“The logical part of my brain yells at me. I need to control myself. Every day, I promise myself that next time I will go straight to bed. Every day, I break that promise.”
10:00 p.m. I should probably be going to bed.
I turn on my lamp and turn off the main light, plunging myself into bed. I prop my leg up on my nightstand, right in the lamplight. The light illuminates my leg, revealing stout and short hairs. They dance in the light. They sing to me. Pick me, pick me. I lick my lips.
I pluck my tweezer from the drawer on my nightstand. I click it a few times, listening to the clank of metal on metal. Slowly, I bring the tweezer to my leg. I grasp a hair. Pull it out. Savor the delicious spark it creates in my nerves. I crave it. I crave more.
I pull, hair after hair, from my leg. The tweezer does an elaborate dance across my skin, biting my prey and swallowing it. I can feel the little hair vanishing from my leg, pulled up by its roots, like a child picking a flower. I have been waiting all day for this, for the quiet time before bed when I can pull at my luxury, aided by the tweezer.
While picking at my leg, I think about my day. I think about how hard it is to pull with just my nails, with the prying eyes of teachers and classmates. I remember them asking what I was doing, assuming I was peeling my skin, and turning away in disgust. But it’s worth it. Each pull brings a sting that feels like beauty in the form of what most people call pain.
I tire of plucking my right leg and move to my left leg. It feels just as good, just as worth the time. When I finish, I stick my foot on the table and scour it for hairs. I pick at a mound of skin that holds an ingrown hair. It bursts open and the hair leaps out, wriggling around, glad for freedom. I take it. I pull it. The nerves send the feeling to my brain. I do another one.
I do the other foot. The logical part of my head screams for me to drop the tweezers, to turn off the lamp, to lie down and charge up for school tomorrow. I don’t listen. I can’t listen. I don’t care. I climb up my body. Legs again. Thighs. I savor the delicious feast of removing hair.
Next, I do the stubby, prickly hairs in my pubic area. I open my underwear and look down, selecting the thick, black hairs to rip out.
Armpits. Hands. Fingers. I slowly become full from my feast. Slowly.
Upper lip. Nostrils. The tweezers go everywhere I need them to go, sliding out hairs like drawers slide out of cabinets.
I lay the tweezer down. Some hairs stick out of it, but most litter the nightstand and the carpet in between the nightstand and the bed. Still, my body begs for more. It wants the stress-relieving reap of the harvest. But I can’t do more. I need to sleep.
11:00 p.m. I turn off the lamp.
I am ashamed. I could have gone to bed early. I should have. But I chose not to. Instead, I pulled. The logical part of my brain yells at me. I need to control myself. Everyday, I promise myself that next time I will go straight to bed. Everyday, I break that promise.
It seems that I will always be a trichotillomaniac.