I remember being around nine when I had my first definitive suicidal thought, though it started much earlier than that. A diary entry from my prepubescent mind aged around ten depicts a story of a lonely, sombre child. Alone in the playground with only her thoughts for company. Thoughts of horror, thoughts of death. Deep and fascinating thoughts no child should subject themselves to. These thoughts started with the most innocent of lies a mother tells.
I have habits, habits pigeonholed as bad. I stress bite my lip; just the lower. Chew until I draw blood. The lie I remember imparted about this particular habit was as follows:
“The bits of lip-flesh you tear off and accidentally swallow will find their way in to your arteries, clog up your heart and you will die.”
This provoked a deep inner monologue, a story of the rogue lip-flesh somehow finding its way through the lining of my stomach and rattling around in my body until it finds an artery to invade and kill me. A story with images, narrative and motive. An imaginative child.
This lie. This lie to scare and prevent, to postpone and deter.
No. I am still a stress biter. This habit did not begin so young, I was around twelve when this apparently deadly habit took control of my mouth, and my mind.
A possibly more serious and unpleasant habit took hold of me from an earlier age. This habit, this vagrancy came out of the blue. No one knew why, not even myself. It held me like a drug, I would tweak for my next hit if we had been kept apart. It was my delight; it was my addiction. It was vinegar. Straight from the source, sucking as a baby would from a bottle of milk. My mother hid it, I found it. I sought it. She put it out of reach; I would perform acrobatics to get it. What was my mother to do? She concocted another lie, possibly the first ridiculous lie my mother told me.
This lie. This lie so bold, so ridiculous, I believed. I believed this lie, this brazen distortion of the truth because my mother was my vessel of information. She had no reason to lie…so I thought. This lie was as follows:
“If you carry on drinking vinegar, it will dry up your blood!”
This liquid, this deadly, sharp tasting acid, this masquerade of toxins to be enjoyed over chips…will kill me? Not just kill me but indeed enable the blood in my veins to evaporate leaving hollow tunnels under my skin leading to my death?
This absurd lie, that I believed, this first catalytic lie to scare and prevent, to postpone and deter.
No. I drank as my stomach allowed. I drank until every bud on my tongue was raw. I drank in secret.