The following is neither fact nor fiction, nor is it a cry for help. It's simply the first in a series of stories...
(Staring out the window, avoiding eye contact)
Of course I don't "have" to do this. I want to do it. It makes me feel better, but I can stop whenever I want to.
I've gone hours without doing it. Hell, I've gone days without doing it. I don't know if I've gone weeks, but if not, it's only because I haven't tried yet. I could totally do that.
(Turning to look at the other person)
Completely stop? Look, why are you giving me such a hard time about this? I know people who do it much more often than I do, no one's giving them any grief. Shit, people do much worse stuff than this all the time, so get off my ass. You're gonna tell me you're an angel? Bullshit.
Fine, sometimes I can't stop thinking about it, over and over. It's like an itch that has to be scratched, so I scratch it. What else am I supposed to do?
(Pointing finger at the other person)
Screw you for judging me, especially when you've got your own mess to deal with. I'm not doing anyone any harm. Back off.
(Pause, shoulders slumping slightly)
Sure, sometimes I wish I could just. Stop. Thinking about it. It gets tiring after a while. Fuck, it can be exhausting. Sometimes I get mad at myself that I keep going round and round with this, but none of the alternatives never seem any better, so this ends up being the rational choice.
(Longer pause, voice becoming quieter, sounding defeated)
What really makes me mad is that all of it takes me out of the moment. I can't be fully present if I'm either sitting here doing it, arguing with myself to not do it, or rationalizing how soon I can do it again, and that sucks.
Tomorrow isn't promised to anyone. It could all be over in a flash, and I'll never forgive myself for how much time this has cost me.
(Uncomfortably long pause)
(Lifts head and goes back to staring out the window...)