It was a hard time in high school.
Not the hardest, but we didn't have
the wisdom to know that then.
We were the rejects, the people who
lived on the outskirts and rejected in turn.
The birth of emo,
the death of expression.
We abused ourselves as harshly as we judged.
I was a cutter, my arms (and as I got more cunning
my legs) covered in the scars that meant I was
paying something back; bringing something to
by bringing something worthless closer to death.
I couldn't tell you why it seems a good idea,
I couldn't explain the feeling of feeling a blade
pierce and tear at muscle. It's
surreal, but more:
hyper-real. It makes everything
And God how I craved it.
I came within millimeters of ending my life,
and I thought nothing of it.
Hollow doesn't even begin.
Others drank, and injected, and fucked,
and did what they needed to feel like they were
And I held the knife and watched through wary eyes
at the world passing by, as a dog perpetually kicked
forever looks for the next boot to fall.
High school passed in sex and hormones, and
I was 22, at university, still holding the same
knife against my veins.
Watching as the others became adults,
watching as the phase passed for them.
I loved them for it, I
loved their strength and resilience while
cursing my weakness.
I made promises, oaths, swore black and blue
that I would stop.
That I would find other options.
But it wasn't a phase for me. It didn't go away
like some banished demon, it clung to my shoulder and
flowed in my veins. Every day
I fought to free myself, and there were
times when I felt I won.
And silently I raged against the people
who were happy, and who declaimed that
"It's just a phase", and "It gets better", because
the truth is that it NEVER gets better,
it just becomes easier to deny.
And now I'm 24, and happy; I've a life,
and a love,
and a laundry list of character defects
that is actually getting whiter as time goes by.
But it's an ever-present shadow, and I
don't think it will ever leave me alone.
Sometimes I fight it so hard I forget how to fight anything else.
And people I love suffer for it.
But this is not a war I'm prepared to lose.
I'm not interested in pity, or a sympathetic ear.
I want a witness, I want a victory,
I want to look at my life and see a spiral
that leads to a peace, rather than the
pieces of me
that I've abandoned.
Because it's not death I fear; it never has been.
It's been the thought of leaving this world unchanged;
of being nothing more than a shadow.
To my friends, I love you for what you survived,
and in every one of you I see a light that burns
the brighter because of it.
And to those who lost their wars...
I remember you as you were,
smiling in the brief sunlight.