This is a very old piece of prose. Written around the end of 2012, and all very much in reference to real life events. There’s a hefty trigger warning on this, for fairly graphic descriptions. There’s something utterly compelling and masochistic about writing about and reflecting on my experiences of self harm, much in the same way there is when partaking in self harm, I find.
I’m laughing a little because I didn’t think it would be this easy. It doesn’t even hurt; it’s just cold, so fucking cold. It’s a simple chemical reaction that comes down to the basic salt plus ice equals pain. This is a good pain though, it’s a sweet pain. It’s a pain that makes me lean back onto my radiator and groan; mouth wide, throat deep. I have an agenda tonight. I am a faulted, weak, whale of a person, and this is what I am going to do to remind myself of it. This is logic, but I do not owe anyone an explanation.
I watch myself. Girl sitting upright, shivering a little, eyes rolling backwards into her head as she feels the frostbite set in. Pushing the ice into the leg, into the arm, into the hip. There are rivulets of blood on the outside of her thighs, staining the edges of her underwear and the sleeves of her dad’s oversized sweater. This feels good. Seeing myself like this feels good. Satisfying. I wonder if I could be considered sadistic. I blink and escape the bird’s eye view – back to staring at my own knees. My eyes trail down and size up my canvas.
The ice cubes I’m using are heart shaped. The tray is cute and pink and from Ikea and my mom bought it for me. I have never used ice for anything other than this. There are these thin long lines on the top of my thighs. Blood is pricking, running from them, and it’s pretty. I realize that today was the first official day of spring. I go back to the ice tray. I pour a little mound of salt on to my skin, pick up the ice cube, and place it over the salt. Nothing will happen at first, I know this. I push it down a little. It’ll tickle, tingle a bit, and then it will burn. It will hurt, but you won’t want it to stop. Well, I don’t want it to stop. I give it maybe, 45 seconds, until I pull the cube off. It leaves a solid white imprint. The skin underneath is totally numb, frozen: my own kind of local anesthetic.
I consider this to be cheating – you can’t feel the pain of the cut, you can only watch. It’s like seeing the heroine bleed out on screen. It’s intense, you might even be on the edge of your seat a little, but you can’t feel her gunshot wound. She’s screaming and maybe you feel bad and all, but you can’t help but notice how crappy the special effects are, and really if someone was shot from that distance, you’d think they’d die without the drama and the noise. That’s the extent. Your teaspoon sized capacity of emotion has been reached. It’s the perfect description. I cannot feel, I can only see, and it is unreal. It isn’t even happening to me, it’s happening to this body that I refuse to associate myself with. Which makes it near impossible to stop. Especially now that I’ve broken past the layers of skin, and for the first time, I can see fat. I’m giddy as a four year old on her first carousel, slicing myself up.
When I start shaking, I know it’s bad. I haven’t gotten to this point in a long time: the point where I scare myself a little. My leg’s full on quivering. The blood stream’s getting jumpy, the rivers are running between mounds of gooseflesh and my pinpricked white fluff that’s standing erect. I put my knees together, let my shoulders shake, and curse my past life for inflicting me with this physicality. I want to go through my routine insults and questions of why I deserve this, the self-indulgent ‘why me?’, but I realize that there’s clumps of gelatinous yellow crawling out of my leg. I am triumphant. I begin to cackle wildly, my heart clawing its way up my throat, throbbing painfully. I pick the goo up between my fingernails. I wonder if I can pull it out. Conduct my own surgery here, liposuction style. Yes, this is the easy way. This is the “I cannot eat a minimum of 1200 calories and six mini meals a day to boost my metabolism and go running and to zumba classes” diet. This is a mad cycle of sit in the cake mix aisle of the supermarket until people stare at you and buy boxes of laxatives at a time. I’m shaking again. This time furiously, uncontrollably. I stop laughing. And in that one second of clarity, I see it.
I reach for my phone.
“Josh?” I have a little girl voice. I hate that he picked up.
“Hello, hello, what’s the happy haps?” I don’t know what to say suddenly. How do you do this, how do people do this? I can barely ask someone for a piece of gum, never mind asking them to come and save me from my own fucking self. “Are you there? What’s up?”
“Josh.” I think I might actually cry. I want to hang up, I want to hang up but my leg is making me want to convulse. “We” I take this massive breath and I can hear my voice catching on my heart that’s nestled into my throat making me choke making me want to die I think I’m going pass out I can’t feel my leg anymoreandIthinkImighthavegone too far this time – “we both know” – I need to breathe, let me gulp down some air can I go outside I need to go outside, why am I laughing again? “that I cut, right?” I think I’m going to throw up. My chest is so tight.
There’s this sickening pause. What if he doesn’t help, what if he refuses to come.
“Yes” It’s hard not to know. Only idiots ask me about my scars, it’s obvious, really, horribly obvious where they’re from.
“Yeah, yeah I think I’ve gone too far this time.” I’ve said it and suddenly I can breathe again. I realize that there are tears in my eyes. “Could, could you come over?” I realize that I am the most selfish person that I know.
“I’m leaving now. Get tea towels, wrap it up tightly okay? I’ll be there soon, I promise sweetie. Just, stop, put everything down, get pressure on it.” Action stations. I wonder if he’d call an ambulance on me. I mumble something into my phone, let it slip down my cheek with the few tears, and onto the floor. It’s smeared with blood from my hands. I regret calling him immediately.
I don’t stop cutting until he calls from outside my building, asking me to let him in.