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Choke, Cut, Burn, Destroy, … Build

December 21, 2012

I was once in a place called Polinsky Children’s Center; it’s a “receiving home.” I was very angry and sad about something and everything, just in general. I was 12 years old when I was placed in Cottage H, Teen Boys, top left tier near the bathrooms. I was on one-on-one watch, which means a staff member was assigned to me personally, and rather than placing me in the 8-10 person groups, I was in my own room. I do not remember what it was that set me off or if I had just erupted out of the “blue” or the dark. I began to yell and curse and spit and beat against the walls. After a short while of this behavior, my one-on-one called other staff, and I was restrained on the floor. I fought and fought and struggled, and basically, gave them a hell of a time. Finally, I was worn out, and I began to sob. I sobbed and mumbled and yelled that I wanted to die. A psychologist was called, I told her that as soon as they left I would kill myself. To which, she responded something like, do you really want to hurt yourself? I said yes, and she told the staff to release my arms, but keep my legs restrained. Then she told me to choke myself, and I did. Then she told me to REALLY choke myself, and I did. She seemed to watch me with great interest as I squeezed and clawed my own throat. That night I was transported by ambulance to a mental hospital. I’ve been in three — Mesa Vista twice, Bayview twice, Caps once. I don’t remember which I went that night; I think it was CAPS where I stayed a year.

Sometimes, I think about what that lady asked me to do, and I wonder why. Did she not believe that I was filled with such convoluted and stygian emotion that I wanted to hurt myself? Were the tears and the screams not convincing enough? Or was it some sort of twisted little fantasy of her own? I wonder if SHE wanted to choke herself and could not, and somehow found pleasure in watching me. In retrospect, I find the situation quite strange…

In those days, I often abused myself — self-destruction, self-mutilation. I’ve cut and burned myself, and once, when I was in a group home in Oceanside called OZ, I choked myself with the cord of a fan until I was just fading into unconsciousness, then I let go. It’s been a while since I really harmed myself, but sometimes I do get the urge. It’s a lot less of an urge than it was from ages 12 to 17, but SOMETIMES I hear the whispers of self destruction and mutilation. I try not to listen. I know this is probably pretty baffling behavior. I don’t always understand myself. I know why to a certain extent, but cannot offer a succinct explanation. I don’t know, I guess it’s part of madness. Or maybe madness is the destruction itself or an effect of or a cause of it.  I’ve burned not only myself but bridges, destroyed relationships, not allowed relationships to begin, and ignored opportunities. I’m stripped to the bone, and all I have left is a pen..

I’ve heard it said mankind is self-destructive Are we? What causes a nation(s) to construct thousands of nuclear bombs? Burn down forests? I saw a program where they were cutting down trees for lumber, but then, they burned the cut down area. I did not understand that. Why not replant the area and let the stumps and leftover limbs provide fertilizer and nutrients for the new growth?

Well, I have to stop for now. I’ve completed my morning workout and clean-up, and I’ve begun work on a new draft of the novel I’m trying to write with many changes. I’m trying… I’m trying to build something for once rather than destroy. THAT sounds nearly as mad!


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