Sunrise, again. I greet the daystar with magnesium-muddled head.

Nails of middle finger and thumb tear at lower lip, seeking to pull and lift away any small edges left behind by the worrying of teeth. Sometimes salty copper redness wells up and is immediately swept away by the tongue obsessing over all the tender spots on the inside.

Layers of oily skin darken left hand’s fingernails after repeated scraping at tiny pimples on forehead near hairline. The pointed end of a manicure stick sweeps the black lines away. Scratch some more to keep it smooth. Scratch the bumps away.

Nail clippers now. Edges of fingers by nails are snipped off: they’re too tough and peeling, and they must be made smooth again. Careful not to draw blood this time. Bandaged and taped fingertip and elbow are testament to how inconvenient bleeding is for daily living.

Tiny skin chunks tumble to litter the desk. They are swept into palm and deposited in trash. Some neatness is required.

Today, a lifelong habit, ever dismissed by self-righteous figures, has a name for the first time: dermatillomania. Another disorder to add to my list.

I need the pain. It tells me where reality is.


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