Weeping For Humanity

Weeping For Humanity

Trigger warning: contains discussion of self harm.

Sometimes I just get those days when I want to weep for humanity (and not just because of the redesigned WordPress homepage, which is incredibly hard to navigated and also … where did the option to put posts in ‘categories’ go? That was helpful. Bring it back).

I’m referring to the #cutforbieber thing that was all over Twitter yesterday. While I didn’t witness it first-hand myself, I saw reference to it on Tumblr and Facebook, and heard people talking about it at school. For those who remained blissfully ignorant, upon hearing/seeing that Justin Bieber had smoked weed (which I swear is legal in a lot of places now anyway), they self-harmed to stop him.

Right. So I’m not entirely sure how that’s supposed to work. Make him feel the guilt of scars on hundreds of fans so that he agrees to live his life how they want him to?

Leaving aside the fact that this seems to be belittling self harm, and the way it has been treated by the media also trivialises it as something people do as a protest or for attention, when really it’s a problem for a lot of people and it can leave them incredibly screwed up, there’s another aspect of this that’s disturbing: the fact that people idol-worship celebrities so much that they are prepared to destroy their own bodies because that celebrity turned out not to be as perfect as they always thought they were.

That’s messed up. These people, they might be famous, but they’re still humans and they still screw up. And you know what? They should be allowed to mess up.

Just like the rest of us don’t want all of our childhood mistakes to be dragged out into the open, we shouldn’t go searching for their pasts. Just as we don’t want to be yelled at when we make one error, whatever happens as a result of it, because we were tired or ill or emotional or otherwise not at our best, we shouldn’t treat other people like that when they don’t quite get things right.

Oh, and would you like it if people you never even met guilt-tripped you because you did something they didn’t approve of? Would you like people coming up to you in the street saying, “Look, I’m going to continue to damage my body until you stop doing what you’re doing” ?

But let’s get back to the trivialising self harm thing. See, a lot of people self harm because they don’t feel they have another choice. Often this is a response to some emotional distress — when there’s pain inside your head you can’t deal with it, so you try and make it tangible to give you something to focus on in the hope that that will help.

But it doesn’t. It just makes it worse. Because then you have the same thing a few days later … and, especially if your friends are the sort not to understand and to be grossed out by self harming, you’ll be made to feel guilty because of your scars. So you feel worse. So you’re in more pain. Gradually you’re losing confidence, friends, and all the things that kept you away from cutting in the first place, and you go back to it.

It doesn’t help. In the long run, it doesn’t help.

So people mutilating themselves for the sake of somebody who doesn’t know they exist because he happened to do something that they didn’t like — what is with that? What are they hoping to achieve? Their scars will remain and perhaps one day they’ll be asked why they have them. And they’ll say, “I thought that it might stop somebody famous from doing something.”

What’s more, if self harm is being shown as socially acceptable in these situations, even the ‘in’ thing, how long before it is glorified among teenagers, especially younger ones? How long before it’s a source of pride — look, my scars are bigger than yours, I’m tougher.

It’s not a sign of strength. It’s a sign that you need help. And I say that with all the love in the world, not because I am judging people who cut, but because I don’t think anybody should be driven to that, and I think there should always be someone to help. And yes, I do have personal experience of it, both with friends — some of them fairly close friends — and actually, in the past, myself, though never to a hugely serious degree.

Yet even that is unhelpful. That thinking. Recently, while researching triggers and how they work for a novel, I came across a page that told me: “It doesn’t matter if someone is cutting with a knife or with a safety pin. If they are hurting themselves deliberately, they are self harming.”

(I’m a ballet dancer. I do pointe work. Many would argue that constitutes deliberately putting myself in pain. I would disagree; I accept that pain comes with it, but don’t do it for the sake of the pain. I do it for the sake of the dancing and the pain is an unfortunate side effect.)

Oh, and that website also told me that it’s an addictive sensation. And people do it more and more.

So, making a first cut for the sake of something trivial … how long will it be before people turn to it as a way of coping?

