By Charlotte Koch
I think the beginning of it all was the pulling.
The careful process of latching on,
prying that infinitesimal piece of yourself
from your own body,
to gain control of your thoughts,
to go blank for a while.
I can remember seeing myself for the first time,
the horror as my already
harsh features became bare and alien.
These pieces I had torn away
would not grow back, and I would suffer
their bitter and vain consequences.
I could never cry or sweat, for fear of
losing my face,
having it melt right off my skull.
I took those feelings of fear and
vulnerability and I squeezed them
so hard into myself,
only to have them bubble to the surface
hours later. Witch’s cauldron cursing me
to endless years of self-loathing.
The sweet, blissful violence against oneself
contorted and silent for hours,
fingers pinched and swollen.
So many abuses for what?
A small thrill, a sense of contentment? Of control?
How fleeting, only to wake up and see that
monster who has grown to be you staring
back in the mirror.
I find myself stumbling into a CVS,
false halo from the fluorescent lights
shining into my unprotected eyes.
My journey takes me to the makeup aisle,
the beautiful women I will never be glaring back
from their glossy cages.
I’m only here to hide my little monster,
my character defect,
the falling action of my fruitless climax.
I defend myself with the powders and sticks
other women use to show their value.
So I regain my dignity in slow steps.
Try not to look too hard or long
at your reflection.
Leave the face alone, never rip
away anything that won’t come back.
Be a good girl and take your
hate and anxiety out on other people.
Show no fear for your face is a mask.