I love my mother very much, but when I was a child she would sometimes drink gin and call me a piglet while making these awful, swinish squealing noises. Daddy ( or Justin as I called him because he was just the latest in a long string of Momma's boyfriends who lived with us for the food stamps) said she didn't mean it, that it was only a joke. He was lying though; Cheyenne, my friend from across the trailer court, used to come around wearing her turquoise capri pants, and I saw the way Justin looked at her. I pretended not to notice, but on some level I knew that I carried his genes within me, genes that told me "I am dysfunctional and no matter what I do nothing is my fault."
In sixth grade I began cutting myself. At first it was manageable; while helping Mrs. Schwarzkopf grade papers I would sometimes run my fingers along the edges of the assignments for the revolting pleasure of a paper cut. That sounds innocent enough, but things soon became more complicated, though at the time I welcomed those complications as evidence I was coming of age. My sanctuary in those days was an alcove in the school boiler room next to a barrel of that purple, sawdusty powder the janitor used to soak up vomit, amd often as I was weeping there and making myself bleed for what I'd done the puke-absorber smell was so strong that not yarking wasn't an option. At first I was ashamed of my boiler room nausea, but I eventually realized that vomiting was what Justin would want me to do. He had been murdered by the Gypsy Jokers at a flea market in Bakersfield, but I never forgot those turquoise capri pants.
That vomit powder, coupled with Cheyenne's whorish clothes, created a void within me I could only fill by hurting the people around me. Though I felt that, ultimately, my disgrace was mine and mine alone and that Momma had no other choice but to humiliate me, it seemed fitting that others should suffer too.
Soon I was setting up situations where I'd be able to injure someone without it seeming intentional. One time Kathy Keiser had been hit in the head during "dodgeball" so I ran over and, while it looked as if I was trying to keep her from swallowing her tongue, I was actually shoving her skull repeatedly into the floor, hard, and muttering under my breath "This will make Momma love me." Hurting others was wrong, I knew it was, but it was the only way to drown out my mother's mockery.
Once set on a path of sadism I never looked back. My ex-husband, Keith, looked exactly like Axl Rose, though like Axl his thuggishness exceeded his fighting ability. On our honeymoon he claimed there was a palmetto bug on my head and hit me with a flyswatter, so I cut off his left earlobe with a citrus zester. He never raised a hand to me again, but that was OK, we had other ways of validating each other. Keith had some odd fetishes, so most weekends we would smoke crack and then I'd put Post-It notes on his nipples and run fish hooks through his septum and perineum. If the crack was particularly good I'd finish off by cutting his thighs with an X-Acto knife while screaming "I'm not a piglet, you're a piglet, and now you're going to die!"
We completed each other, Keith and I, but we split up after I knifed his pit bull. Danzig was a good dog, but very duplicitous, and one afternoon he gave me this look, so I had to gut him with a filet knife. The last I heard of him (Keith, not Danzig), he was in the state pen for passing bad checks; if he gets shanked in there I will imagine, with undying love, that I was the one who finished him off.
What I'm saying here, I guess, is that while hurting yourself can be fun, the only way to make Momma stop squealing is to hurt other people. Thank you, OS, for letting me get this off my chest.