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My Wrist is So Beautiful

  I was alone, waiting for the train, smoking a cigarette. The vendor I bought them from said, "What's a pretty girl like you smoking for?" right guy, don't ask questions that you don't want the answers to.  I can't tell you why I bought them, I didn't smoke.  I just bought them to have them, for security.  Why? What type of security? Well, I wanted to destroy myself.  If the intense depression or anxiety or paranoia crept up on me, I would have a self deprecating method with which to ease my pain in the form of smoking a cigarette.

So that's exactly what I was doing waiting for my train to take me from Williamsburg, VA to Washington D.C. I was staying there, all alone. I had moved to D.C. over the summer to find myself, to find peace where there was none. You can't run away from your problems when they're in your head, but that's what I tried to do.

I couldn't suppress the pain, anguish, guilt, anxiety, and paranoia that coursed through my vains. So as I was smoking that cigarette an idea came to me. Would it hurt if I put the cigarette out on me? on my wrist? So I tried it, and it did. But it felt good, it was a release. I became addicted.

That was two years ago, I still do it now. I have five round circular scars down my inner wrist in a line, right between where you see that tendon pop up when you flex your wrist. I wear a leather wristband to cover them up. But when I'm alone, I take the wristband off.

My scars are beautiful. They're the most beautiful thing about me. I get intense satisfaction from looking at them, admiring the work I had done. I burn those five places over and over again. Sometimes I don't wait for the burn to heal before I do it again, ensuring that those scars will last forever.

When I got back to California, no one new what I had done. Fall was coming so I just wore sweaters. A month or so later I got two tattoos, but that didn't fill the void that I was itching to fill. It was a temporary fix. I knew that I couldn't just keep on getting tattoos, I didn't want my body covered with pictures and designs. So I fell back into burning myself on my wrist with cigarettes.

Eventually my friends saw them, in all their glory. They didn't really care, they shrugged it off. To me, that meant acceptance. That it wasn't a big deal at all. Everyone does it, right? Nope. I was wrong. My friends just weren't good friends. At one point I had a bad reaction to medication and started hallucinating. My heartbeat shot through the roof. My mom took my wrist to check what my pulse was. There they were. Beautiful. She didn't think so. She paused, the grief in her eyes was all I needed to see. She was at a loss for words. Luckily, the fact that I was hallucinating and tripping out on medication that wasn't my fault overshadowed my dirty secret for the time being.

I got a boyfriend. He saw them too. He said they were ugly. That it made me look weak, not strong. I begged to differ. Everyone has their vice, I told him, mine is burning myself. Some people turn to alcohol, drugs, some form of addiction, mine is burning. That is how I suppress the pain that life throws at me, that is how I deal with reality. Burning myself is my escape. It hurts, but in a good way.

If someone is to involve themselves with me, they have to except me this way. I'm not ashamed of it, I'm proud of it. But I cover it up because I don't want to scare anyone, I don't want any preconceived notions to be made of me due to that one factor. I'm not stupid, I know that it is abhorred by the world.

I broke my arm, my left arm, the same arm that has the burns on them. My physical therapist asked me to take off my wristband. So I did it. He looked at me straight in the eyes, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." He kept repeating it and wouldn't stop. I smiled, looked up at him, and said, "It's ok, I'm ok. Don't worry." He said he was shocked that I had my scars because I was so bubbly and happy and I was always smiling and laughing. Well, it just goes to show that looks really can be decieving. My face hides my pain and unhappiness. My scars show what I really feel inside.

It's an outward depiction of my pain, my anguish, it is a symbol of all of the abusive boyfriends I've had, the ones who have cheated, the ones who have hit me. It's a symbol of my family treating me as though I was a lesser form of them, casting me out as the scapegoat for all of their problems. It's a symbol of the chemical deficiencies in my brain, severe depression, bipolar, SAD, schizophrenia.

Those scars represent life to me. They are beautiful. They prove that I am here and I am doing what I have to do in order to get by in life. In order to live. If I didn't have this for an escape, where would I be? I don't let the thought enter my mind. I have never seen anything as beautiful as my wrist, because it reminds me of the pain I have endured and that I'm stronger for it and still carrying on with my life, I'm persevering... that is beautiful. But I will forever be branded. There are other ways, I'm aware of it now. I can't control my compulsions, but I can try through medicine and therapy. When people look at me, they make assumptions. Am I supposed to wear a wristband my whole life? They are beautiful to me, but what about society?


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 18 March 2005
in Scarification

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Artist: myself
Studio: my+home
Location: santa+cruz%2C+california

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