You Must Remember Every Scar

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This post was first published in September 2011.

“The only requirement,” to be a writer, said Stephen King, “is the ability to  remember every scar.”

remember every scar

Photo by AtomicJeep (Creative Commons)

I have a few scars (and you do, too). There's that girl in the eighth grade, my father's illness in the seventh, and there was that boy earlier than that who told me to shut up every time I spoke to him. When did I learn to fear my voice? The true writer enters into wounds. Sometimes she enters into her own, often into the wounds of others, and occasionally even into the wounds of people she makes up. The writer enters into wounds because she knows when she confronts the wound, she will discover the secret of life (wounds turn to beautiful scars). What wound do you need to confront?

PRACTICE

Tell the story of one of your scars. Here's fifteen minutes. You don't have to share this in the comments, but we would be honored if you did. Feel free to comment anonymously.

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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207 Comments

  1. Eileen

    Great advice. I tend to share scars often in my writing. I think the challenge for me has been to share scars in a way that offer others hope and encouragement. I don’t want to just share a scar and leave people saying “poor girl.” I want to inspire life change and/or growth in others with my scars! There are so many lessons in the scars.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Mmm… very true Eileen. You don’t want to whine.

      Maybe it’s best to share wounds that have already turned to scars, not wounds that are still festering.

      Reply
  2. Eileen

    Great advice. I tend to share scars often in my writing. I think the challenge for me has been to share scars in a way that offer others hope and encouragement. I don’t want to just share a scar and leave people saying “poor girl.” I want to inspire life change and/or growth in others with my scars! There are so many lessons in the scars.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Mmm… very true Eileen. You don’t want to whine.

      Maybe it’s best to share wounds that have already turned to scars, not wounds that are still festering.

      Reply
  3. Eileen

    Great advice. I tend to share scars often in my writing. I think the challenge for me has been to share scars in a way that offer others hope and encouragement. I don’t want to just share a scar and leave people saying “poor girl.” I want to inspire life change and/or growth in others with my scars! There are so many lessons in the scars.

    Reply
  4. seth_barnes

    I love that quote and this theme. That was as big a gift to my spirit today as the songbird yesterday that you reminded me of. Thanks, Joe.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      So glad it encouraged you Seth.

      Reply
  5. Seth Barnes

    I love that quote and this theme. That was as big a gift to my spirit today as the songbird yesterday that you reminded me of. Thanks, Joe.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      So glad it encouraged you Seth.

      Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      So glad it encouraged you Seth.

      Reply
  6. mla

    Scars. The one’s we make ourselves seem to do the most damage. These are the one’s we could have prevented, the one’s we chose to make. But I also think we learn the most from these types of scars.

    When people ask me if I have any children I smile and say no. But in my heart I know differently. I know I have a little girl that I aborted 18 years ago. I often wonder what she would look like as she grew up. How would my life have changed if I made a different choice? Where would I be today?

    It’s easy to look back and regret, and stay there. But I don’t regret who I have become. I know that decision wasn’t the end of my story, but the beginning. We still get to chose to heal, to find freedom.

    So even though my choices led me down the wrong path, I serve a God who takes broken people, stands them up and brushes them off. He see’s them without judgment. He allows my story to weave with others who have had abortions. He is a God that makes beauty out of ashes and restores the places long devastated. No longer do I have to be silent, or feel shame. But I can surrender my secret and through my story I can show other women there is hope.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I don’t know what to say other than thank you for sharing this. Beautiful.

      Reply
    • Padmas1

      Your blessed in your honesty, and realization that we are all learning, and make mistakes, and that it will be forgiven.

      Reply
    • Jim Woods

      Thank you so much for sharing this. Just by doing that, you are giving many others hope.

