Confusion about who I am feels like failure and I can't stomach failure, say five of the scars on my left shoulder. I will never binge again, say the six scars on my stomach. I love her and I don't want to let her go say the two scars on my left forearm. I'm drunk, I don't care anymore, and I'm in so much pain, say fifteen more of the scars on my left shoulder. This is the last time I will ever cut myself, say the remaining four. They lied. Liars and cheaters will be the death of me, in fact I wish I was already dead, say the four scars on my left wrist and the ten scars on on my right. I don't know how to say goodbye, say the ten scars on my right forearm. I can't handle rejection say the six scars on my right shoulder and the three scars left by the car keys on my right leg. I'm lonely and I feel like I'm about to explode, say the two grotesque burns on my right forearm.
All of these things said about me without me ever having to whisper a word on the subjects. It's difficult now, when I am trying so hard to use words to communicate what it is that is going on inside of me to those who choose to interact with me out in the world. It's difficult because my scars still speak for me more often than not and I don't feel strong enough to shut them up. They talk and I can't help but listen to the things they say about me. They say these things, and I believe them.
The problem is that no one else can here them speak. No one else could possibly know the secrets that they keep beneath the surface. Everyone can see them and they can make up their own stories and meanings for the marks left on my skin by so many frightening nights spent bathed in blood beneath the glow of a fluorescent light hung high overhead in some nameless and lonely hotel bathroom. They make up their own stories but how could they possibly know the truth unless I was willing to speak it? I don't want the people around me to know.
I'm embarrassed. The truth behind so many of these permanent self inflicted mutilations is so ridiculous that I can barely stand it. I ate too much, so I sliced my arm open to bleed the calories out. She said we need to slow down so I hacked myself to bits because all I heard was we're over and I hate when things are over. I couldn't find the strength to tell her that it had to end so I proved to her that I was too crazy for her to stay by spilling crimson across the counter and floor of that little motel bathroom back in Martinez. I needed to prove that I was insane enough to be in the psych ward which clearly meant a few more cuts and a little more blood. She slept with him and they had the guts to try to call me their friend so I had to smear the dark streets of Berkeley with bright red as the anger poured from my open wrists. They stitched the wounds and made them not count, leaving me with no choice but to open those wrists all over again so that I could have something to have and to hold till death do I part. And the rest of the time, I just didn't know what to do with feeling so disgusted and ashamed of the thing that I had become so I navigated rivers died red through the darkest hours of the night until the morning light showed through the curtains and I felt light and clean and new again.
How do you explain to someone that you hurt yourself in a way that will last the rest of your life simply because you were bored or feeling angry or betrayed? Or hell, how do you tell someone that you burned yourself just because you had something to drink and you couldn't think of a better excuse to do something stupid and pointless as the girls squealed with terror? You don't. You avoid deep conversations and you keep your explanations brief if you are asked. "I went through a couple of rough patches," you say to those with prying eyes and curious minds. Then, you promptly change the topic, put on your shirt, and get back to work. I don't owe anyone an explanation, not really. But I can't help but wonder if an explanation now and then is better than the things they will assume about me if I stay silent.
Is he unstable? Is he crazy? Will he do it again? Is he safe to be around? Yes, duh, probably, and absolutely are the answers you're looking for. The truth is that I wouldn't hurt a fly unless I were a fly, then I'd tear my fucking wings off. But not necessarily because I wanted to, more because I just couldn't help myself. I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes something so wrong feels more right than anything else in the universe and in those moments I don't feel like I have a choice anymore.
But right now I have a choice. Right now it's not even a question on my mind. I haven't considered it in weeks, maybe months, not seriously anyway. The thoughts still float through my mind constantly, I just choose not to reel them in to take a closer look these days. I'm not out of the woods though, not by a long shot. A little rejection or abandonment by someone whom I feel close to would be enough to erase any thought of tomorrow's consequences from the ever narrowing focus of my mind and I'd go all in and bleed all over the damn place all over again. This tight rope that I walk is quite thin and there are some windy days in my future, I have no doubt. But I've been crossing this gorge for quite sometime without falling off into the great abyss below and their have been nights spent clutching the rope with everything I have as a storm rages all around me. I think I can stand up straight and walk with confidence beneath cloudless blue skies in the calm of late summer days. At least that is my hope.
Change is coming, storm clouds are on the horizon. But storm clouds don't scare me enough to jump off into the darkness anymore. It's only if the storm itself becomes too intense that I may consider taking the plunge into so much chaotic familiarity at this point in my life. Thank God. It has to stop at some point, doesn't it? Why not today? I'm running out virgin skin, after all and I've only so much blood left to bleed for those of you who do not care enough about me to hold my hand as I walk through the cold night toward the morning's light. I think I can see it now, a dim glimmer somewhere way off in the distance. It's beautiful. I want to reach out and touch it, hold it in my hand and smile a real, true smile; the type that comes from way down deep inside where I am not rotten, and black, and broken, but where I am real, and new, and young, and untainted by the evil lurking everywhere in the world around me.
I have bled for you because I loved you so much that it hurt. I have bled for you because I hated you so much that it hurt even worse. I have bled for you because you left. I have bled for you because you refused to just leave me alone to wallow in my pain. I have bled when I barely knew you and I have bled when I thought I knew you better than anyone else in the world. You certainly surprised me, didn't you? And what have I learned? Not much. I still love and hate on a whim and I'm still devastated when you decide to leave or tell me no. My heart is broken and reborn daily but how many lives must I live to find the one that fits just right, the one that I'd care to live until the day that I die? Perhaps I'll never know and perhaps that's the whole idea of this journey. You never get to know the end of the story until you actually arrive there. The plot may thicken, the characters you meet along the way may betray you and break your heart, and maybe you'll bleed a little for those who swore that they loved you. But you can't die, not yet. This story is yours and who will tell it if you leave us here all alone now?
I will tell it. I would scream it at the top of my lungs if only I had the courage. I will tell it because it's the only thing that truly belongs to me and it is the one thing that separates me from everyone else in life. Our stories are unique, beautiful, ever evolving creations and they deserve to be told no matter how gory the details might be. My story is no different. It's beautiful in a blood soaked sort of way and I'd be more than happy to share it with you all if I only knew that you would really listen to me. But not just listen. I need you to hear me and to understand me, and I don't think you could guarantee me that, even if your intentions were pure. It's not your fault and I don't hold it against you. I don't expect you to understand because this is my story and the truth is that I don't understand it myself. And maybe it's better that way. The truth can be dangerous for me, say so many of the scars strewn across my body and I haven't much interest in spilling more blood in the name of the truth. Best to live in the safety of a lie...