"What do you mean they wont help her?"
"They told me that when I take her to the hospital she has to have a fresh cut because otherwise they tell me she isn't doing it! It pisses me off. How can someone just ignore cuts on a girls arm? I don't know what to do about her anymore! On top of the cutting she's foul mouthed, doesn't listen, doesn't do anything!"
I stand and start back up the stairs, quietly so my mother and aunt can't hear me and don't know I was spying. I close my door and put in my ear buds. Looking at my wrist, I see why my mom is worried and I don't know if I can stop. Scars and cuts going left to right on both of my arms give me nightmares but I can't stop. It makes me feel better to have control over one thing. I rummage through my backpack and pull out a crumbled paper that has a very well done, I'll be it rude drawing. It's a girl with no features. Just words: Stupid, ugly, loser, fat, fake, not enough, freak, emo, bitch, slut, and attention whore.
One of my so called friends gave it to me a few months ago and I kept it for some dumb reason. Looking at makes me mad. Mad enough to want to punch her in the face. But instead, I lock my door, take out a razor that I had gotten off of a new pencil sharpener. It has been my friend for a while. Maybe a year but I can't remember. Not this particular one. I don't want to get sick. Well, sicker. I switch them out every month. Most of the time from new pencil sharpeners but also those eye liner sharpeners. One I even had a box cutter.
I pull the razor over fresh skin. Watch as the blood bubbles out. Make it a little longer, more blood. I'm so focused on my arm and on my music I don't see that my door has been picked and is now hanging open. My mother runs to me while my aunt takes out her cell. I see my mother is mad, furious even but the cut feels so good, and the music is just so deep, I don't hear her.
We are in the car on the way to the hospital but instead of being scared I'm mad that they ruined my ritual. That was my time, in my head, without the world and mean people and rude parents.... Parents that aren't there. When the door opens I don't get out. I just sit. My mother goes and gets someone to help. I male nurse it looks. I guess it's a good thing there are male nurses. Just not a good thing for me. They place me in a wheelchair because I refused to move. Still, even in the chair I'm not moving. I haven't moved my hands or the rest of my body. I don't care that I'm not comfortable. They bring me to a room with bare walls. There are straps on the bed and bars on the window. I guess this is crazy room. Nothing in here is sharp. The border where the wall meets the floor is rubber. The bathroom door has no handle, it just simply pushes either way. No lock either.
The door to the room is closed for a bit before a pretty woman comes through it. "Hello. I'm Doctor Rode. You must be Summer. It's nice to meet you." She doesn't offer her hand to me but she seems nice enough. She glances at my arms and I turn them over so she can't see. She smiles and writes something in her chart. My chart. She exhales loudly and says, "You know why you're here." Not a question. "I'm going to try and help you. I'm not only a medical doctor but I'm also a therapist. You can say anything to me and I cannot tell anyone what you said. It will stay between me, you, and this little chart here." She taps the clip board. "Now, in order for me to help you, you are going to have to talk to me. Can you at least say hello?"
I'm getting annoyed by her speaking to me like I'm five so I say, "I'm not a child." She looks confused. "You don't have to use your child voice on me. The one that's higher than normal. I wont talk to you at all."
I can see her bitting the inside of her cheek and I know that this time, I hit a nerve. "Okay. Fine. Tell me why you're doing this to yourself. I want to know, your family wants to. Your friends."
"I don't have any friends. My school is filled to the brim with cheerleaders, jocks, smart kids, and stoners and I don't fit into a single group."
"You must have someone you talk to."
She's getting more and more annoyed at me and I think it's funny. I hide a small smile from her. "Okay. We will focus on your family then. Tell me about your mother."
"My mother. She's nice enough. But she doesn't understand."
"Understand what, Summer?" I stop talking. "Is it what you feel that she doesn't understand?" Silent. "Is that all you are going to say for today? Because you can have me here as long as you want. You are my only patient." Still, I'm quiet. "Okay." She stands. "I will be back tomorrow. And you must have something to tell me. I can see it in your eyes. Also, your mother has given us permission to keep you here as long as we see fit." She leaves. I get out of the chair for the first time since I've been here. I look out the barred window. See a bird and wish I could be flying away with it. Cliched, I know. But no one cares what birds do to themselves. They fly into windows and people say, "Oh they just can't see it." Maybe that's not the way it is. Maybe they see the world for what it really is. A crappy place where you live, go to school, work, then die. There is no point.
