The following poems were written for Awareness Week 2014 by two young women named Meli and Ashley.
Tongue in Cheek
I keep biting my cheeks to get rid of imperfections as if I didn’t trust my skin’s own ability to heal
Like an archaeologist I remove a harmless layer and then another until I’ve gone too far back in time
I gnaw at my skin because you can’t see it and even if you glance at me during our busy commute the momentary glimpse of this facial distortion is a mere photograph of the struggle that I’ve covered for 10 years
I keep biting my cheeks like the way you might peel grease from your stove after cooking
It’s a feeling of clean, my tongue is like a sponge, and removing the scar tissues feels like I’m polishing the surface
But when I slip up and go too far, failing to stop at a red light, I’m afraid this is me, will forever be me, as I failed once again to recover
I take a few days’ break: the cells fall back into place, will I go through this again?
Meli is an educator and musician. She considers it her life’s mission to help others. In her spare time, she writes video game music: www.marbletonemedia.com
by Ashley Robinson
A mirror reflects my innermost haunting fears
And Inside I’m screaming and flooded with tears.
The ritual begins,
a new cycle starts again,
oh I know it so well…
After all, I’ve spent my whole life dealing with this personal hell
And each time, I defy logic and reason and convince myself Im just fixing my skin
And I scratch and I squeeze and I dig and I pick,
like Im trying to find a hidden secret buried within
Hours go by, and my mind is just stuck on one thing,
Just this one, And then Im done
I tell myself over and over again.
And then after the hours have too quickly flown by,
I find a stopping point and I look at what I’ve done to my face and i break down and cry.
I see all the red and I panic, oh God no, is that blood?
Overwhelming pain and guilt seeps in and buries me in a confusion flood
These bloody constellations
Form a cold shattering realization
And an explanation
For an excavation
Of the truth that I can not deny
I have done this to myself
And it makes my heart sink and i feel a heaviness way down deep inside
I put on makeup but the holes are so fresh the blood just seeps right through.
So i think of other ways to hide it and I even pick and dig some more then too.
Oh God! Why cant I stop? I beg, I plead!
Why do I have these thoughts? What is wrong with me?
My complexion ripped to shreds along with my self respect and dignity
Why cant I be normal and not think like well… me?
Cold fears, and thoughts of rejection penetrating my soul nearly driving me insane.
And I get taunted with an “I told you so” from somewhere else deep inside my brain.
So I promise myself I wont ever do it again
But I feel my hand on my face before I can even count to ten.
This thing that destroys my skin, my thoughts, my life…it has a name
Its called dermatillamania and I will no longer hold my head down in shame!
I will fight proud with my leapord spots
I will be strong and defeat these unnatural thoughts
I will aim my claws at derma and proudly stand
For I am worth so much more than being destroyed by my own hand
For little did I know that no amount of digging could ever compare
To all the strength I have inside and all the love and hope Im able to share
I am beautiful and strong and no matter what, derma cant take that away from me.
I wont let it hold me back from being exactly who I want to be.
Because That hidden secret that I was digging for all along
was buried deeper than my skin,
This whole time I had it all wrong.
Im not a girl that has to live with Derma, no! Derma has to live with Me!
I will fight by putting a face to its name so the whole world can see!