I am trudging home from school. I am staring at my torn and tattered vans. One foot in front of the other. The second foot in front of the first. The laces aren’t done up, just tucked in. I get away with these at school because they’re black so nobody notices. My backpack is hot and heavy. My vans keep moving. I’ve had a shit day. I just want to go to bed.
It’s a warm, sticky summers evening by the time I get home. I sit on the bed for hours, staring in to the mirror. I am ugly. Fat. Repulsive. Skeletal. I disgust myself and I disgust others. I know this because I hear them whisper. A pug I think. No wonder nobody wants me. This is a frequent occurrence, this sitting, staring, thinking, hating, crying, staring, sitting. I suppose I’m just feeling low. Alone. More so than usual. No answer at the other end of the phone. I take a pencil sharpener from the draw in my bedside table, and desperately bite, claw and cut away at the plastic encasement of the blade inside. It’s been a shit day. Fuck.
Scabs pattern my arm since yesterdays cutting. They’re revolting, making my arm look like a living noughts and crosses game, cut with barbed wire. You don’t want to look like this. You don’t want people to see. You don’t want to be this person. I need to reopen them, I think. But it’s not enough. There are clear patches between cuts, and scars which are pale and faded. My arm looks unnatural and bear. Naked. Like a cheap hooker. Hooked like a fish. Blade to forearm. Deep breath. My hands shaking, I begin to do the only thing in the world which helps. The only thing which lets me feel okay. Not okay. Who knows. I don’t. Never did. Still don’t. Go cut yourself, he had sneered. Snarling idiot. Why don’t you help instead of behaving this way? I might have been different if you’d been there for me. Why am I so ugly? My mother is beautiful.
It begins with a slow and steady tear across the meat and ends with a frenzy of slicing in all directions. Just ask the butcher – he knows how it’s done. No disinfectant. No germaline. A criss-cross of scarlet and dripping red, like the markings of an inky felt tip pen. Red. Because this is the only way. Red. Don’t you see? I see red. Don’t do this, a voice says. You can still stop. But this is the only way to feel. To feel what? I don’t know. Something, hurting, healing. This is the punishment I deserve, and yet it feels so good. Stop now, or you will stain the linen, do you want blood all over your bed? Do you want your mother to see? Deep, go deeper – it doesn’t hurt enough. I can’t stop. I wish this blunt blade was sharper. Too young to buy a penknife.
Tonight, I can’t stop. Tonight, I am crying myself dry and empty. Tonight, I have carved ‘FAILIURE’ in to my fat white shoulder. Tonight, as with every other, I feel a strong and bitter sense of self-pitty and regret. Tomorrow, I will wear the heavy, man’s hoody that I wore to school today. I will hide my arms and hope it’s not another sunny day. Nobody knows I am sat here, in my bedroom, hating the image of myself and hurting myself. Why does nobody knock the door, burst in and beg me to stop? God I hope no one knocks. You don’t want to hurt anyone. Phone a helpline, it’s easy. As if. ‘Don’t waste our time’, they would say. ‘Fat. Ugly. Pig –How do you manage to walk on your hind legs little piglet?’ Fuck it. Cut it.
And nobody knows.