A simple, disjointed, telling memory…
Somehow, as a pre-teen, I ended up with my own room. My three brothers shared the room next to mine; my two sisters next to my brothers, and my parents next to theirs.
This brought about confusing feelings in my pre-adolescent brain…pride, relief and guilt. I had my own room, but no privacy; a space to call mine, but little to no say in my environment. I felt like a visitor at best.
One night, I walked into my dark bedroom with a pair of scissors. A mere three steps, and I was standing in the middle of my space. I raised the scissors to my right eye, and…
….proceeded to slowly, methodically, snip off all the eyelashes of that eye.
I remember the feeling of the severed lashes touching my cheek as they fell into the darkness; it was surreal. I distinctly remember a bubble of hysterical laughter escaping my mouth when I realized what I had done. And I thought, why did I do that? How long will it take to grow them back?
My mother noticed the missing lashes the next morning. She was horrified. Asking the same questions of me that I had already asked myself, I simply stood in front of her, not answering, ashamed.
After all these years, I’m still not sure what compelled me to desecrate my face in that manner. It may be something simple, stupid kid stuff, or, maybe, something more, like a silent scream for help. I know my childhood was spent in abject powerlessness; what if that odd act was my way of seeking power, in a world where I had no say over anything regarding myself?
I understand passive/aggressive behavior. It makes sense to me, though it’s not on my list for healthy human relationship success today as an adult. What I want to know is, what happened, if anything, before the night I raised a sharp instrument to my EYE of all things?!?
Was there something I didn’t want to see?
A bit dramatic, maybe. I doubt there’s any concrete answer. And they DID grow back, by the way.