If he thought back to it, the first time he felt this was had to be when he was 11.
His father had just bought him a new bike after he outgrew his old one, what with the series of growth spurts hitting him. Though it was a little too big for him at first, TJ wanted to ride it. Waiting a few weeks until he was tall enough to ride the thing comfortably just wasn't going to happen. So when he hit the pavement, it wasn't a surprise.
He scraped the palms of his hands, lower arms, and the side of his face, enough for them to bleed. The gravel getting inside his wounds didn't help of course. Walking back home, his mind was focused on the sting of the scrapes with every one of his movements. He wasn't a stranger to getting a cut or scrape, it came with being a kid, but this time was just a little different.
He had to clean himself up, probably with rubbing alcohol, too. That was going to burn. But some small part of him was fascinated with his injuries. The blood beading up and running down his skin, staining his clothes, the newly forming scabs that were going to ache for days, it as fascinating in a strange way. He brushed his thoughts away, figuring that he was more eager about patching himself up than the injures themselves, and left it alone.
It was only in middle school that he started to think, that maybe, just maybe, something was off about himself.
He had somehow found himself in a fight with another student. In hindsight, it was over something stupid that didn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but the other guy was hell bent on 'kicking his ass' as he put it. And he did.
TJ didn't give up without putting up a fight of his own. Bruised, aching, and bleeding, he kept getting up every time he was knocked down and what friends he had back then were yelling at him to stay down. He didn't know, though, why he kept getting up on shaky feet, insisting that the fight wasn't over. He had nothing to prove to this kid, and wasn't particularly upset over whatever caused the fight in the first place. The aching in his muscles and bones were familiar to him, however, reminding him of how those scrapes made him feel.
It had to be a hour after he got home that he finally cleaned himself up. In the meantime, he poked and prodded at his wounds, strangely enjoying the added pains he caused.
Was that like this, he asked himself as another fist landed on his jaw. He felt an abnormal 'creek' in his bones. He couldn't explain it to himself. Why would anyone enjoy pain of all things? God, was he even more of a freak than he's already been labelled in the hell that his middle school?
In the end, he was left defeated in the eyes of the student body, but he couldn't bring himself to care.
. . .
Being 13 years old, he was no stranger to self pleasure, as all 13 year old boys were. It was difficult for TJ to notice that it was, for lack of better words, better after instances like this. He pressed on his bruises and scratched at his cuts with his free hand, and it felt so damn amazing.
Of course, he had to take advantage of that.
. . .
His parents were worried.
After that, he got into fights increasingly often, until it was almost once a week. They didn't understand why. Their son, though a bit of a mischievous troublemaker, wasn't known for getting into fights. Now once a week they were getting calls from the school principal.
They tried everything to figure out what was going on with their son. Talking to him, "I'm fine mom/dad", grounding, which they didn't know he liked having extra time in his room, and therapy, "There was nothing I need to talk about". Nothing worked.
It was only when he was threatened with being expelled that the fights stopped. He had to think of something else.
Brand new razor.
He managed to get it out of the shaving razor. By now, he had a routine to get it out without damaging it. That was important. Before, the razor was left jagged, but now, it was perfectly new.
TJ started this new 'habit' (could it really be called that?) not long after that fight. He heard the group of kids in school labelled 'emos' talk about cutting themselves because the world was shit or something. He went to them, asking more about it, and they told him how to get his own.
The house was empty and quiet. His door was locked. His window blinds and shades were shut. His phone was on silent. It was only time like now that he could do this.
He wasn't stupid it about it, he thought. He kept tissues, cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, and bandages fully stocked in a box under his bed. He told himself it was for his safety and hygiene to convince himself that it was not to hide the injuries.
He started on his shoulders. The least likely place anyone would look, he figured. Old, healed and currently healing cuts were already on his shoulders, and now more were going to be added.
One. Two. Three. Four.
Four bleeding cuts. He stopped, indulging in the pain that ached out to his arm.
It felt so damn good.
He moved to his stomach.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
. . . .
He dropped his razor when the pain became to much for him to keep going. It hurt. It hurt so wonderfully good, as he covered he cuts with his hands and felt the blood trail between his fingers. He always got out of hand when it came to cutting his stomach, but he thought it was worth it.
Someone looking in would think he was mad for doing this to himself, and he understood why. He would be seen as sick, mental, unstable. But no one was looking in as he indulged in this sick form of pleasure, and he didn't need to worry.
the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from one's own pain or humiliation.
There wasn't another word that TJ found that described him and his 'habits'. He didn't think there was a word for it, and had long ago accepted that he was a freak. Some sort of sexual deviant that could only find enjoyment of sexual nature when it was paired with pain. Someone who would be found sick in the mind if he ever let someone like this slip, and accepted that it would be best if he stayed single and avoided the pain of being left because this thing was too much to cope with.
The more he looked into it, the more he found it described him.
It was amazing what people would do for money.
TJ found out that for 150 bucks, he could get a local gang to beat the living shit out of him. He found them on craiglist of all places. It took weeks of messaging back and forth to convince them that yes he was completely serious and that no, he wasnt going to call the police.
Just beat him up. Bare fists, brass knuckles, a baseball bat, anything they could get their hands on. Just don't kill him, were the only rules. How could he enjoy the pain if he was dead? Duh.
So they wailed on him, landing punch after punch, kick after kick to his face chest and back. For an hour, he was their personal punching bag. Whatever pent up anger they had was taken out on them.
By the time it was over, he was left with a black eye, bruises all over his arms and abdomen, a split lip, a gash over his left eye, a broken and bleeding nose, numerous bleeding cuts, and a loose tooth.
He limped home, in agonizing pain. When his parents saw him in this condition, they were reasonably worried. 'Worried' being an understatement. They brought him to the hospital to get his broken nose fixed,, among other things. When asked about what happened, he told them he was jumped by a local gang, which wasn't completely untrue.
He barely got any sleep that night. He was too busy playing with his injuries.
It became a regular thing. 150 bucks to get beaten within an inch of his life just to be able to get off. He had to get a part time job to pay for it, but it was worth it. He had gotten better and treating his own injuries before he got home to avoid suspicion. TJ was pretty sure he would make a pretty decent nurse at this point.
Having several bruises and healing cuts at any given time soon became the norm. He wasn't good with coming up with excuses for the rare person who asked about them at school, but that was just it. It was rare for another at school to ask. Very little people cared; he suppose it came with having no friends. He hated that at first, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.