The next day rolls around and Doctor Baby Voice is back. "In order for you to leave here and hop back into society, I need you to talk to me." No hello this time. "I need to know what I can give you to help you with this problem. And for the medication to work I need to know why you harm yourself. Depression is one of the top contributors to this." I give her a blank stare. "Is that why you cut, dear? Are you depressed?"
"I am so fricking tired of hearing that word. Depressed. Psh! You want to know why I cut? Let me call you fat, ugly, a waste, stupid, dumb, a loser, a moron. Let me make fun of your clothes and your hair, your life style, your family and we'll see how damn happy you are at the end of the fucking day!" I blew up a little. Something I didn't want to do.
The doctor didn't even flinch at being yelled at. She just wrote something in her stupid little file. "I see. Well, I believe we have just made a bit of a break through. A nurse will come around with some medication in a small cup around seven." With that she left. I guess it's a short session when the patient yells at the doctor.
It's been two weeks since I was admitted to the hospital. Almost a week and a half since I've been on my meds and, even though I wont tell anyone, I don't feel any different. I still want to punch that one girl in the face, still want to "harm" myself. My older sister, who has three kids of her own, is taking me in. I guess my mother didn't want to deal with a non-perfect child like my stupid brother. I'm sleeping on the couch for right now but she said she's going to get one of those beds that sits under another bed and you've got to pull it out in order to sleep. I've been at my sister's apartment for a few days and it's nice. I actually have things to do and I don't feel like I have to lie. At my mother's I didn't really have much to do. Nothing to be in charge of. My room and homework was it. Maybe teenagers do crave structure more than we think.
Here I'm supposed to do dishes every Tuesday, clean the littler box every third Thursday, fold my own laundry, and do the living room floor every other Monday. Today is Wednesday which mean youth group at the local Salvation Army. It's nice there. My mom works there as a cook for people who can't afford it so I'm allowed in the kitchen. Right now I'm searching through the fridge when my cousin, Allison comes in. "Hey, Summer!"
"Ally!" I hug her tight even though every time she sees me she says, 'Don't kill me'. I like to give bear hugs. She lets go. She recently broke up with her boyfriend who she was living with about five hours away or something far like that. "When did you get back?"
"This past weekend." She's giving me 'The Stare' which means she knows about my recent hospitalization. She doesn't say anything about. "Still enjoying bible study?" She's an atheist so she doesn't come for the classes. Just to be with family which I hear she didn't get much of when she was in.... What ever small town.
"Yeah. Still liking your science stuff?"
She smiles. "Yes. Whatcha looking for?" She opens the fridge more.
"Not sure. Just kind of... looking."
"Sounds fun. Welp, I'm going to search out your nieces." She ruffles my hair then walks off. I love it when she's around but sometimes she's too forward. Last time I saw her she told me she'd kick my ass if she heard I'd cut again. I knew she was joking but I also knew there was some seriousness in there. The hair ruffle was probably part of her "ass kicking". She knows I hate my hair touched.
I can't find what I'm not sure I'm looking for so I close the fridge door. I realize I have to pee so I head to the bathroom. Even though it's not far it gives this girl that used to be my friend enough time to walk up to me, pinch my back fat, and call me "Fugly". I feel bad for myself but don't let her see it. I flip her hand off my back and walk faster. She and a few of her popular friends giggle. I get to the bath room, go, then look in the mirror while I'm washing my hands.
I look at my cheeks which are plump and kind of pink. My hair is short and black with blonde bangs. Eyes a boring chocolate brown. My clothes are lose but you can still tell I'm a bigger girl. I back up and see my thighs are touching, unlike that girls. I walk out and sit down near the youth area, ready for tonights
Tonight I go to my mother's. Oh, what fun. I get there and the first thing she says is, "Your room is a mess. You should clean it." I stomp up the steps and go to slam my door but it's not there.
"Mom! Where the hell is my door!"
From the bottom of the stairs I hear, "I took it off. I'm tired of that door being locked." She walks off. I'm still roaring for a fight but I back off. I go into my closet and take out a razor. I hold it to my skin for a moment, thinking. Instead of putting it back like I should have, or better, thrown it out, I press it harder and drag it over my skin. I think it's better than going down and throwing something at my mom. At least this way, I'm the only one hurt.
I hide the razor again and pull out my homework. Lucky for me it's a cold December day so my sweater isn't out of the ordinary. I start with my Math and finish with my English papers. By the time my mother calls up for lights out, I'm done. I lie in bed for a while, feeling my scars on my left arm with my right thumb. I really don't know why every one is so worried about me. It's not like I'm stupid and am going to go too deep. But I should stop so people will leave me alone. But I can't. It feels too good when I do it and I feel less stressed after. I go back to my sister's tomorrow I'm happy. She doesn't yell at me.
Thankful that I'm back at Grey's, I plop on the couch and exhale. My youngest niece, Dawn, is watching 'Wizards of Waverly Place' but I don't mind. It's better than being at mom's and getting yelled at. No one has looked at my arm yet, knock on wood. And I'm not sure when I'm going back to school but I don't want to. Curious I say, "Grey. When do I go back to school?"
She looks up from paying her bills. "I was thinking Monday." I wrinkle my nose. "You have to go sometime. Get back into the swing of things."
I huff. "I know but it doesn't mean I want to." I turn back to the TV. I don't want to go back there with all the bullies and preppies and jocks. The people who make fun of me because I'm unfortunate enough to be one of those girls that's got a mustache and because I read books without pictures. After a few more hours of TV I turn it off and pick up a book by Ellen Hopkins that Ally had let me borrow.
It's almost two in the morning so everyone but me is asleep. I've basically got the house to myself. I hear my belly growl at me but look down at the fat and think about the girl that pinched me. I tell it to shut up, put my book down, and go to sleep.
It's only ten am on Monday and I'm pissed off already. That girl from the Salvation Army did that back fat thing again. This time though I almost decked her. If the teacher hadn't been near by and caught it, Sam would have a bloody nose. And I'd be suspended. That would give mom something to bitch about. Instead, Sam got a bullshit warning. What good do warnings do? Nothing. They just make you a little more cautious the next time you do wrong.
I'm on my way to History. I hate History. Who cares what now dead people did? We don't learn. People start the same shit no matter how many times they saw it was bad. Bush got elected twice, didn't he? Prime example that we don't learn so why bother teaching us about the past? I'd rather learn more about art, English... Stuff like that. Maybe have a writing class or two. But that wont happen because I'm in a jock prep sunday. Stoner sprinkles on top. Whatever. I sit in my seat and the jack-wad behind me makes a farting noise. The class laughs but I'm so used to it I don't react. It's not that I don't care it's just... I've basically been bullied since I came to middle school. I'm almost immune. That most fucked up part of this is a few years ago, maybe two, this school district had a kid try to do a shooting. They caught him before anything happened but the reason he almost did it was because of being bullied by so many people. No one did anything. They sent him to a loony bin for a while. He was home schooled the rest of the year and then they moved.
See what I mean about people not learning?
I excuse myself to the bathroom, rude comments following me. I sit in a stall and fuss around in my bag. "Where is it?" I mumble. I don't find my razor but I find a note. 'Tsk tsk. Hiding that in your bag. -Grey'
"Well fuck." I go back class without a small release. I thought I was touchy before but now I'm on edge. The previously mention jack-wad kicked my chair and when I jerked forward I learned he had hold of my hair. It was a big enough chunk to hurt like a mother so I turn around after scratching the spot and bop him in the nose.
A prep screams and the teacher runs back. "That freak just punched Bill in the nose!"
"I'm not a freak! And he started it! He pulled my fucking hair!"
The classroom gasps. "Summer Masten!" yells the teacher. "Out in the hall!" He's pissed so I don't argue. I just stand. The boy behind me now seems scared as opposed to an ass. The door closes and the Mr. Tesi says, "What was that? Why did you punch that boy?"
