Saturday, June 19, 2010

Scars. Saturday, June 19, 2010.

“A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.” - Leonard Cohen

When I had my wrist-stitches removed, I asked the doctor how long the scars would last. She estimated a year.

Every day for months, I wore long sleeves no matter how hot the weather, I covered the scars with makeup and I used Vitamin E oil to speed their healing. I was terrified people would find out what I’d done, and every time I saw the ugly purple gashes on my wrists, I was filled with a deep sense of shame.

Sure enough, 12 months later I can barely see them in dim light. They’re faintly visible, but I don’t have to wear long sleeves anymore to hide them. Still, they’re permanent – and that deep sense of shame is still there, just as if the scars had appeared only yesterday.

It’s not about cosmetic vanity. It’s that they remind me that one day I lost control; that I crossed into some kind of insanity; that I was willing to leave my family behind (I truly thought, for their benefit). Every time I look at them, I feel a jolt of revulsion and fear. They say to me, “You are capable of destroying yourself.”

Many of the young friends I’ve met here on Facebook are “cutters.” They have dozens of scars on their arms. Some of them are constantly in the ER, getting stitches. Some of them are ashamed and hide their scars from sight, while others allow people to see them. One told me, “Every one of my scars has a story.”

For me, two scars are enough; they, too, tell my story – a story that I regret has to be told.

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