Blades This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 30, 2014
By , Boxford, MA
The blade hurt as it tore through my skin, but I didn’t stop. The droplets of blood that emerged from the slice encouraged me to go on. I can go deeper, I thought. I can do more. I pulled the blade through the gash again, and again, and again, until I was satisfied by my work.

I moved to another spot on my forearm, and repeated the process, carefully slicing through my skin, and watching the blood flow out easily. I deserve this, I thought to myself with each new cut.

“I’m fat,” I said aloud as I pushed even deeper into my arm. “I’m ugly,” the cut grew wider. “I’m stupid, I’m worthless, I’m nothing!” Repeating this mantra over and over, I carved 6, inch long gashes into my left arm. I sat staring at my work with bitter satisfaction for several minutes, then washed my arm, and opened my math textbook to work on permutations.

“Dinner!” my mom called from downstairs. Yeah right, I thought, smirking to myself. Like you’re going to get me to eat dinner.

Five minutes later, my mom was up in my bedroom, looking slightly concerned.

“Sweetie, it’s dinner time. I made chicken stir-fry,” I stared back, expressionless.

“I’m not eating dinner,” she looked confused. It had been days since I resisted eating, and weeks since I flat-out refused a meal.

“Come on,” she said, putting on her serious mask. She grabbed me by my left arm, and tried to drag me downstairs. In a moment of weakness, I winced when her hand rubbed my gray Elmira sweatshirt over the fresh wounds.

“What?” she said, letting go.

“Nothing,” I tried to pull the arm away, but she reached out. Grabbing my sore arm again, she pulled back my sweatshirt to reveal the raw gashes.
She froze.

I squirmed in discomfort as my mother stared at my cut up arm. When she came to the conclusion that I had indeed cut myself, she started to cry.

“Peter!” she called to my dad through the tears. “Peter!” I started to feel a little guilty. The sick feeling in my stomach bubbled up as I realized what I’d done to my mom.

My dad came running up the stairs, with the TV remote still in his hand, color draining from his face. “What’s wrong?” he asked, showing legitimate concern that was so foreign to him.

My mom shook her head, unable to form words. She held out my limp arm.

“We need to go to the hospital,” he said, already in action mode. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. I didn’t care; I didn’t want to see him either.

“NO,” I said, as I crawled into bed and pulled my pink blanket over my head.

“We’re going now,” he countered, more forcefully this time. “This is NOT acceptable. We’re going to the hospital now!”

My throat burned from how loud I was shrieking, and my knuckles turned white from clinging to the headboard.

“I’ll call an ambulance if you don’t get up now. You don’t want that, do you?” His low voice threatened. I knew this was the end. I couldn’t have the neighbors asking why an ambulance was coming to our house at 8:00 on a Monday night. I grabbed my teddy bear and my blankie, and walked down the two flights of stairs to the car in the garage.

The ride to the hospital was silent, except for the occasional sniffle from my mom. She sat in the backseat with me, stroking my hair as she cried. I sat straight and stiff.

My feet dragged as we walked through the doors of the emergency room, and were referred to the pediatric wing. After waiting only five minutes, my parents and I were taken into a room. I was bandaged up, and a nurse told us that there’d be a doctor in shortly. Who knew all someone had to say was “self-mutilation”, and I could get to the front of the line in an instant.

“You still need to eat dinner,” my mom said. I didn’t reply, but instead continued staring out the door at the crying babies and five-year-olds with broken legs. I couldn’t catch a break. My mom walked down to the cafeteria and brought back a turkey sandwich and a glass of whole milk that I wouldn’t touch even as the night went on.

Moments later, a doctor walked in and introduced himself as Dr. Isaac, a pediatric specialist. I averted my eyes, embarrassed to talk to this strange man.

“Could mom and dad leave for a minute so I can have a word with your daughter?” he asked. My parents hesitated before kissing me on the head and shuffling out of the room. My dad kept his eyes facing the ground, but my mom’s made contact with mine for an instant. For that moment, as we stared at each other, I was saturated by her sadness, before the first tear spilled from her eye and she walked away.

Dr. Isaac cleared his throat. He looked tired, his face was slack, his eyes were red, and the five o’clock shadow was evident. His black hair was messy, and a cowlick on his head stuck up.

“Hi. Like I said before, I’m Dr. Isaac, pediatric specialist. I’m on the floor tonight, so I wanted to check in on you before doing anything else. He droned on as I stared him down, distracted by the smudge on his black-framed glasses. “Uh, so what made you decide to, uh, cut yourself?” He winced as he asked the question, clearly out of his element.

“I don’t like myself,” I responded. It seemed like a fairly obvious question to me.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Uh, we’re going to keep you here overnight, and then decide what to do with you tomorrow morning. Do you have any questions?”

“No,” I said, even though questions were racing through my mind. What do you mean, do with me? How long do I have to stay here? I need to go back to school. He looked suspicious, so I repeated, “No, I don’t have any questions.”

“Uh, ok, well keep those cuts clean. There will probably be scars, but if you don’t pick the scabs, they shouldn’t be too bad. Ok, take care,” he said as he stood up abruptly.

“Thanks,” I croaked as he scampered out of the room. Scars…I hadn’t though about the scars. Well, I thought, at least everyone will know I hate myself. Then I felt embarrassed. What if people ask? Now I’ll be even uglier than before. And just like that, it circled back to my appearance. Like everything in the past year, this, my last attempt to express my pain, ended up hurting me, ended up making me feel even worse about myself.

My dry eyes, which had just been burning from the stagnant hospital air, now burned with the welling tears. In the reflection of the dark glass window, I could see my mother, hysterical in the hallway. My single streaming tear was not for me, but for her. As the droplet crossed by bony jaw, I decided. I won’t ever do this to her again.

The next day went much the same: countless doctors swirling in and out of the room with their lad coats and scrubs, food being brought in that I refused to eat, family members that I couldn’t bear to look at coming to visit. I was humiliated, regretful, embarrassed, and soul-crushingly depressed.

The pain lessens. The memory drifts away. The scars fade, but do not disappear. They last as a reminder of how I felt, what I did, and who I never want to be again.

Join the Discussion

This article has 13 comments. Post your own now!

Anonymous.. said...
Feb. 24, 2015 at 11:53 am
I love this!
iz_tehan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm
Thank you so much!
Jess M. said...
Feb. 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm
This is amazing! I'm very impressed and moved by this story and I hope you'll continue to write more. Great job!!!
iz_tehan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm
thank you!
noonespecial said...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm
Your story was amazing. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. Your story was truely amazing and inspiring. Stay Strong <3
Rainbowdash_chick said...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 6:32 pm
I loved this. Your story inspired me to write and post a true story of mine.
iz_tehan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm
thank you! good luck with your story
TheBlackInkter said...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 9:33 am
Very, very touching the way you put it. I think there are a lot of people who can relate to this and that makes it different for every single person reading this. It's sad, but in another way.. It moves me a little. I've personally gone through this myself, in maybe a little different manner, but I have. And still I can strongly relate to it. I think you did a really great job.
iz_tehan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm
thank you! it means a lot to hear that other people can relate to the writing
liveloud70x7 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 2:59 am
This was amazing. So well written, thoughtful, and concise. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Great article!
iz_tehan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm
thank you very much! i really appreciate that
Canadotas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 5, 2014 at 11:03 pm
Man... That's really well-written... I was thinking of friends I have who have gone through this, and so it really resonated with me. Very well done
iz_tehan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:33 pm
thank you so much! I'm glad it meant something to you
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