They call it "trichtillomania", pronounced "TRICK-til-o-mania".
A six dollar word.
Six syllables to describe a lifetime of hair pulling,
all for the sake of some sick, sweet relief.
I have that.
I have that and I'm sorry.
because I have cut you, combed you, plucked you, pulled you, picked you.
because I have used you, ripped you, bit you, broke you, hurt you.
I'm sorry, because I have hated you for such a long time.
It's so easy.
It's so easy to lose myself in the thought that I can control you
in the backs of classrooms and empty bathroom stalls
where I think, and pray, and hope
that nobody will notice the growing pool of your being I'm leaving on the floor.
inquisitive, little devils,
need a sensation.
to remind myself that I am bored,
because sometimes my body cannot tell
the difference between work and exhaustion.
And when those two things become one
my fingers rise like butterflies to the ends of my scalp,
pick out one of your strands with a tangled, mangled end,
and trail down it like a weaver destroying a masterpiece.
It's gone now.
Fallen to the floor with fifty others just like it.
Short black strands with frayed, malnourished tips.
Soldiers whose place of origin will never remember them,
save for the small piece of skin that grows with every battle.
A bald patch.
Do you feel what I feel when I do it?
Does it hurt you like it hurts me when I can't stop?
When I spend hours just pulling and pulling and pulling,
are you screaming internally too?
If you could tell me something, what would it be?
I pull you so much and then pray that you'll grow back,
magically erase every terrible thing I've done
so that I can finally be beautiful.
Why does that word seem so strange?
In the age of beauty queens and shiny ad placements,
where do the weird ones go
with the ticks and fidgets and shakes in our fingers?
One day I will know the answer to those questions,
and whether or not I am deserving of that word.
Until then, please accept this apology,
of the hairy, tangled, uneven mess that is you.