A Different Kind of Pain
|21 June, 2011||Posted by BobbiJaye under Non-Fiction, The Red Dress Club|
I almost didn’t post this. I wasn’t sure if I should.
I’m not this person anymore. But I remember her very well.
A Different Kind of Pain
(The first time I cut after promising I’d stop.)
I sat on the edge of the bed, my hand clutched around the phone, thumb still lingering over disconnect. The echoes of his words hung in the air, making it heavy and thick. My whole body shook with the effort of breathing.
You don’t love me. You don’t respect me. It’s your fault I’m stuck here in this fucking desert. You don’t care what I’ve done for you. I gave you an opportunity and you just threw it away. I wasn’t shot at in Vietnam so you could be such a screwup.
He’d stopped taking his medication.
He thought they gave it to him to shut him up. He didn’t think he was sick.
You and your mother, you’re conspiring against me. Don’t think I don’t know that. You both just want me dead.
He berated me for an hour, twisting my words and flinging them back at me. He ripped me apart with one delusional accusation after another, and even though I sat rigid, trying to be strong— trying to be stone— the tears came.
Don’t try to pull that crying bullshit. You can’t manipulate me like that. You aren’t as smart as you think you are.
I stared at the phone in my hand. I hated him. I hated myself.
I wasn’t seven any more, but his words still paralyzed me. Even through a phone, he could back me up against a wall and recite my wrongs.
I couldn’t even disconnect the phone. Not until he stopped and I was shattered. Until he’d given me his permission to go lick my wounds.
Weak. The voice in my head spat the word at me.
I threw the phone to the floor and curled into myself, rocking, sick, aching. I had to do something before my skin turned inside out and my chest caved under the tight pressure of disgust.
I couldn’t hurt like this anymore.
My eyes flicked to the bottom drawer of my nightstand.
It had been three weeks since the last time. Since I promised I would stop. In three weeks, my wounds had turned to scars.
I opened the drawer and pulled out the tin lunchbox with Lucille Ball on the front. No one knew I had a kit. Inside was my salvation.
Bandaids, gauze pads, and a roll of adhesive wrap. A bottle of hand sanitizer. A washcloth— stained. Rubber bands. A pink thumb tack. An Exacto knife. Clean blades.
An orange box cutter.
I picked it up and turned it over in my hand, weighing the decision in the cool metal. Opening it, I ran my thumb over its blade. Just a little deeper and I knew I could trade the feeling in my chest for adrenaline and dopamine.
I could feel better.
I pulled my dress up over my hips and traced the blade across my upper thigh, leaving a thin, white mark.
Anticipation and guilt throbbed in my fingertips.
I held my breath and drew three hard lines down my leg— two for my father’s words and one for my own broken promise. Tears filled my eyes again as bright red blood rose in beads from the cuts.
I bit my lip and traced the line of blood with my finger.
I still hurt. But this pain, at least, I could see.
My father isn’t a monster. He has schizophrenia and PTSD. Medicated, he’s fine, but unfortunately, the nature of his illness is such that he doesn’t trust the doctors who are medicating him. I don’t know, really, what goes on in his head. But I do know that unmedicated, he is mean and paranoid and delusional. It isn’t his fault.
But it’s not mine either.
I’ve been clean now for one year, seven months, and twenty days.
Thanks for reading! Concrit welcome and appreciated!