(Part 1) Geometry
I was fifteen the first time I cut myself. I don’t know why I did it. I think it had something to do with not feeling justified in my pain. I think it had something to do with nobody else ever caring how I felt. I think it had something to do with the lack of real danger in my life. So I cut, I felt a threat, and I felt a balance. I was in search of equilibrium. I was in search of a connection between my mind and my body.
Nobody else knew I cut myself (except for one). I never cut too deeply, or had any serious medical emergency. Nobody ever saw my scars either—or at least they never mentioned them. My favorite places to cut myself were my arms and my chest. Sometimes I would try to carve in miniature tattoos there, but the cuts were never deep enough to make an impression. This was when I was fifteen, and first discovered self-mutilation.
The first time I ever cut myself, I had failed a geometry test. When I got home, I told my parents I failed it, and they asked me how I could be so dumb to fail at geometry. I told them I thought it was hard. They said geometry was only about shapes, so it was easy. I said it was more complicated than that. They said they weren’t aware that geometry had changed its rules in the last thirty years. I told them it was hard for me anyways. They told me I better not fail my next test in the class.
I went up to my room and took out a razor that I had been given prematurely as a stocking stuffer. I had no need to shave at that point, but I had the razor. I pulled the right sleeve of my shirt up, and I made three equal incisions, pushing hard, watching the untouched skin become broken as it gave way to bloody trails. I was trying to cut out a triangle. That is, I didn’t want to cut out a piece of flesh in the shape of a triangle, but I wanted the cuts to make the outline of a triangle. Blood slowly seeped down over the area, and any thought that there would be a clean triangle left in the spot was forgotten. What I left was a messy splotch. It was sloppily done. But I saw the blood, and looked at my arm in a mirror, and I was glad I had done it. I was proud of myself. It was the first time I had changed the appearance of my body through my own immediate will. I stayed in my room for another hour or two until the bleeding had been fully clotted, and I went downstairs for dinner with my parents. They asked me what I was so happy about, since I had been so embarrassed and sullen earlier in the day and I just said that I was happy that tomorrow was another day to start afresh.