Online Itch by Jessica Schouela

I’ve always been an itchy person. I remember being in Florida, in a weird hotel with my family, thinking that the sheets were dirty; that if I got in bed, lobsters would crawl all over my legs and on my belly and chest. I kept my legs shut that night so that the lobsters wouldn’t find their way into my vagina but at the same time I was rubbing my legs on each other trying to scratch one with the other.

It wasn’t a surprise when I developed terrible eczema as a teenager and that I still have it now. Only Mexican hydrocortisone works because it contains a higher percentage of the good stuff. We always stocked up in the Mexican airports whenever we went on family vacations. My parents did everything they could, really, to get me to stop scratching.

Everyone tried to intervene. I’d had a boyfriend for a while but he hated how I was always scratching myself and had bubbles on my palms or little bloody dots on my arms. He would say, you’re bleeding. I would say oh am I? as if I hadn’t known I’d been scratching the whole time.

My dad thought it was psychosomatic because he read a lot of Freud and he thought I could be cured by seeing a therapist about it. I ended up just spending the whole hour scratching myself because therapists are not really supposed to tell you what to do. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in therapy, but they usually just listen to you talk and observe you in your natural habitat, which for me was scratching.

I don’t really see why anyone really minded that I was so itchy all the time. I don’t really get why it offended anyone, why I lost boyfriends and a lot of jobs because of it. I was really hoping to find someone who could love me for the skin I had, even if that meant dealing with some scabs on a pretty regular basis.

I guess that’s why I’m here, online like this. I just thought I would put it all out there so that if you decided you would like to meet in person, you won’t wonder if I were the kind of person who cut herself or anything. Its not related to self-hate at all, I promise. It's really a physical condition. I really feel like I have a regular level of confidence and self-esteem. I’m pretty okay with my body so that’s something you won’t have to deal with. I guess I was a bit nervous chatting online like this, trying to find love like this, but I figured everyone has shit. I guess I just wanted to share mine right off the bat.

Jessica Schouela is from Montreal, Canada and is currently pursuing a masters in Art History at University College London. She is planning to write her dissertation on the ways in which the act of storytelling is manifested in a variety of artistic media. Jessica also writes short stories, poems, dialogues, and art criticism. She likes to draw, and has been published in Metatron and Electric Cereal. To visit her blog, go to: