When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time alone. Physically, in my room, closed off. I spent a lot of time screaming to get attention then hours of escape. M walls were dark purple and had glow in the dark stars on them. The carpet was pink. Furniture wooden and white. Except for my dog Pepper, sometimes my cats, no one was allowed inside during my games.

I was twiggy, small, fidgety, neurotic. My clothes were rumpled. My room would go from extremely disorganized to housekeeper neat. I rearranged the furniture constantly. There was nothing static here. I used to lay on my bed when I was done twirling around the room, or jumping up and down, and begin to color my face.  I would pick one corner of my mouth and focus on that. Start by pinching my lips- hard- with my fingernail. For as long as I could leave it there; the pinching and until it turned black.  The goal was fat, purple-black, visible and if I took a safety pin to it; the sting would be overwhelming.

Over and over, sometimes letting that ssst out because it caught me off guard. The tingle. Then the relief. The sharpness. Then the satiated sigh, replete. Balmed. The sitting for one minute til I touched it again. After a half hour of this, I would run to the bathroom to see how grotesque it looked. Then I would proceed to watch myself pinch it in the mirror with the pointiest part of each nail. Poking it more. Pinch. Release. Wait. Pinch. Release. Wait. Check mirror. Sometimes I would hold it for a whole thirty seconds until I wanted to scream. If you could get past thirty, you can get anywhere.

Then I ran to get the safety pin.

“the lip game”

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