A Second Chance

September 11, 2010
By Anonymous

I'm crying because I miss my mom, because I'm scared, and because I'm lonely. I'm crying because I'm pulling out my own hair.

I've done this ever since the death of my mom when I was eight years old, I'm fourteen now. The anniversary of her death is approaching, and my trichotillomania is getting worse. During last night's ritual, I pulled out all the hair I usually tuck behind my left ear.

I'm looking in the mirror, seeing tears flow from the eyes of a reflection I no longer recognize. I wonder if my dad feels this way too. He's a firefighter, a hero. He saves lives; he doesn't watch them diminish right before his eyes. That's what happened with my mom. She had cancer, a disease that has no cure. You can't control medical problems, but they can put a whole bucket load of guilt on you.

I placed the hat on my head; the hat hides the display of my pain. I started thinking of how much I hate life. The bullies' voices echoed through my head.

"You'll never be anything."

"God, Britney, you're so ugly!"

"Hey, Britney! Can you show me how you pull out your hair? I've always dreamed of looking as beautiful as you!"

Just as the tears were about to stop, these thoughts triggered them again. Why do I let them rule my life? Why I can't I ignore them and just be me? I'm weak, that's why. I'm stupid, weak, ugly, never-amount-to-anything Britney.

I walked out the bathroom, remembering that my dad was at work this morning so I really didn't have to put on my hat. Today is going to be lovely, I thought. Most kids my age love being home alone, but I don't. Being by myself leaves me alone with my thoughts, those that I don't like to explore.

I reached the stairs, slowing going down them. I glanced into the family room and noticed the answering machine blinking. I pressed the play button. It was my dad telling me he would have to work a double shift, so he would't be home until early tomorrow morning. "Even better," I mumbled sarcastically.

In a way it's a good thing, even as much as I hate being home alone. I would be able to escape yelling for the next twenty-four hours. He will be really angry when he notices how much of my hair is gone. My dad always yells at me, saying I need to stop. That fact is obvious even to me, but it's a lot harder than what he realizes.

My dad looks at my trichotillomania as my way to try to forget my mom ever existed. We had the same hair color and hair texture. Even though I've explained it more times than I can count, he still doesn't understand that it's my coping mechanism, not a way to forget my mom.

I sat down in my favorite chair and turned on the television. My favorite show, Intervention, was on. This episode was about an alcoholic. He eventually became sober, but he died of cancer. I started crying again.

I started wondering how it feels to be dead. Can you even feel anything? I came back to reality to find myself staring at the one gun my dad owns. I walked over to the cabinet and realized that the lock was broken.

Someone told me to pick up the gun and take it upstairs, I did it. They told me to go lay down in my mom's bathtub, I did that too. They showed me how to hold the gun to my head and put my finger on the trigger, I mimicked them.

A split second before my finger pulled the trigger, the eight year old came back to me.
Why are you doing this Britney? Daddy will be so sad. Please don't make him cry. Mommy won't like you for doing this, either.

I lowered the gun and stepped out of the bathtub. I headed toward the stairs, my mission to put the gun back into the cabinet. I had almost reached the end of the staircase when I heard something beating the door. I froze. A hand masked in black glove broke the glass of the front door's window. The hand reached for the door knob and unlocked it.

Before my brain could tell my hand to point the gun at the door, the man burst through the door. He took one glance at me and the gun in my hand, and shot me. I fell backwards, never feeling anything again.

The author's comments:
Trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves an irresistible urge to pull out hair. This behavior occurs to the point of noticeable hair loss. The most common areas for hair pulling are the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows, but may involve hair anywhere on the body.

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