"I told you! He kicked my seat hard then when I reacted to the movement he had my hair. He pulled it out!"
"You didn't have to punch him! And then curse in my classroom. To the principle. Now!" He goes back into his classroom. "Are you okay?" I hear as the door closes. I swing my backpack onto my back and slowly wander to the office.
"Are you miss..." The woman looks at the computer screen, "Masten?" She looks up and you see she is more upset than the teacher. Then I notice her name: Sabin. The same as the boy who I punched.
I exhale sharply. "Yes." What fucking luck. I sit down but Mrs. Waldor come out of her office at the same time and calls me in.
She asks me to tell her why I did it, so I do. "That is no reason to punch a boy in the mouth. You go to the teacher or come to me." I huff. "What?"
Still pumped with pissed off adrenaline I say, "That wont do anything. All I'll get labeled as is 'Snitch' and I'll have more sh..." I stop myself from swearing again and getting myself into more trouble, "crap done to me. My life is already crappy here."
"What do you mean by crappy?" I see her glance at my wrist and I know that someone, probably my mother, told her about the cutting.
"I mean that I get picked on every day. I get called fat, ugly, stupid, and a bunch of other fucking names!" There's the slip. I'm already in the shit, might as well swim. She literally is taken back. He chair moves backwards as I yell again. "My hair gets made fun of, my shoes, my clothes, the way I fucking walk! How can you even make fun of someone for walking? I don't know! But they know how to! And it makes me feel like shit every day! You are so lucky that I haven't punched anyone else!" All my yelling made a group of people, teachers, staff, and some goody-two-shoe students come to the door and watch me scream at the principle. "They poke at me, prod at me. Throw things at me and everything! And what does your staff do? Nothing! That's what! They stand there and let it fucking happen!"
I fling off several more examples of this shitty school before a male staff member yells at me to stop. He's bigger than me and has a way deeper voice and it scares me into stopping. I stand there red faced, just flat out pissed off as she calls my mother and tells her what is going on. The male that had interrupted me escorts me into a separate room while my mother drives over so her and Mrs. Waldor can talk. I listen intently but can only pick up some words. Cyber was in them so I'm guessing they are kicking me out and giving my mother alternatives to regular school.
"She punched a boy," Mother tells the doctor. "Then she yelled her principle with multipul swear words. They kicked her out and I need you to help me because I am at my wits end. Put her on something stronger!"
"I'm sorry Ma'am. But we can't do that until she talks to me. I would love to help you out so, if you bring her in Monday, Wednesday, and Friday's we can do therapy."
My mother huffs. "Okay, could we do Monday, Thursday, and Friday? We have bible study Wednesdays."
They agree that it all works for them, five pm on Mondays, and four on Thursdays and Fridays. On the other hand, I don't want to go. But what "self destructive teenager" would? Apparently, we don't want help and just want to make everything harder for everyone else. I was eavesdropping while Dr. Baby-voice and Mother talked privately. I've gotten pretty good at it in the last few months. Back to my point: I don't want t make things harder for other people. They keep making it hard on themselves wondering where they went wrong instead of just letting me do whatever.It's not like I'm cutting other people.
I wake up the next morning and mom is on the computer. She doesn't look at me when I come down the steps and I do not say anything to her. I look back as I walk into the kitchen at what she is looking up. Some online school is up. Actually, there are a few tabs open, all say either "cyber" or "high sch". I grab a bowl and as the cereal clicks in mom says, "I found a charter school that gives you a computer to work with and has weekly classes with your teachers in some kind of virtual classroom. I'm going to sign you up and you will do it." After rolling my eyes and pouring in the milk, I eat my cereal. About a week later she says that we are going to the building where the office for the "Online School" is. We walk in and, unlike regular high school, no one is in the halls. It seems more like a doctors office than a school thing. We walk through a single door that has the school name over the top.
"Hello!" A cheery little woman is at the front desk. "What can I help you with?" She smiles.
Mother smiles back, "My daughter and I have an appointment with someone here by the name of Donnie Fox."
