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Kat 2d
You say,
Why would you hurt yourself on purpose?
Are you crazy? 
And then you presume 
To know everything about me 
To know the person 
Whose scars paint a picture 
Of her pain 
Whose wounds 
Weep the thousands of tears 
She secretly sheds 
Whose swollen arms 
And black and blue bruises 
Breathe "I need help" 
But I am too afraid 
To ask 

You say,
Self-harm is a cry for attention 
But if I wanted attention 
I would not be trying 
To cover up the chaos 
I have created 
With long sleeves 
And longer lies 
Bury the bruises 
Behind excuses like 
"It was my cat"
Or "I fell while exercising" 
If I wanted attention 
I would bare my wounds proudly 
Display them for the world to see 
To judge me as they see fit 
Like you do now 
But why would I want attention 
When I fear judgement most of all
When my self-confidence is so eroded 
I want to disappear
Into the depths of the earth 
Live under layers
Of long-dead dreams 
So that I can no longer hurt anyone 
Or be hurt by anyone 
Again 

You say,
Self-harm is a phase 
I should have grown out of it 
By now 
But I am not just
Some angsty "emo" teenager 
Who cuts to fit in 
Or to be cool 
I do not just cut 
And besides 
Cutting is not just for teenagers 
Yes, I started in high school 
But I have used this as a coping strategy 
So many times by now 
That I do not know how to cope 
Without it 

You say,
People who self-harm are twisted 
They find happiness in hurting themselves 
But please don't call me a monster 
Who thirsts for the sight of my own blood 
Don't mistake my self-preservation
For pleasure 
I do this because I hurt too much 
Hate myself too much 
This is my only way to survive 
Cause I want to die 
But I don't want to die so badly 
That I have stopped trying to live 

You say,
Why would you do this?
Are you insane? 
And then you presume 
To know everything about me 
But you don't know anything 
At all
I no longer self-harm, but I wrote this poem from the perspective of someone who started when I did and continued long into adulthood. I know people's reasons for and experiences with self-harm vary and I don't want to generalize, merely to try and dispel some of the myths and the judgements that surround it.
Kat 4d
After senior year of high school
I stopped playing violin.
I should backtrack –
It was during that year
That my music changed --
Lost its carefreeness,
Its confidence,
Its spark,
And I no longer savored
Every measure
Or laughed
At every sound
My bow made
When I messed up.

Instead
I tried to be quiet;
To play so that no one
Would hear my mistakes,
So that no one
Would hear
How course,
How callous
My music had become,
Noticing every flaw,
Laughing at the musician
I had turned into.
I tried to be quiet;
But whenever I tried
My hands shook like timbers
In an earthquake
That have lost
Their foundations;
My bow scratched at the strings
Like nails on glass;
My chords were weak,
My melody tenuous,
And with each withering note
I felt so ******* ashamed.
I was no longer proud of my music.
It no longer made me happy
To try and play
Properly,
And instead of sounding better
I sounded even worse
Than I had before.

So after senior year ended
I stopped playing violin,
Put down the instrument
I thought I’d never touch again.
I thought,
What use in playing
When the only music I could make
Was pain?
Why play when I felt
Like it was useless to play at all?
When it took so much effort?
When I was too ******* tired
To remember
What real music sounded like,
And besides,
How would anyone
Ever find my music beautiful?

So I waited in a darkness
Where melodies
Were replaced
With the sounds of my sobs;
Where dancing notes
On white paper
Were replaced with tears
Running down pale cheeks;
Where the passion that permeated
Each song I played
Was replaced with an **** apathy.
This is the time
When my music stopped,
And time ticked by
With the consistency of a metronome
While my foundations crumbled,
Caved in,
Collapsed,
Leaving me wishing
For an end.
Cause even when you feel alone,
If you can still make music
You can still find a reason
To hope;
But I couldn't make music
Anymore.

I got through
This darkness.
I found music again,
Found my melody --
Found it in the sound of laughter,
In the lulls of a new language,
In the pure white
Of mountain snow,
In the soft moist earth
Of forest paths;
I found my music,
I picked up my violin again
And this time
The music was happy,
Happier
Than it ever was before
Because I was so ******* happy
To be alive.
And this time,
There were no expectations
Except that I learn to play
The music I love
Again.