I weep for humanity that we will destroy ourselves for the sake of such small things. I weep for humanity that we allow ideas like this to be glamorised to the point where those who are suffering have their problems trivialised and ignored. I weep for humanity that such things are posted online for other teenagers to goggle at, to pore over in mock horror, as I witnessed in school today, without even a thought for labelling with trigger warnings so that somebody browsing the internet who has had problems in the past could come across them with potentially serious consequences.

I weep for humanity that we put people up on pedestals — ordinary humans — and are disappointed when they aren’t as perfect as we thought. I weep for humanity that we won’t give people the same license to mess up that we expect them to give us.

That is why I weep for humanity.

13 thoughts on “Weeping For Humanity

  1. Once again, humanity shows its worst. And your post really has just said absolutely everything on that front. I have nothing more to add than a few more exasperated sighs and smothered tears.

    1. Thing is, I want to keep faith with people, but I see what is mainly our generation and they are SO SCREWED UP and I will never be able to hug all of them or give all of them the books they need or whatever. I CAN’T HELP THEM. And I don’t like that.

  2. Ugh, I witnessed it firsthand on Twitter yesterday. EVERYBODY was talking about, and though some people made fun of it by spraying ketchup on their arms, there were a few girls who actually were stupid enough to permanently maim their arms or their thighs. One person was even apologizing for not writing Justin’s name on her arm in scars!

    I wonder what has been going through Justin Bieber’s head recently (aside from the fact that maybe his fans are crazy); does he feel guilt for what they’ve done in his name? People should be allowed to screw up sometimes, and not be punished for it.

    1. I do wonder what he thinks; I noticed a mention on Twitter earlier that he’d apparently tweeted about a bunch of other stuff and didn’t even seem to have reacted to it, though obviously I don’t know how true any of that is given that I don’t follow him.
      The whole thing is, as my mother would say, a ‘sorry state of affairs’. Worse than that, really.

    2. Someone is apologizing for NOT thinking ‘oh, I should be the most dedicated fan ever and carve someone’s name into my arm permanently’. This is sick. Just…Ugh.

      Your avatar is Ron in Half-Blood Prince?

  3. Well, I’m glad I wasn’t on Twitter yesterday. I am almost sure that some of these cutting fans have tried weed themselves. If they have, and they’re calling someone out on it… *le shake of the head*

    Also, your blog is awesome.

    1. Thank you for reading! :) I like seeing people here who haven’t commented before. It’s always nice.
      I’m glad I wasn’t really online, too. From what I hear there were plenty of pictures going around and that isn’t why I come on the internet.

  4. Whoa. I hadn’t even heard of this until I read it here. That’s crazy, not least because if Justin Bieber wants to smoke weed, how does that bother me? Why would that even bother other people?

    And it makes me sad that some people think cutting is tough. It means you need help. Like, now. :(

  5. I saw Justin perform in the Victoria’s Secret Fasion show – the sense I got of him was 1) I can see why girl fawn over him, but I found him cute in the sense of how my son is cute. He looked lost, like a boy who just wanted to sing his heart out, but not be bothered by crazy fans… *sigh* But there wil always be crazy fans.

    Back when I was your age, Kurt Cobain of Nervan died/comited suicide (as far as I know that debat still goes on) and in my Senior year of high school (Year 13) the freshmen girls (Year 10) all talked about committing suicide on the day he died. No one in my high school actually went trhough with it, but I think a few kids did in other places.

    I can’t understand it and I’m sad to hear a whole nother generation is being just as wacky. Thankfully some of us are sane. or at least not so mentally impaired.

    1. I hadn’t heard about that response to Kurt Cobain. Obviously, it’s before my time and my parents weren’t into that kind of music, but my brother was a big fan of him. I guess it’s not something you find out unless you’re sort of around at the time.
      Yes, some of us are sane. Nevertheless, the minority that needs help … still needs as much as help as it would if it were a majority.

      1. So very true. Sadly I’m not as nearly strong as my mother when it comes to givning that sort of help. She help battere women (and men) recover and break the cycle. She’s now heading up a church advocay group and teaching them how to help these people. I admire her strength for doing it.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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