Recently a piece written by the poet known as ATTICUS came under attack by several fellow writers online. The subject matter written was that of a female who used cutting as a way to self-harm. I saw at least four poets, and writers, along with their followers tearing the post apart on Instagram as glorifying self-harm. Their stance seemed to think readers, especially younger, more impressionable young girls, would use it as a way to be ‘seen’ and accepted.
I touched on it with my fan base and followers of my Facebook page shortly after it occurred. The overwhelming majority of those I had conversations with were in agreement with each other and myself, in that it was not trying to glorify self-harm.
I had read the piece before and never thought of it as giving cutting a glamorous spin. To be honest, the last line hit me with a resounding ‘WOW’.
Unfortunately, most of what I read in the way of an argument against the writer wasn’t focused on just the piece at hand, but rather more personal; not that it’s unwarranted. Atticus is one of the more well-known poets emerging from social media exposure. He has also been in the spotlight for being unoriginal, and on several occasions found to have just used other writer’s quotes as his own by simply changing a word or two.
What also seemed to be a theme among the criticism was Atticus’ writing from a female perspective. As writers, we give our words countless voices, including those of the opposite gender. I am just as OK with female writers who choose to write in a male voice as most writers try to relate their words to others. I write in both voices, I think it’s what makes most of my writing universally acceptable; whether male or female. I do it on purpose. I do it with conscious thought because we all hurt the same way. We all have loved, lost, tried again, possibly failed again, but still believe in love and all the good life has to offer.
Let me get back on track with the main focus of what’s being discussed – the piece.
The darkness and numbness one must experience to self-harm have to be incredible. From what I understand of it, those who truly experience it are looking for anything to FEEL. Anything that will tie them to ‘normal’. My personal stance on the piece is it does not glamorize or glorify the act of cutting but rather tries to explain to the reader just WHY this particular someone may cut themselves. Although, I can certainly understand the opinions of those concerned because there are some out there trying to fit in at any cost. If a tender mind should read those lines, I understand how they may misconstrue the last line as being something great and wonderful rather than the crying out it truly is.
What’re your thoughts? Drop them in the comments below.
If you are hurting or if someone you know may be hurting themselves, visit The Trevor Project for hotline information and places to find assistance.