It got worse again
I should have known it would have.
But now
When I am feeling even a bit
Like I did then,
I turn to music.
I pick up my violin
From its case,
Caress its faded edges,
Finger its silver strings,
Dust its worn, warm wood;
I play
My friends’ smiles
My family’s hugs
My professors’ jokes;
I play songs of love
And loss;
I play life
In its carefree curious complexity,
And even if I grow tired,
I never again decide to quit
For good;
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned,
It’s that I should never
Stop playing.
Kat Jan 14
I have dealt
With various injuries
And mental illnesses
And I've learned
That they are
Similar
In many ways

For instance
Sometimes
It is too painful to get out of bed
In the morning
Doesn't matter
If the pain
Is more emotional
Than physical
Sometimes
You won't be able to leave the house
Or see your friends
Or workout at the gym
For a very long time
You can hurt
Even when you don't appear
To be
And you can feel damaged
Long after
The main damage
Has been done
People will ask you
Are you better yet?
And you will wish
With all your heart
That the answer
Wasn't no

Why then
Are sufferers
Of a broken bone
Or a pulled muscle
Taken seriously
Because their injury
Can be seen
On an x-Ray
Or an MRI
While sufferers
Of mental illness
Are treated like they are the ones
At fault
Ignored
When they are hurting
Told
That they are crazy
Discouraged from asking for help
Because asking for help
Equates to weakness
If you live in my country
You've probably heard the myths:
People with depression are lazy
Anorexia is only for rich white girls
People with schizophrenia are dangerous
OCD is all about being tidy
Self-harm is a cry for attention
The list goes on
And on

I wish
I could tell the societies
That perpetrate these myths
How much they hurt
The ones
Who most need their help
The ones
Who are too afraid
To try therapy
Because they think it will show
They can't deal on their own
The ones
Who are too scared
To get accommodations
At work
Because they are afraid
Of being judged
The ones
Who feel broken
When they don't feel brave
The ones
Who tell people
They are dealing with the pain
Of a sprained ankle
But don't talk about
Their anxiety-filled days
And nightmare-filled nights
I wish I could tell
All the people
Dealing with this  
That they are not alone

I wish
I could change
This narrative
Dismantle
These stereotypes
But I don't have the courage
To talk in detail about my experiences
With anyone
But my closest friends
To correct people
When they make a statement
About depression
Or anxiety
Or eating disorders
Or self harm
Or suicidal thoughts
Without exposing
My own insecurities
To advocate
On a larger level
For people
Who have it much worse
Than I do
I hope
That in the future
I will
But for now
Sharing my poems
Will have to be enough
Kat Jan 14
I never knew 
I was so afraid of depression 
Until my anxiety 
And my medical problems 
And my memories
Made me feel
Like I have lost control 
Again; 
Made me feel 
Like I am falling
Once more,
Plummeting towards a pit 
Of doubts and despair,
Grasping at what I can,
Trying to climb back up.
It is so much easier to fall 
Than to climb.

At least 
I am doing better 
Than before.
Cause before,
I grasped at self-hatred and solitude,
Silence and simulated serenity,
But they left gashes on my arms,
Bruises on my legs,
Scars on my skin.
They did not leave me 
Unharmed,
And they slowly 
Gave way 
As I careened 
Down.

At least now 
I grasp at the hands 
That reach to catch me,
To help me back up.
I tell myself 
That this is better;
At least if I fall 
Someone will see me 
And know 
How much I tried 
To save myself,
To scale these cliffs 
That seem to grow higher 
Every day.
Cause I never knew 
How much effort it took 
Just to stay happy;
Just to stay on the top of this ravine
Without slipping 
And finding myself 
Where I once was.

But I hope 
That now 
My body is stronger.
I can pull myself back up.
I do not have to do it 
Alone.
And maybe one day 
I will find myself again 
Staring back down into this pit,
Gaping black and bottomless
With defeat and broken dreams.
I will think,
How could I ever have let myself 
Fall so far?
And I will know 
That I climbed up once;
If I ever 
Find myself falling,
I can do it 
Again.
Cause it is so much easier to fall 
Than to climb,
But I am a better climber 
Than I could ever know.
  Jan 13 Kat
Alex B
Someone stole my color
And threw it to the wind
Scattered like ashes
I don’t know if I’ll ever find it

Someone stole my color
From the face I know so well
I saw it in the cotton candy clouds
And the teal ocean swell

Someone stole my color
I guess that’s where it went
The world looks so much brighter
Like something heaven-sent

