Have you ever self harmed in the past? I just need to know for our records.
There are stretch marks on my thighs that I’ve had since I was ten years old. When the first ones appeared I wondered if the skin there was as thin as it looked, and scratched it with my ragged fingernail. I bled. I did it again.
Quit scratching your head, child! Lord, you’ll make your hair greasier than it already is. I faked a laugh and sat on my hands. They didn’t understand. My head is where the filth is, so my head is where the filth shows. It oozes out of the pores on my scalp trying to escape the confines of my skull, and even if I can’t see it I can feel it, I have to get it off. I wait an appropriate amount of time and announce that I’m going to wash my hair.
I locked myself in my room with a family sized bag of potato chips, all of the leftover meatloaf, a bag of dried fruit, and a jar of peanuts. I left when my grandmother called me for dinner, and hid the evidence under my mattress, to be thrown away immediately before garbage day, when no one would see.
When she caught on, and rid the house of all junk food, she stocked up on protein bars and prepackaged diet meals. Try to wait for mealtimes, but if you get hungry, you can have one of these granola bars, or a piece of fruit. I ate three pieces of fruit. Six granola bars. Two of the nasty prepackaged dinners. Evidence goes in my backpack, to be thrown away at school.
I have an addiction to dyeing my hair. I wonder if my life has come to revolve around my fingers on my scalp, scrubbing until i break open the scabs still there from the last time, the reddish hues I favor for my short hair suddenly a blessing. My fingertips are perpetually wrinkled. My head stings and burns where chemicals meet open wounds.
I came home from a day of failed quizzes and homework not turned in, and my best friend being gone. There was nothing even half appetizing in the kitchen so I settled for an entire loaf of bread, and a glass of orange juice. There was always an excess of bread in my house; my grandmother could easily just think she had miscounted how many loaves sat on the counter this morning. I chewed slowly, and made the orange juice last in my dry mouth and throat.
I haven’t worn shorts since I was thirteen. It started because ‘no one wanted to see my ugly stretch marks and cellulite.’ It continued because I didn’t. Because no one would question, in the middle of summer, if I wore jeans to hide the marks on my thighs. Who cares how you look, you’ll get heat stroke, girl! You work at a marina! I laughed and shook my head. I’ll be fine. I like long pants.
I found a photo of myself from middle school. I was beautiful.
I stepped out of the shower and looked in the mirror. The bile rose in my throat, and my hands returned to my already bleeding head."