I’m a Black Woman and I Self-Harm

Consider this your trigger warning.

Robin Divine
6 min readJan 27, 2020


Photo by Olayinka Babalola on Unsplash

I’m not an adolescent. I’m not White. I’m not acting out for attention.

I am a Black queer woman in my forties who intentionally inflicts pain on her body.

Why the fuck would anyone do that?

Honestly, I have no clue. I only know why I do it. I wish I could say “why I did it in the past” but yeah…

I was fifteen years old the first time I cut. My mother and I had just finished another cruel battle of words. We were both pissed and I was physically ill with frustration. I wanted to punch a wall. However I knew I’d be in even more trouble if I caused any damage.

I stood in the mirror and stared at myself for what felt like hours. Every part of my body flooded with hot flashes of red.

Then I noticed a pair of scissors.

Without thinking I snatched them from the desk and sliced the inside of arm. The cut was so deep that at first there was no blood. It was as if my body had not yet registered the trauma.

And then I did it over and over again. I didn’t stop until the blind hatred inside had eased.

It looked like a crime scene where I was both victim and perpetrator.

I was horrified.

I had never heard of anyone that hurt themselves on purpose. For some reason I naively thought that I was the only person that had done that.

I mean, why would someone do that? On purpose? It didn’t make sense.

As an adult, it makes perfect sense. As a teenager, I was clueless and scared.

In High School I “worked” in the principals office. They didn’t need my help. However they knew I needed a place to be between classes. I was that kid. I happily ran useless errands and made copies of documents that didn’t need to copied. The next day at school I found myself alone in the xerox room with the school secretary. She was one of the two adults that I trusted in my life.

As I reflect back I see how fucking sad that was.

“Does it…look bad?” I innocently asked.



Robin Divine

I write about mental health and I’m an advocate for making psychedelics accessible for Black Women. Insta: @blackpeopletrip email: blackpeopletrip@gmail.com