Perfectionism and Humanity Don't Mix

[Trigger warning]

Just a short, short story about a girl, could be anyone, that self-harms because of the extraordinarily high standards society places upon people, not just women; even though this short centres around a female character, I just want to remind readers that it isn't a solely female experience, dealing with this sort of thing as men can also suffer from societal expectations in today's world.

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1. Perfectionism and Humanity Don't Mix

It seems as though every person you meet, whether great or small, or rich or poor, is plagued by these issues. Identify them as they make their way to mirrors, and gaze, disappointedly, at the visages that stare back at them: perfectionists. But the human condition isn't capable of such a thing; if you believe what religion tells you, then we were burdened with sin from the minute we left the Garden of Eden – though later passages claim we were saved from that sin and all other sins; if you believe in science, then you are forced to concede the fact that our cells are constantly changing, sometimes for the better, but other times, for much worse. In actual fact, therefore, we cannot consider any one of us to be a 'perfectionist'. But there's no telling some people...


In the early hours of the morning, her mother and father already in bed and presumably, asleep; she was not. Sitting in the pale yellow bathroom light, she sat, clenching her hand, while the other dug into her arms. She'd seen plastic surgery, how imperfections could be fixed; she didn't have the money, so she did it herself. The pain becomes addictive, the act itself gratifying her, telling her that what she is doing is right. But then the pain changes, it becomes what it truly is: a grotesque and bloody sight; a searing pain, which rips through any pain threshold she had before. She sits till the wee hours, clutching at her arms, licking her wounds as an animal would, praying for the bleeding to stop; and then, when it does, she just sits there, bored as though the last few hours were meaningless.


By the morning, she has cleaned herself up and is laid, silently sleeping, in her bed. Her mother peeks her head into the room and seeing her daughter asleep, pulls back, closing the door behind her. The girl stirs for a moment, but does not wake at the sound. The light continues to filter through the crack in the curtain, lighting up the room until, at last, it strikes her; she wakes up slowly. Looking down at her hands, she notices that the marks have faded, if only slightly, and is disappointed in herself; her mother hears that she has woken, and is calling up to her to come down for breakfast. But the girl doesn't want to, so she pretends she hadn't woken up at all.

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