The scar on my elbow looks almost like a stain. When I fell off my bike, I didn't cry until I looked down and saw the blood. I simply forgot.
There are two more, almost faded to almost white, from when I stood on a laundry basket and it broke, the plastic cutting into my leg, leaving parallel tracks on my leg.
I hold pens at an awkward angle - with the pen resting against the lump on my fourth finger. I got my finger stuck in the door hinge on Mothers Day. Driving your screaming eight year old to the emergency room isn't the best Mother's Day gift.
Acne sucks. Mom told me not to touch my face. I didn't listen. I poked and prodded until I bled and then I poked some more. Consequences are written along my forehead, my nose and my cheeks.
(Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven)
The first time I do it, I drag the knife sideways across my wrist. There is a mess on my table, but at least now I can focus. At least now I can actually read what the textbook says, without everything going blurry.
I do it again, before Math Finals. At the moment, nothing seems more important than studying, than making sure I don't fail and I am so afraid of failing. But I can't study if I can't concentrate. I add a tally above the first and rinse it off in the sink. I wear a bracelet into the exam room and score a 97.
There are girls in junior year that wear their marked up wrists like badges. "That's nothing" one of them tells me when I show them mine. "I used to take kitchen knives and just stab." I begin to think that maybe, just maybe, whatever I'm doing isn't a problem. And just to prove it to myself, I walk into the kitchen at midnight and add a thin slash where no one can see.
Pain is addicting. It takes your mind off everything, except for that bright, sharp feeling it sends to your brain. And there are so many things I don't want to think about. Like the feeling in my chest that tells me no one is listening, that never seems to go away even when I'm with friends.
I never knew feeling pain was something to be ashamed of, until I stopped wearing short sleeves.
(fifteen, sixteen, seventeen)
School finishes. People stop asking to see me, now that we aren't forced into the same space every day. People forget.
I stay up late, scrolling through pictures of other people's lives, sunsets. People I know, enjoying life together. Everyone seems to have someone. But no one seems to remember me.
I don't blame them
I cry. Then I take the knife and I slice upwards on both wrists, to feel something other than worthless and alone.
A tube feeds blood into my veins. Guilt wasn't a feeling I thought I'd feel. Or regret.
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.
"As long as you remember how sorry you are now, it's going to be ok," One doctor tells me.
A little bit later, they remove the tube from my arm. The round puncture scabs.
A reminder of pain.
A reminder to recover.
Recovery is a long, long road, but I am glad to have walked it.
(There is no twenty one)