Inspiration: Egon Schiele’s lovers
Over to Nidhi
“The first time we made love, six months ago, I went on top, so I could run away, if needed. I wanted for him
That first day, our love making failed, and I was afraid that
The second or third time we made love, I dared.
I let him see me,
below my shoulder,
down the back,
till where my bottom began.
I quickly turned around,
“Are those cigarette burns?” he asked me just last week, caressing the tapestry of my scars.
Since the age of 12, the year I hit puberty, I have made my back my canvas. Each tear I have shed, each sorrow I have felt, I etched into my skin. The nails of my fingers are my brushes. I dig them in till blood oozes out. I have painted, with my own blood.
Art can be beautiful or ugly, depending on the beholder.
Three months ago, I wanted to blog about my dermatillomania. I timidly handed him my camera, “I want you to take a picture.”
“You’re sexy,” he said, creating a masterpiece.
Are those cigarette burns? No, this is my art, I made it myself.
My experience with Dermatillomania
I started picking at my skin when I was 12 years old. I sought professional help when I was 27. Most people do not understand skin picking, including people who are family and friends. “It’s anxiety”, “Everybody has it”, “It’s a bad habit”, “Just stop doing it”. It’s not a mere habit, and I can’t just stop doing it, and no, not everybody has it. Because of this disorder, I can never wear a backless or even a low cut top. I hesitate before getting each haircut. It compounds my anxiety, giving me crippling confidence issues – it took me years to learn swimming or “reveal” my body in an intimate relationship (which my poetry-prose piece talks about above).
But I did it. I learnt how to swim. I found a partner who doesn’t cringe when he sees my body. I opened up to a psychiatrist and a counselor and they are helping me break out of this bewildering and vicious cycle of self hate and self harm. I will be okay.
If you are reading this and you suffer from any form of Dermatillomania/impulse control disorder/obsessive compulsive disorder, I want you to seek help. I want you to understand that this disorder is – yes, part of your identity, but no, not your _entire_ identity. I want you to know that your scars are beautiful, even though they emerge from a place of pain.
There is this book called “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson (don’t remember her handle). Read it, or better still listen to the audio version. Reading it changed my life. It gave me the confidence to seek help, and contribute to amazing art projects like this one. You know why? Because Jenny doesn’t hesitate in being _identified as a psychiatric patient with scars on her body_. That’s the first step. Acceptance of your identity.
And so, I won’t hesitate in revealing mine. I know I will get hate mail, trolls, jeers, unfollows. And God forbid my family from reading this (hi mom hi dad I love you), for they will disown me. But it’s worth it if it has helped you, in the smallest of ways. Get help, get love, and don’t forget – scars are beautiful.”