I love the smell of water in the air. It’s so fresh, and it makes the air feel soft as I take a deep breath. That scent adds some sort of fluffy tail to the lasts wisps as they trickle in, tickling the back of my throat, making my lips curl towards the sky. It’s amazing how different my entire body feels when I’m wearing a genuine smile. It’s a feeling I recognize and cherish.
But just as quickly as that familiarity invades my bones, it also begins to seep right back out. That smell of water clicks with other wires in my brain, and I’m rushed into a common scene; me, in front of my bathroom mirror. My clothes lie all around me, and my eyes are focused only on my reflection. I’ve done a good job hiding the scars for years and years, but I can’t hide them for more than a day from myself. And the image I see in the mirror, it always hurts so much…
I love the smell of water, because I love being in water. I love swimming and floating in a lazy river. I love cannonballs and diving into the deep end and going down the waterslide 1 million times. I love playing catch, making insane dives off the pier thanks to the soft landing the water provides. I love relaxing on the beach, sprawled out on a towel, working on my terrible tan lines. I love chowing down on watermelon and popsicles and cans of root beer. I love all of that…I loved all of that…I loved the water when I was a kid. I looked forward to going to Turkeyfoot Lake every weekend. I couldn’t wait to spend an entire day swimming, followed up with barbeques and backyard baseball. I loved catching fireflies at dusk, and lighting sparklers when it finally got dark. I loved my summers.
I loved being in the water, so of course I love the smell of water. But now those memories make my stomach cave in, because I know what will happen now, if I tried to relieve any of those moments. So many questions would be asked, and I wouldn’t be able to answer more than a few.
“When did this start?”
Before my first trip to the lake, I was already cutting, but I was just starting. I made sure to keep things small and in more hidden places, like my thighs and legs, places people wouldn’t see so readily. I already understood at 9 exactly how fucked up this shit was.
“Why did you start?”
I don’t have a good answer for that. The best I can do is this: I started cutting after I stopped peeling my skin and biting my nails. I would pull the skin from my fingers in 1st grade, I remember. I peeled that skin until they would all bleed, and it drove my parents and teachers insane. So, to avoid being yelled at, I progressed to more subtle, accurate methods. A pen prick here, a tiny slash there. It was just easier to maintain.
“Why do you feel the need to hurt yourself?”
Does a cut hurt? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m sure a deep cut would sting. I’m sure if somebody stabbed me, or a samurai sliced my stomach open with his katana, I would be in pain. But these little lines running the length of my arm? Those don’t hurt. They are shallow, hardly breaking the surface. They look worse then they are. But to answer your real question, I don’t know why I feel like I have to hurt myself, especially when I know my scars will hurt others much more than they hurt me. Lately I think it’s because I know the more scars I have, when someone finally does see them, they will see so many scars that the hope they can help me will immediately be lost. Basically they have become a sort of insurance, a fail safe to ensure that I fail.
“Why do you want to fail?”
Because I want to die.
“And why do you want to die?”
Because I can’t fix me. I can’t fix who I am. Dying won’t make up for the horrible existence that is me, but I can’t make up for it by continuing to live either. So my choices are to either keep going, or call it a day. I need to call it a day. It’s what’s best in the long run, for the world and me.
“Then why are you still alive?”
…because no matter how hard I try, I can’t completely give up dreaming that I’ll find a way out someday…
“So what will you do next?”
I’ll think about change. Then I’ll talk about change. Then I’ll plan some changes. Then I’ll make some changes. Then I’ll slip up. Then I’ll slip up again. Then I’ll give up on changing. Then I’ll find myself at the bottom again, in awe of how the bottom just keeps getting deeper, and I’ll start the whole process over again.
“And what happens, when the bottom never comes?”
It will mean I’ve either grown some wings and taken flight, or I hit the bottom, broke both my legs, thus making it impossible for me to ever climb back out.
“And when you can’t climb back out?”
I stay down there, and I starve.
And then…. I can finally accept myself…. and I will finally be able to die…