I don't remember how it started. I think I was about 15, in high school. I remember leaving the music classroom to go to the bathroom, for some reason. It could've been an anxiety attack, it could've been so many things. The truth is, it's so insignificant right now I can't even remember.
I remember I always wore the uniform's skirt and polo shirt (a hideous polo shirt, thank you very much), but at some point during 10th grade I stopped wearing the vest and started wearing a navy blue sweater over the polo shirt. I remember I removed one of the Hot Topic pins I always wore on the bottom hem of the sweatshirt, pulled my sleeve up, and scratched away at my inner right arm. I remember the surge of emotions, no tears came out, I was suddenly numb, relaxed, centered. I don't know why I did it, but I remember how it felt. I blotted up the blood with some toilet paper, pulled my sleeve down, pinned the pin on the inside of the hem this time, and returned to music class.
Those handbells never sounded so sweet.