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 40+ 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.

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