scars hide – skillfully camouflaged by my equally fair skin. Staying out of the sun keeps them there. The rest can be covered, except for those on my upper arms. Their even, parallel lines are the most visible. My intense discomfort with sleeves doesn’t help.

It has come to my attention recently that they aren’t just encouraging proof I made it my twenty-three years without succeeding to kill myself or collapsing into a complete dissociative state. My scars are like mile markers on a journey.

Self injury is so much more encompassing than hurting the flesh. Humans engage in self injury all the time, but simply lack the vocabulary to call it thus.

Checking an ex’s Facebook, texting things you’ll regret, compulsive and reckless behavior is SELF INJURY. You can hurt yourself without breaking skin.

I know I do. I have found insidious ways to torture myself that didn’t involve cutting at all. They were easier to hide, more culturally acceptable. When I stopped cutting it was just a victorious wayside on a trail that continued; a placard reading, “Here the battle over cutting was won”.

We often refer to emotional scars, which I have found to be more painful than any raised scar tissue on my body. This is the aftermath of self-injury.

Hurting yourself is bad. You know when you have too. The guilty, sinking feeling that you could have said no; could have chosen to not click on that, watch that, listen to that.

I can say I used to cut myself.

I don’t do it anymore. My loving husband checking for things like that can sometimes be the only reason, but I don’t. I was never loved well. (Until Jesus, but that’s another story). So I am having to learn how to love myself.

Being kind to Cathy, to me, is the hardest thing for a self-destructive person like me to do. But I’ve gotten help and it’s getting easier.

Getting to call them my scars and not my wounds is proof of that.

To hear more of Cathy’s story you can check out her blog:

In and Out: And Other Useful Breathing Techniques

Her book, “Before the Dawn”, is available online at

Follow her on Twitter @CaffySupernova

Or keep up with her artistic ventures via Facebook

Rosanna Guillot

Create You, 10036 Beacon Pond Lane, Burke, VA, 22015, United States

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