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Adjectives Under My Skin

I had never really thought much about self-mutilation. Nor masochistic tendencies in general. The most I had ever had done was get my ears pierced a year or two back. I had been terrified.

So when my friend admitted to me that she had cut herself, I was shocked. I had never known anyone who did this. It wasn't something that had ever been a part of my life.

And yet.. I couldn't get it out of my mind.

Things started to get rough around my household a few months later. The family was constantly feuding, a group of my friends had left me, and in a rather melancholy moment, I noticed the jack knife laying on the desk next to me.

I picked it up and flicked it open, my eyes running over the blade, partially serrated and the rest as thin and sharp as a paper cut.

Without thinking twice, I ran it across the side of my wrist twice.

I watched the blood bead to the surface instantly. It hadn't hurt at all.

As I did it again, a masochistic era of my life slowly began.

At first, I did it rather foolishly. My arms were lined with fresh red lines, swollen and quite noticeable. People started to see them. I found myself lying to my best friends in the world, while meanwhile, night after night, I found a kind of sick joy in running the knife across my arms, hands, ankles.

When one of the girls I knew finally realized what it was, I learned to be more discreet. The cuts healed, turning into red and white lines. But if one were to see beyond the scars, they would have seen deep, bleeding gashes along my thighs, waist, chest, knees, even on the back of my neck. Every time my shirt would brush against a wound, I would feel a tiny pain.. and it made me proud.

And yet, as much as the euphoria made me feel better temporarily, it was as it always is.. my situation got worse. Once again, my surroundings began to get dismal. One of my closest friends in the world began to turn against me. I became worried. My grades fell, the parents punished me.

I turned to branding, heating safety pins and watching my skin sizzle away. Now my days passed with candles and blackened needles. And yet, no one knew of my pain.

Everything came to the surface around December. The friend previously mentioned left me forever. I had tried to save her life, and she ended up ruining mine. Gashes once again lined my body, increasing tenfold in every area hid by clothes. The night that it happened, I kneeled on my floor, clutching the very same knife that I had used so many weeks ago to my stomach, the tip of the blade just piercing the skin. Her words stung my mind, the stares I got at school, the pain of being cast out of the social bit for the past nine years of my life.. I began carving adjectives into the unprotected skin of my stomach, chest...



The phone rang.

Sobbing, I picked it up. It was my only friend left.

"I love you. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

I could not stop crying. But I did not tell her of what was happening to me. When I hung up the phone, I stayed on the floor, staring at the knife for a long time.

Finally, I ran it nine times across the back of my hand.. and put it away.

A day later, when the wounds were no longer bleeding, but swollen lines and curves and words, I sat in the kitchen of our house.

My mother asked what had happened to my hand.

And suddenly, I couldn't lie anymore. I told her it was me. She was shocked. I will never forget the way she looked at me.

And yet, I still did not tell her of any pain I had created, beyond that on my right hand.

When school resumed after winter break, I found myself walking down the hall to my friend, who had called me on that desolate night. I hugged her.

Quietly, she said, "I love you too much to let you do that." I stepped back, slightly perplexed. Her hand brushed mine, running across the back of it, where the cuts had become little more than scabbed lines. And yet, her eyes never left mine. She smiled.

The scars on my hand are still there. I see them every time I look at my hand. The scars on my stomach and chest are still there, the adjectives that once, I had let get underneath my skin. But they are fading.. and with them is my sadness.

I will never forget how cutting made me feel. On occasion, I make small cuts to remind myself of the pain that I went through, and how relieved I am that it's in the past. I still have an interest in body modifications, and I plan to someday soon do a proper scarification.

But it will not be for the same purpose as last time.

It will be a monument. A monument to the pain, to the conquering of that pain... A monument to the people who can overpower their fear of causing pain, who can find the beauty in self-injury..

A monument to them, and to me.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Sept. 2004
in Scarification

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