Someone stole my color
And that’s what no one knows
Depression isn’t black
It’s the color of a rose

It’s the light orange in a sunset
And the yellow of a peach
Light blue, my favorite color
So simply out of reach

Purple like my favorite eyeshadow
No, lavender, I’d guess you’d say
And my favorite music artist
Although he has passed away

Someone stole my color
Now everything’s too bright
I suppose sometimes darkness
Isn’t the opposite of light

Someone stole my color
So I’ll wear grey and black
As if in mourning
Until I get it back
Kat Jan 13
I used to care nothing 
About fashion 
But then 
I began to wonder if 
Each outfit I wore 
Could portray a facet 
Of my personality 
Symbolize the aspect 
I'd choose to showcase 
On a particular day 

For instance 
Sometimes I wear
Black skinny jeans 
Grey belted coat that falls past my knees
Blue flowered blouse
Boots that can weather a normal day
But are not very good 
At dealing with extremes 
On these days I feel confident,
As in, I feel comfortable and beautiful 
At the same time 
As in, I'm trying to fit in by looking stylish
Without looking too frilly 
And it's working 
As in, people will assume
My mind is just as put-together 
As my outfit 

Sometimes I wear 
Green pocket-covered cargo pants 
Sporty jacket
Black T-shirt 
Hiking boots
On these days I feel powerful,
As in, I'm trying not to look feminine
The way society defines it
As in, men won't cat-call me
As I walk through the streets 
As in, people will believe
I am just as strong mentally 
As I am physically
Adventurous and ready to tackle
Any obstacle 

Sometimes I wear a
Tight-fitting dress
Fancy earrings
Sparkly high-heeled shoes
When the occasion requires it
On these days I feel powerless,
As in, I do not feel comfortable
In my skin right now 
As in, people will watch me for my body
Instead of for my words 
As in, people will think
I am as awkward
As I appear

Sometimes I wear 
Loose-fitting stretchy pants 
Mismatched socks 
An old sweatshirt 
Ragged running shoes 
On these days I feel worn-out,
As in, I worry too much
What others think of me  
As in, I didn't have the energy
To pick out a stylish outfit 
As in, I don't care if people wonder if 
My emotions are as chaotic 
As my clothes 
Because I know it's true 

But the truth is
I can feel confident 
And comfortable 
And beautiful 
And stylish 
And put-together 
And powerful 
And strong 
And adventurous 
And powerless
And awkward 
And worn-out
And tired 
And chaotic
Every day  
At the same time
And most times  
I can wear whatever I want
Regardless of what people think
And I don't need an outfit 
To showcase my personality 
Or to make me feel 
Like my mind is in the place 
I want it to be 
I just need 
To keep on being 
The person I know
I want to be:
Me
Kat Jan 13
Sometimes I think back to senior year
To the depression that hijacked and hindered my mind
To the silence of those who didn't realize why I cried  
To the words people said that just made me feel worse
Though they were born from a desire to help, not hurt
Born from the desire to save the girl
Drifting farther and farther from reality
Just a phase
Shaking sobs swelling tears
Yellow bruises swollen arms
Don’t ask questions – hope it’ll go away
But it won’t go away
That girl lives with a
Broken body broken mind
And every word they say
And every expectation  
Dredges up feelings stewing and seething
But she doesn’t tell anyone, or cry for help
Cause as an actor once said,
You only cry for help when there is help to cry for
And for her there is but she doesn’t think
Doesn’t know her depression can ever be cured
This girl lives with
Shattered dreams shattered thoughts
And every day she wakes  
And every splintered cry  
Makes her wish she didn’t have to see the next
But she doesn’t tell her teachers or her parents or her friends
Cause what does it matter in the end
She’s trapped in a cocoon of apathy
Surrounded by the specters of her thoughts
And the self-hatred that lurks beneath
Lonely burden lonely life
Born to hurt others and to hurt herself
Drowning burning freezing weeping
Suffocating in the stew of thoughts
That form a decision with no good outcome
Every argument she hears
Sinks deep
While every praise
Glances away
She knows she lives with a
Broken body broken mind
Can never be healed, not now, not in time
Heart is hurting and breaking in two
Torn by a force she can no longer fight
And so surrounded by people
Who want to help with all their might
She cries
The quote I referenced is from a speech given by Wentworth Miller at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in 2013.
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