by Maggie White
April 2007

The only upside of winter is snow, otherwise it is all just a downward spiral until late spring.  My father made it worse some winters.  His little whispers would run through my head like wolves in the snow.  You’re not smart enough.  Your opinion doesn’t matter.  You’re too fat.  You’re too skinny.  You’re just a child.  A person cannot take hearing these things for too long.  The wolves start to mess with your mind and soul.  You lose track of where you are going and you can no longer control even yourself.  The wolves control you and your life.

I do not know how it started.  Perhaps I have blocked it from my mind.  I remember the last time, though.  Outside it was so cold you could feel it deep inside your bones.  The kind of chill that takes hours to get rid of, but it was not snowing.  I was home alone, my brother was at school, and my parents were at work.  I was sitting on the floor of the disaster that I call a room.  Junk everywhere but in this one spot.  The carpet was a little dirty and it was not soft, the fibers were coarse under my legs and hands.  I always sat there with my laptop and my safety pin.  My safety pin was my knight and my locked tower by the sea.  It gave me back some of the control that the wolves took from me.  The blood that seeped from the cut was the impure thoughts that another caused.   At first, there was a small fear that someone will walk in, that they would see, but then the world stops mattering.  It does not matter that the apocalypse is happening or that world peace has finally come.  There were some moments I wanted my father to know that he was the cause of my impure skin.  He was the reason.  The reason I craved the pain and to see the one element of my body that I need to live.

In some strange second, I knew that this was not the way to deal with my problems.  I knew that I should talk to some one, but I did not want the looks and sympathy of those who did not understand.  Of those who could never bear the weight of such a secret.  I could have continued until some one had noticed, my arms tainted with so many little scars that I would have to find a different area of my body to taint.  The marks were easy to disguise as cat scratches, and no one ever enquired further into the matter.  I was very adept at making small little lines that looked like the scratches my cat gave me during my childhood.

It was time consuming and extremely painful to use a safety pin so I had lots of time to ponder. I thought about what I was doing and about life in general.  I thought about a friend I had in high school who would use an eraser on her arm.  I always thought that she did it for the attention. She always showed off the mark that was like a rug burn.  She said she was erasing herself; I never wanted not to exist.  I just wanted to control my life again.

As I was thinking, I had a thought that was disgusting to think.  He was still controlling me.  The one person I wanted to escape from was in my mind.  My father was still hurting me.  The wolves were part of him.  By allowing them to run freely through my mind, by hurting myself, I was allowing him to hurt me.  It was so shocking that I threw my safety pin into the black hole that is my room.  I found my way out of my locked tower and down to the snow-covered beach.

It was hard, to ignore one of the people who should have meant the most to me, the one person who should have cared for me and protected me.  I should have told my mother, but I could not and I never will.  I have only told one other person.  It is hard to share this secret.  Everyone reacts so differently some people may treat me like a piece of delicate glass, others may cut off all ties with me, and some may be accepting.  I hear them joking about cutting themselves, it makes my arm itch.  They do not understand what it feels like when you are so lost you do not know what to do.

Sometimes the itch to make a new mark is so strong I do not know if I can resist.  I failed at finding a way to express myself before; now I have to find ways to express myself and let the negative words of other people slide of my back.  In a way, it has forced me to be the stronger person that I am now.

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