CN: Blood, cutting, self-harm,

vomit mention


When the switch is on, you feel everything. When the switch is off, you feel nothing.

I am paralysed.
-What, you physically can’t move? she says,
I pause, unsure of whether she is pulling an inappropriate joke
Or is in fact
a simpleton.

No. I say.
Emotionally. Mentally.

Liar, liar
Pants on fire.

I meant it metaphorically.
Allow me to explain.
Or don’t.

Let me begin again.

I am paralysed.
I close the curtains, lock the door,
safe inside an impenetrable
pod, a membrane
of my own resilience,
and watch as I scratch,
scratch, SCRATCH;
an amused eyebrow poised in disbelief.

                 So there is essentially a disconnect in the way you experience emotion. Either, you psychoanalyse yourself, rationalise your emotions, think through them logically, without feeling, or you feel everything and it’s overwhelming.

Overwhelming. Yes.

Let me begin again.

I am paralysed.
In my room

My room. I allow my feelings to fill the space I inhabit.
They are straining against the walls, clamouring to
I scream back at them
My heart is close to bursting,
My skin is close to breaking,
I am shaking.
They slam against the windowpanes as
I cut my flesh open.
I look inside.
-And what do you see?


I hear. I hear the silence, throbbing,
deafening and bloody.

The deeper I cut the greater the volume of silence that is
vomited, yes, vomited from the mouth of the wound.

I fumble about in my cupboard for a measuring glass,
I pour the silence into the measuring glass, but, of
course, the glass

The corner of my mouth twists.

  Don’t try to quantify or qualify your emotions and don’t try to get rid of them; just let them wash over you; accept them.

Blood washes over me instead. I am cleansed of my sin of feeling.

The switch is off.

I feel nothing.

I can begin again.

By Rosa Thomas


Header image by Ben Seidelman

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