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Why I Never Wear Flip-Flops

I cast my eyes slowly, carefully, around the room. Most girls’ wrists are either bare or covered with hair bands and bracelets. A few of them however, are wearing thick sweatbands, which hide tender pink flesh. Flesh that was abused so seriously, life itself very nearly slipped out of the veins that ran under it.
My wrists never looked like that, because I never cut them. It only even crossed my mind once.

*



*



*

It was the first time I really felt desperate. The first time I felt the need to draw my own blood. The razor blade hovered longingly above my wrist. But I stopped myself.

“Why, why would you do this to yourself?”

I’m drowning. Drowning in myself. And I need out.

“But are you really going to take this way out?”

What does that mean?

“You’re going to let life conquer you? Some people live for over a hundred years. And you think you have to stop now? Life has gotten to you already? You’re going to be beaten this easily?”

And then I put the razor down- but only that once did my skin avoid being pierced. My skin and the same razor were close proximity countless more times- ready to connect.
But I denied the razor my wrists, because I was not going to let life conquer me. I decided I was going to beat it. I was going to beat it, and my life was going to be harder than anyone else’s- because I wanted to be that strong. So every time I felt like life was starting to get a grip on me, I was just going to make things even harder on myself.
It took me a long time to decide where I’d cut. Not my wrists. I knew that much. I thought about my scalp- it would be hidden under my hair. But the blood would be nearly impossible to rinse out, and if I ever left a dried flake in, the questions would start flying at lightening speed. It would be like a press conference- or an interrogation.
My belly was out of the question. Every time summer came around and I wore a bikini, there would an endless flow of worried glances and gaping mouths.
When I was shaving one day, I thought my legs would be a good option. No one would see them in winter and fall, and during summer and spring I could just say that I was really bad at shaving. But then I decided there would be rumors, rumors that were albeit, true, but nevertheless annoying.
I spent several science classes completely ignoring Mr. Jacobson, and just staring at the skeleton at the front of the classroom. I looked up and down its white silicon form countless times, looking for the ideal place.
Out of sheer luck, I literally stumbled upon the answer. I was returning my beakers to the main lab table, and they slipped from my hand. I dove for them, and narrowly caught them before that shattered on the unforgiving tiled floor. And I was staring at it- the perfect place.
My feet. Now one ever saw them. Not even at the doctor’s office- they never ask you to take off your shoes. I just couldn’t wear flip-flops in the summer. And I never did anyway; I wore sneakers all year round. I was golden.
I stood up and placed my beakers on the lab table.
Mr. Jacobson smiled at me and said, “Nice catch,”
“Thank you,” I replied, smiling back.

*



*



*

So now the bottoms of my feet are covered in straight, purposeful lines. The light ones heal quickly, but the deeper ones, they stay for a long time, sometimes they stay forever.
But that’s no big deal, because I never wear flip-flops. I’m always either in sneakers, or track shoes. Oh yeah, I joined track. Right after my razor and skin united for the first time, I decided I should run track, on my feet- just to show life that I can beat it, not matter how much pain it causes me.
So now my wrists get to wear pretty bracelets and colorful hair bands. And I don’t have to wear those telltale sweatbands that other girls do. Now I look down, and all around the room, checking out everyone’s footwear. Flip-flops…flip-flops… flip-flops… then there are my sneakers. And I smile.



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This article has 19 comments. Post your own!

AshTree said...
Nov. 13, 2010 at 10:42 am:
It's a very sad thing to think about-people cutting themselves. And you hear people joking about it but it's real and one day that could be you(not you but people who joke about it). It isn't my favorite story but it made me think. It was creative for her to cut her feet instead and I like your spin on it. Good job, but I would change some of the contradictions in it.
 
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Phoenix97 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm:
So, I like this because you took a cliche storyline and made it original and worth reading. The story flowed well, kept me hook, and surprised me at the end. I dislike this because it's scary to think about how many people may be hurting and we just don't even know it. :(
 
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red-head said...
Nov. 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm:
So Ilike your reading I really really do!! (wow that sounds weird whatever) so I'm more of a novel reader than short-stories but latly i've been hooked. I also don't comment on a lot of other people work beacuse hey it's yours and how you feel is important not me .but I heven't been able to stop myself when I read your work. Thank you. ( you write and I love that)
 
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FunFace said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm:

I think this story is super powerful.  I also loved your sentences, they were purpusful and strong. 

