Crimson Tears

Copyright Daniel

I walked into my room and locked the door. My heart raced. My thoughts were bats beating their wings wildly in my head, looking for a way out. I flipped on the lights and climbed onto my bed. Sitting cross-legged, I reached under my mattress. I didn’t need to look to find what I needed; they had been there since the last time. I pulled a fingernail clipper, a serrated bread knife, and a blade from a utility razor.

I put the items on my bed and grabbed the fingernail clipper. Holding it in my right hand, I pressed the clipping edge against my outside forearm. Taking in a breath and holding it, I swiftly moved it up the length of my arm, it bled in two lines where the clipper had removed long spirals of skin, like a chisel on a piece of wood. The blood didn’t have time to bead up before I did it several more times.

I then picked up the bread knife. I placed the edge above the bone that juts out by my wrist and cut. The serrated edge forced me to be slow and methodical. I had to make many passes in each place before it would bleed. In the end, I drew a line around my wrist like a blood bracelet. My physical pain was rising, but it was a welcome guest compared to the emotional hurt.

The razor was last. I began to slice at the inside of my forearm. I made cuts until the pain in my arm felt like the pain my heart. I examined my arm. I couldn’t see the cuts for all the blood. There was more blood visible on my arm than skin, but, for the moment, I felt better.

It was my senior year, and I was a co-drum major of the Southridge High School Marching Band. The other drum major was Briana. We had been friends for three years, but I was confused. I doubted whether we had ever been friends. I felt lied to, as if she was just nice to me the way an older brother or sister is when they let a younger sibling tag along.

The first time I cut was after a band practise. I got in my car with a silent rage bubbling inside me. I clenched my left arm at the elbow and ran my fingernails down its length. Replaying what Briana said during practise in my head, I scratched several times. The next day I had scabs.

I remember going to Heather’s 18th birthday party even though I felt unwanted. I was playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) when someone came up behind me and pushed me in the back. I remember Briana saying,

‘Why don’t you let someone else play? You can play whenever you want at home.’

‘No I can’t. I don’t have a PS2,’ I responded.

‘Oh. Well, then you’re uninvited.’

It struck me to the core. I had had my suspicions that she didn’t really like me, but I never thought she would betray me like this. She wasn’t the type to say that to anyone. I thought we were friends, that she would be someone to defend me. My trust was broken, forever.

‘I’ll just take my pads and leave, then.’ What else could I say?

‘I thought you said this wasn’t yours.’

‘I said, I don’t have a PS2. The rest of it is mine.’

‘Oh, then you are re-invited.’

I left the party in silence. Aynna followed and forced me to talk to her while we walked around Heather’s block for the remainder of the party. I returned when it was over to get my stuff.

I didn’t want to feel used anymore, so I decided that I would stop talking to Briana when the marching season ended. I would be doing both of us a favour.

During that time, my feelings toward Briana got worse. She would belittle me in front of the band at every practise. I wanted our trust and friendship to be normal again, but I hated working with her. I was having a hard time keeping my anger and hurt inside. I felt overfilled, like I was going to burst at any moment, and that my anger and melancholy would spill out on everyone. I had no outlet for my feelings, so I cut. I hadn’t cried in years, and even though the feeling often filled my chest, I couldn’t get tears to come from my eyes.

I stopped talking to Briana on Oct. 16, 2004. I stopped talking to everyone. They probably wouldn’t care if I stopped. All anyone had to do was talk to me first and I would know that they cared. I hoped for that, but suspected they probably wouldn’t even notice. I was right.

I began to believe what Briana thought of me. I was worthless. My thoughts fed my self-injury and my self-injury fed my thoughts. I was digging a hole and nobody knew about it. When around others, I would act normal. I had to. I had to lead my band, and if I acted strange then people would suspect that something was wrong with me. If people knew about my problem, then they might act different. They might talk to me just to try and make me feel wanted.

Two weeks after I had stopped talking to her, Briana finally noticed. After our last band practise, she asked me if I was mad. We were in the hallway and I didn’t want to talk about it there. I didn’t want it public, but I quietly began to explain why I was upset. I had already concluded that it would be pointless. She thought nothing of me, so of course she would think the same of my feelings. She interrupted me before I could really begin to explain. She began to cry, but it didn’t affect me. It was all a show. I had scabs up and down my arms from hurt. Her tears didn’t weigh half as much as my blood.

After the fight, I began getting calls from members of the seminary council inviting me to go to activities, but they didn’t really care about me. They just cared about fulfilling a stupid calling. I even got cookies on my doorstep once and even though there was no to/from note, I knew who they were from. They were from the seminary S.W.A.T. team, a group of kids who went out to do ‘service without a trace’. I knew because I used to be on it, but I stopped getting calls for the meetings.