"Donnie is right back there," she motions towards a doorway. "Just knock on the first door to your right."
The door is open and in the room sits a middle aged woman with graying hair and glasses that look too small. Mother knocks and she looks up from her paper. "Mrs. Masten and Summer?"
"Yes." Mother puts on a smile. I don't.
"Nice to meet you. Have a seat." Like any principle's desk, there are two chairs in front of it. We settle in and she begins what I sense is an over used, little speech. "We at Delvalle Online School feel that it takes a special teacher to teach through a computer, therefore, we have only the best teachers here. Most of our students go on to great colleges or find lovely jobs right after graduation. We have classes covering every subject you could imagine including a few college courses to give our students the best chance at becoming successful. May I ask what you like to do, Summer?"
Like usual, I'm silent so mother jumps in for me. "She enjoys drawing and reading and is a wiz at the computer."
"That's lovely. Not many kids are interested in reading nowadays." The conversation goes on for what seems like hours so I tune them out. Thinking of nothing really. "It was so nice to meet both of you and you will get the supplies very shortly." Mother stands and shakes the woman's hand so I'm guessing it's time to go.
We get to the car and mother tells me something I completely ignore. "Summer. Did you hear me?"
"This is your last chance. You have to get this schooling done and stop cutting or...... I don't know what I'm going to do with you. But I know for sure you are not staying at your sister's anymore. Maybe you'll have to go with your uncle."
"Which uncle?" Terrified of what her answer would be I heard it before she even spoke his name. "Uncle Josh!? I don't want to live with him! Ally told me basically horror stories of living there!"
"Then stop with all this bullshit, Summer! I'm tired of worrying that one day I'll come home and you'll fucking be dead! Do you understand me!?" I hear her choke up so I don't say anything. "You fuck up one more time and I'm sending your ass to my brother!" She drives home in silence and I don't go for the radio.
Since that drive home from the school, when I was threatened to go live with my belt happy uncle, I've been a straight arrow. I didn't even need to go to Florida, just the thought of living with him and his stuck up wife and their perfect daughter made me shiver. I'm passing my school with only one C. It's math and mom doesn't yell at me too bad with it because she ain't to good at it either. I think I like the online school better, too. And that is probably one of the reason's I'm actually passing. No one calls me fat or hits me. With cutting, I had the urge to do it a bunch of times. But then I remembered where I'd be going and just.... dug my nails in my hand a little. Not enough to make it bleed but enough to not punch someone again. Oh, and that boy that I punched didn't press any charges or anything. Turns out there were too many people that saw him fuck with me first so he his mother couldn't really do anything. Is that a win or what?
I've also made my room less dark and "emo" as my sister called it. I guess it helps with my depression. The sun shines now and it makes me smile. My cousin, Ally, told me she used to cut and that now she regrets it. But she didn't cut on her arm like I did. She preferred her leg and she doesn't really like wearing shorts much now. Says she's ashamed of her scars. I suppose one day I will, too. Probably when I have kids and have to explain why mommy has scars on her wrists. But for right now, it makes me feel..... This may sound stupid but they make me feel accomplished. Like I got over something huge. Because, well, I did. I got over being bullied and I wasn't one of those sad stories you read on the internet about the teens that jump into oncoming traffic or in front of trains. Jumping off buildings and stuff. I was strong enough to not do anything too rash. And, even though I was pretty much scared straight, I still look back and think it was dumb what I was doing. How I was hurting myself. Don't get me wrong. I still want to. Ally says that feeling never goes away.
I'm still in therapy and I don't think it's helping. I think what helps more are the drugs they have me on. I haven' the slightest as to what it's called but I feel fine. Hardly ever am I pissed to the point of punching or yelling. It's not like I'm a zombie or anything. Just leveled out. I like it.
This is dedicated to my cousin. I really hope you stop soon. And to you other cutters out there I hope you can stop, too. I understand that it's like a drug you can get addicted to. Ally, for the most part, is based on me. I used to cut and yes, it was on my leg. I still get the urge to cut even four years later. I slipped up about two years ago and hated myself for it after. I really do hope that somehow we can stop self harm.