Ok so you may have other comments like this (sorry i didn't read them all to check)  but some parts were confusing.  For example you say how she never cut her wrist but then you say that that was the only time she didnt cut herself.  Although i understood later on i think you should make it clearer.  I also think that her reason about not being conquered by... (more »)

 
thepreachyteenager replied...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm :

Yes, I must edit that part and make it more clear :) whoops!  This was one of my more whimsical stories- I'm usually a hard-core fantasy girl.  But I liked how it turned out, mostly because this character intrigued me.  I'm rambling for no good reason.  Well, I guess it's one of those nights.

Anyway, thank you for the feedback.

 
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JoshuaRamos said...
Oct. 22, 2010 at 10:07 am:
I really like this. I know the feeling. This is great. I look forward to more of your work.
 
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DareYouToMove said...
Oct. 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm:

Kinda sad, but the message gets across really well.

"But I denied the razor my wrists, because I was not going to let life conquer me."

I think you meant, "but I denied the razor to my wrists" or something like that.

I like how clever the character is to find that spot to cut, but it's also sad how someone wants to cut that bad. Good job writing this though, very creative!

 
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thepreachyteenager said...
Oct. 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm:

Hello.  Recently, this story of mine has been suffering some poor ratings, due to unknown reasons.  Some unkind soul has been constantly rating this story a 1/5, and I would appreciate it if this person, (if you ever see this comment) might explain their motive.  If my story really is a 1/5 in your eyes, please explain why so that I might better it.  If you are doing this out of hate or simple mal-intent, I will ask you to please stop this behavior.  I also ask ... (more »)

 
flyingpinkgiraffes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm :

The same thing's happening to me.... ugh isn't it annoying??? (just to be clear, i mean the rating thing.....not the cutting in the story...)

But anyways, this was great.  I hate cliches.  I really really despise them, just as i suppose any writer does.  And I liked how you took something that's usually overused and cliched and made it your own.  That's a true show of talent.  It takes a real writer to turn around a cliche.

 
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BrielleM said...
Oct. 11, 2010 at 10:56 am:

Well...

This was good...

I'm trying to word my reply carefully so it doesn't come across as mean...

I just hate the whole concept of cutting wrists (or feet...whichever).

It was done in a creative way and written very well, and that says something about you as a writer, but I hate cutting. It's just sad.

But it was good overall. Very creative. And although I don't like the topic, it was a interesting idea and I enjoyed reading it.

 
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CallMeFelix said...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm:
Good job! and it seems as if she's somewhere to get help for the cutting because of the first and last parts and it seems as if she's saying everyone around her had been doing that...I dunno, just what it seems like. But really good job! Would you mind commenting on/rating Ten Reasons (or if you've already looked at that, The Journal? lol). xD Keep writing!
 
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Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm:
I've seen plenty of cut wrists at school, but never cut feet. Scary. I like how the speaker healed in the end tho.
 
thepreechyteenager replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 7:32 pm :
What gave you that impression?  I never meant for it to seem like she recovered, this was supposed to end with her still cutting.  Where in the story did it seem like she stopped?  Ok, I'm done bombarding you with question :)  but, please, answer!
 
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DaddyzUnwantedDolly said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm:
I really like this story, I never thought someone would cut their feet though, very creative. :)
 
thepreechyteenager replied...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:43 am :
Thanks.  I thought of this when I was down, so I was thinking all sorts of weird stuff... lol that was vaugue
 
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Brynn said...
Sept. 21, 2010 at 8:18 am:

Wow.

I really like this story. I don't really know why, but I do. It's interesting how the character does what others do, but she does it her own way. ^^

 
thepreechyteenager replied...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:45 am :
Thank you, originality is one of my big troubles in writing- soooo many stories already  written and so many characters already created- I always try to fnd new ones, though. :) 
 
Ari_lol replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm :
...kind of sad. It's soo much creativity put into something harmful. very interesting. good writing!
 
Healing_Angel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 7:05 pm :
This is so powerful and well written. It's not an easy subject to write about let alone be convincing. You 've done both really well.
 
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