It’s not common that my dreams recount tales of organized social self-harm networks, so it is with the spirit of novelty that I share the following trip into my brain’s darkest recesses, from not two night ago. (Well, actually, it was exactly two night ago.)
In the large courtyard of what appeared to be a Chinese monastery, I gathered with a group of young men. In reality, these men were my dear friends, normally the types who would shun self-inflicted pain (though I imagine that for the sake of the dream, they were humouring my subconscious). I won’t pretend to remember all the details, but the jist of the dream, I believe, can be conveyed in the following statement:
We each took turns slicing one another severely with extremely sharp paring knives.
Sort of dark for a guy who writes about bowel movements and rocketships, no? Well, my friends, I’m a deep swirling whirlpool.
Anyway, back to the cutting. Each person in the “club” was first given two cuts by others, and then had to self-administer the third (and worst one). What was interesting was experiencing it from the perspective of the “role” I was playing in my dream. I mean, as a member of this slicing society, I was obviously for this type of behaviour. And it was weird feeling the odd emotional coolness and detachment that went along with that. The other strange thing was actually feeling the sensation of each cut (as my ‘non-cutter’ brain imagined they should feel). Allow me to go into further detail. In fact, consider this a thorough review of the three cuts I was required to do in my dream. (Warning: maybe you shouldn’t read this if you actually cut yourself or are thinking about it) Here is:
Cut the First: Horizontally Across the Forehead
Performed about an inch below the hairline, this is far and away the most gentlemanly of cuts. With little muscular or nervous tissue between skin and bone, the knife slides gracefully across the brow with little pain, though it does provide a refreshing sting. I found that a main benefit of this cut was that, due to the thick skull bone, the depth options are minimal. Push as hard as you want—you ain’t getting’ through that skull with a paring knife. Whether self-inflicted or performed upon a consenting party, this entry-level cut rates top of the list.
Cut the Second: Across the Wrist
A time-honoured classic, this is what most people think of when someone mentions self-inflicted cutting, and with good reason. Whether you’re cutting as a simple pastime, as a cry for help, or as a full-out, bathtub-full-of-warm-water swan song, a wrist cut carries the most emotional resonance for your buck. In the aforementioned dream, I was fortunate to only be subject to a shallow, superficial slice across the wrist, which produced a slight feeling of warmth, and a small trickle of blood that was easily daubed with a sponge. Still, due to large amount of arteries, and the relatively thin skin, a casual afternoon social slice could easily turn into an accidental trip to the emergency ward. Thus, due to the great variance in the amount of lasting harm one can do to oneself with this method, I have to place it lower on the list.
Grade: D- Maybe it’s time to move away from the classics?
Cut the Third and Last: Vertically Downward Across Pursed Lips.
Okay, we’re getting pretty close to where I woke up now. This one is horrendous, and I personally would not recommend it, even for the most masochistic and seasoned cutters. The idea here was to purse your lips, and then, starting from the little notch above your upper lip, slice down the middle right through the soft skin (essentially right through to the teeth), cleaving them open, leaving you permanently disfigured. This was the third and final cut I was expected to do as part of this club—and this one, I was expected to perform on myself, with all eyes on me. Luckily, I was able to fool my dream companions by only slightly scoring my lips, and then getting the hell out of there by waking up. Basically, because of the amount of nerves on the mouth, and the fact that having intact lips is very useful, I give this cutting style the Lowest mark possible, and hope to never speak of think of it again.
Grade: FFF- Never try this!
I guess everyone’s got their interests, and if you’re into cutting, hopefully the above was somewhat informative to you. But, through stepping into the shoes of a cutter, and living the lifestyle, I realized I’d probably rather be in, like, a chess or book club or something. Plus, with a book club, I could still have the option of giving myself paper cuts if I felt like it.