“SCARS,” the nickname stuck in High School. Ingenious, huh? I mean they could have used anything: “Scarletta”,
“Freddy”, “Scarsky and Hutch,” but they chose to go with “scars.” At first I despised
the name and avoided all of humanity as a result of it, but there was no escape. The
ridicule wouldn’t have been so bad, in fact it would have never happened, if our PE teacher Ms. Gaisen hadn’t
made me shower. I hid my scars well throughout the day but when Ms. “Gay”sen
forces you to shower in front of everyone there really isn’t much to hide.
I decided if I wore nothing but black, spiked my hair all crazy like, and wore a bunch of chains I wouldn’t have
to avoid them, rather they would avoid me. My plan worked for a while
but I could still hear scars whispered in the hall. In time, I not only
got used to the name but as it continued; I started to become proud of it. In a way, it made me who I am today.
I don’t know why I cut myself; maybe for the attention, most likely because it allowed me to escape from my reality,
but the fact is it let me feel. Every time I touch them I remember; the scars
represent who I am; each tells its own story. The first cut was here, across
my bicep; I didn’t even mean to do it at first. I was a freshman working
on an art project; art, my first love as a child. While others played outside, I would sneak into my closet with my coffee-can
filled with broken crayons and draw. My teachers all said I had real talent. The assignment was to cut pictures from magazines to represent who I was? As I was cutting out a picture of a bleeding heart I heard my mom yelling at Carl about not being able
to make a car payment. They were still technically “honeymooners”
since they had only been married two weeks, but they fought like alcoholics over the last beer. I listened as the two traded verbal blows for roughly ten minutes when, “slap,” I heard it
echo through the house.
At first I didn’t catch on to what the noise even was, but then I heard crying and more slapping, and only Carl
yelling. Seeing was just something I needed to do in order to believe, but when
I opened my bedroom door I was still in disbelief. My mom was rolled up on the
floor like a roly-poly escaping the ignorant hands of a three year old; she was helpless, and so was I. He just kept beating her and beating her and I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid that if I ran out to stop him that I would be balled up on the floor also. Standing there I thought I needed to run out and break it up; do something, but then Carl made my decision
for me, he threw a lamp in my direction and told me to “Close the door and mind your own business.” As I meagerly shut the door I couldn’t help but think that my mom was my business, but fear made
sure the door was shut tight.
I remember sitting on my bed not blinking while I continued to cut out the heart for my art project; suddenly school
didn’t seem all that important. I wanted to do something but couldn’t;
I wanted control but didn’t know how to get it and that’s when it happened.
I don’t even know how but the dull blade of the scissors found its way to my bicep and pressed hard. I couldn’t even feel it at first so I kept pressing as hard as I could. When the blood finally trickled off my elbow onto the lily-printed sheets, I felt a sense of pressure released. I don’t know how to explain it other than it just felt right; it gave me power;
for once I was in control.
You’re probably thinking this girl is strange, “cut yourself to gain control.” You’re right it is strange but it’s true. Mutilation
was a way of preservation. Feeling the pain of the blade meant being alive; it
was actually exhilarating and for a moment the reality that was my mother lying in a heap on the living room floor disappeared. Relief for me came in the shape of a pair of scissors.
Cutting became like what I imagine a fix to be like for a heroine addict; it seemed like I couldn’t get through
a day without it. Whenever my mom and Carl would fight I found my scissors and
a new place on my body to inflict control. I had to move from cutting my arms
to cutting my breasts when my mother asked why I was wearing long sleeves in the summer but I didn’t care about where
the cut would go as long as it got there. I can’t even look at my
breasts now without thinking about why those scars are there.
The night after my sixteenth birthday I remember the door slowly opening as if death was creeping in. My head was underneath the covers but I knew evil was standing over me; I was right.
I didn’t want to move; I wanted to keep my eyes close and imagine the feelings in my body where part of some
“Birthday girl needs to become a woman.”
I could feel his hands slide under the covers like a snake seeking its prey as it reached to pull down my pajamas. His face was above mine now; my eyes closed tighter but I knew it was there, I could
feel his warm alcohol infested breath on my face.
“Come on baby, you know you want it; moan for me.”
I didn’t make a sound, even when I could feel him enter me, I didn’t make a sound. I searched for a thought anything to help me fight back, but the only thing I could imagine was cutting;
of all the things that should go through your mind in a moment like this I imagined slicing my silky skin.
In minutes he was gone and I was left alone in my room to question whether I was caught in a dream or dead. Finding the scissors in my closet and cutting my breasts until I was completely covered in blood let me
know that somehow I was still alive. Before I was a senior in high school Carl raped
me seventy six times; I know this because I cut tallies on my chest like a prisoner marks off his remaining days.