This New York Times op-ed by Shirley Manson is one of the most honest things you’ll read this week

Shirley Manson has always been a strong female role model. In this op-ed about her personal demons, she will become even stronger in the eyes of many more. The article is called “The First Time I Cut Myself.”

I didn’t know I was a cutter until the first time I chose to cut. I didn’t even know it was a “thing.”

I had never heard the phrase “self-harm” back then, in the mid-80s in Scotland. There were no support groups for people like me or any progressive, sympathetic op-ed pieces about the practice of cutting in my local newspaper. It was something I came to naturally, privately, covertly. I didn’t tell a soul about it.

It was a secret. A secret that was mine to keep.

I was in my late teens, darkly in love with someone who wasn’t in love with me. I was having sex with multiple partners, experimenting with drugs and drinking copious, alarming amounts of alcohol. I would often fall foul of crushing depression, struggling to get out of my bed before 4 in the afternoon. Having flunked out of school, I had no set future in mind.

I was holding down a mindless part-time job at a teen fashion store, playing keyboards in a band more or less on the weekends and generally feeling pretty miserable about my lot in life.

I met a strange, tightly wound boy one night at a club called the Hoochie Coochie. He was tall and handsome and harbored some serious, unresolved anger issues toward women. I should have run for the hills, but I didn’t.

This is an important read. Keep going.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.