I decided to stop cutting when I began to get too much attention. I knew that I would get caught if I didn’t stop. Two weeks after I stopped, my parents found out. Aynna, the only one who knew I was cutting, told Briana, and Briana told her mom, who told my mom. I knew that I would never cut again. If I cut, then it would be for attention, and it was never about getting attention. It just wouldn’t be the same knowing my mom would be lifting my sleeves to look for scabs every other day. It would no longer relieve stress, but create it.

I only sat through two counselling sessions. I was already coming out of my depression on my own and didn’t want some shrink to ‘be concerned’ and ‘be my friend’ while getting paid eighty dollars an hour. I used to have friends like that, and all I had to do for them was bring my DDR to a party. I convinced him that I wasn’t crazy and told him that I would rather work this out myself. He agreed to meeting only once more, in one month, to see if I was doing OK.

Without cutting, I had to find another way to deal with stress. I started to exercise. I played DDR and jumped rope, but they were just replacements for cutting. I needed to find the real source of my stress. I watched from a distance as my former friends attended parties and had fun together. It was my fault that I was so distant from them, but I gradually stopped being jealous of their closeness.

Slowly, I realised that I did not need Briana or any of my former friends to be happy. I used think I was defined by my friendship with them, but I learnt that I was defined by my own actions and that, with or without friends, I was the same person. I did not need them.

I was becoming OK with myself. The need to cut became less and less every day. But even though I was OK, the social situation wasn’t. I felt like going to parties again and talking to people, but it would be awkward. If they wanted me, they would invite me. I stayed reclusive for about a month more. I was happy, but I couldn’t find a way to get back in again, and I still didn’t feel wanted.

A week later, Danielle, a friend of mine from Kamiakin High School called me. She invited me to hang out with her and some of her friends. I went, had fun, and began to hang out with them more. It was evidence that I was back to normal, not that I had just ‘stopped cutting’. Only one thing remained to be solved.

Seven months after the fight in the hallway, I went to Briana’s house to talk. Briana and I sat in her living room and talked for three hours. It felt good to talk to her. The weight of the fight and months of silence melted away with our laughter. None of the things that led up to the fight mattered anymore.

Briana and I still aren’t really friends, but at least we respect each other, and I still may not cry, but at least I no longer shed crimson tears.


Copyright, Daniel

I’m 16 have been hurting myself since I was 7 I don’t even remember how I started it was all so sudden I’ve stopped now for about 2 months and it’s been hell a hard getting here recently I’ve been wanting to cut a lot I hate myself for feeling like this I know it’s wrong but each time I do it, it makes me feel better for about 2 hours or so then the hurt just comes back and I just cant bare it I look at the scars on my arms and my legs and my chest and I hate myself I was put in a hospital when I was 12 they thought it would help but as soon as I got out I just went back to doing it even worse I would hide it always with sleeves or a sweater sometimes at school people would notice and they start talking crap like telling me that I’m stupid that I just want to fit in with the “cutting crowd” people can be so mean it just makes it even worse I try not to let them get to me but it’s hard my best friend has helped me a lot she also used to cut we both have dealt with so much it’s nice to have somebody who understands and to all those who think they can never quit dong this to yourself your wrong you can stop it’s hard but it is possible I used to think that I could never stop but I have and once you do it’s great don’t let people make fun of you for this it’s not your fault for doing this to yourself what if you go to far one day and you hit a vein and you’ll wish you could take it back but you can’t it’s either your cutting or your life cutting is just a gateway to killing yourself suicide is not the answer cutting yourself hurting yourself in any form is horrible but it can be stopped I want to cut every second but I don’t and I just hope I won’t go back down that road I used to cut heavily with a blade I’d carry it with me everywhere I went and when I didn’t have it I would use pieces of glass I found on the floor pop the eraser off the end of a pencil and jab the metal into my skin until I bled any sharp object I could find I would use things right now are tough for me and I’ve been having those really bad feelings of cutting but even more intense than ever parents divorcing I’m going through so much crap myself I’m gay and I really hate myself for being gay and apparently so do a lot of other people it’s hard being a gay guy in this world and lately I’ve been thinking of suicide I know I said all that pro life stuff and I probably sound like a two faced idiot but that’s just how I feel I wake up and all thats on my mind is cutting and suicide I know I need help but I’m to afraid to ask for it I don’t want to be put back in a hospital and I don’t want my family to know that I’m gay because they pretty much hate gays I don’t know what to do anymore I have friends who care deeply about me but I still feel so alone I am worthless I mean nothing a pile of waste I hurt everyone I’m stupid and ugly I don’t even deserve death I want just to be happy for once is that to much to ask for? I’m gonna try my best to stay away from hurting myself I know I can do it it’s rough but I have to at least try we all do anyone can overcome this any girl and any guy we just have to be strong and live life may suck now but we have to have hope that it will get better because it will no matter how much it hurts things can’t always stay crappy things only get worse before they get better hurting yourself, depression that’s not all that life is made of life is a gift you may not see it but it is things do get better have hope and just live.


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