By Draco Malfoy,
Shirley Manson, the sexy, red-haired singer of Garbage, was an angry child. She was teased, tormented, and even beaten-up by her classmates because of her looks. Classmates called her names such as "posh," "bloodhound," and "frog-eyed" because of her red hair and green eyes. As she grew older she became unhappy and violent, and planned to drop out of high school when she turned sixteen. A certain teacher began ridiculing her until, "Until, I think, everyone in that school thought I was less than human. I felt ugly, weak, overwhelmed - I couldn't imagine being capable of doing anything. I certainly never thought I could be in a band. This was a dream it didn't even occur to me to dream about." (1998, Select Magazine) Shirley took up smoking, boys and drinking, she began using drugs on a regular basis during her late teens. In 1995, Shirley and her band released the self-titled, "Garbage," their debut album, which became an instant hit. The lyrics of her songs are well known for revealing her true emotions and feelings.
Shirley Manson has a low self-esteem and hates the way she looks. In a 1998 Select interview she said, "I feel disgusting. I could take a knife to my throat for the way I look. Can someone just put a bin or a bag or a fucking bomb on my head?" As a teenager her feelings of weakness and of being overwhelmed were manifested in cutting, she would snip the safety guards off Bic razors and would cut up her arms. When she was a teenager she used to carry a sharp object in the laces of her boots and would cut herself with it whenever she felt stressed, anxious or depressed; she hid the scars by wearing long pants and boots. She explained in a The Herald article the experience of self-injuring, "I wouldn't say that cutting was pleasurable, but there is a sense of euphoria that follows cutting yourself. The quick pinch of pain and the sight of blood snaps you back to the surface and you start to appreciate being alive."
Shirley Manson no longer self-injures but still feels the urge from time to time. In 1998 she almost relapsed during her European Tour, in which she felt homesick and tired of hearing the males in her group talk about women. She told The Herald about her near relapse, "I ran to my dressing room in a flood of tears. I hated myself all over again for not being thin enough or having a perfect body. It hurt so much that suddenly cutting started to make sense again." She took a penknife and was about to cut herself when a fellow band member walked in.
She has gone public with her past experiences because she feels the need to help others. She said, "I'm speaking out because I feel this problem is getting worse for some kids. I'm not an expert on this, but you have to talk to someone. I've seen kids with cigarette burns on their arms or gashes on their legs. It kills me, but hopefully my coming forward can help a little."
Lyrics from the song, Medication:
"Somebody get me out of here, I'm tearing at myself.
Nobody gives a damn about me, or anybody else..."