      Reply
    • Sandra Hould

      Your story of strength through that painful event shows us all that you are inside a beautiful flower, growing more and more to be the most precious of them all. Your daughter is not gone, she is still with you, protecting you from above. She will be with you for ever, smiling with the angels and signing your song. Be proud of who you are and what you are doing for others. Because what you do today, is going to inspire and help change the life of another for the better. You are a beautiful flower and you shine with all your glory today. The thorns that you once had on you are now gone and all is left now is the shine of a brilliant future. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Reply
    • Elise Martel

      18 candles on a cake for her. 18 wishes.
      Don’t you know that you’ve fulfilled them?
      You recognize her life.
      You chose not to stay in regret.
      You kept going.
      You chose to heal.
      You chose to find freedom.
      You serve God.
      You accept that you are broken and don’t stop there.
      You share your story.
      You recognize the beauty from ashes.
      You see the restoration-you do not deny it.
      You give your story to others so they can heal.
      You didn’t remain silent.
      You surrendered your secret.
      You tell others that there is hope.
      You exchange crimson shame for snow white forgiveness.
      You cultivate your life so that the desert becomes the oasis.
      You learn from your scars.
      You remember her.

      Reply
    • Sandra

      You were brave in posting this. This is something that many women face, usually in silence.

      Reply
    • Kiki Stamatiou

      You made a difficult choice at a young age. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision. The most important thing is not to dwell on the past, but to take the lesson you learned and apply what you learn. The Lord loves all of His children. I’m sure he understands you made a difficult decision in life. As long as he holds nothing against you, no one else needs to either. Keep trusting in the Lord, and he will continue to guide you on your journey in life. I believe he has a plan for everyone in life. Everything we do in life is comprised of our journey. It is up to the Lord to reveal where this journey will take you. I wish you the best in life. Stay strong, and keep the faith.

      Reply
  7. mla

    Scars. The one’s we make ourselves seem to do the most damage. These are the one’s we could have prevented, the one’s we chose to make. But I also think we learn the most from these types of scars.

    When people ask me if I have any children I smile and say no. But in my heart I know differently. I know I have a little girl that I aborted 18 years ago. I often wonder what she would look like as she grew up. How would my life have changed if I made a different choice? Where would I be today?

    It’s easy to look back and regret, and stay there. But I don’t regret who I have become. I know that decision wasn’t the end of my story, but the beginning. We still get to chose to heal, to find freedom.

    So even though my choices led me down the wrong path, I serve a God who takes broken people, stands them up and brushes them off. He see’s them without judgment. He allows my story to weave with others who have had abortions. He is a God that makes beauty out of ashes and restores the places long devastated. No longer do I have to be silent, or feel shame. But I can surrender my secret and through my story I can show other women there is hope.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I don’t know what to say other than thank you for sharing this. Beautiful.

      Reply
    • Padmas1

      Your blessed in your honesty, and realization that we are all learning, and make mistakes, and that it will be forgiven.

      Reply
    • Jim Woods

      Thank you so much for sharing this. Just by doing that, you are giving many others hope.

      Reply
    • Sandra Hould

      Your story of strength through that painful event shows us all that you are inside a beautiful flower, growing more and more to be the most precious of them all. Your daughter is not gone, she is still with you, protecting you from above. She will be with you for ever, smiling with the angels and signing your song. Be proud of who you are and what you are doing for others. Because what you do today, is going to inspire and help change the life of another for the better. You are a beautiful flower and you shine with all your glory today. The thorns that you once had on you are now gone and all is left now is the shine of a brilliant future. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Reply
  8. zumboggo

    This is a really good practice excercise. I went a bit over the 15 minute limit and didn’t edit but it was cathartic writing this. Thanks Joe

    It all started when I was in eighth grade. I remember like it was yesterday. The basketball team was having tryouts. I was fairly tall for my age and and a bit athletic. Having a basketball hoop in our driveway made it seem like a good fit. I went eagerly to the tryouts and then I would go home and practice every day. I was so excited.

    A few things stood in my way. I didn’t really know many of the rules to basketball. I wasn’t too coordinated in the midst of that awkward growing time in a young man’s life. I was also more talk than I was action. I thought I was great but I still had a lot to learn. I couldn’t do a lay-up, I didn’t pass too often and wasn’t too confident or aggressive enough to steal a pass or make a play.

    The day the names of the Senior Boys Basketball team was posted on that dull yellow brick wall of Athabasca will live in my memory. I remember the excitement and eager expectation as I looked down the list. I remember scanning it quickly and confidently to find my name and be reaffirmed. But I didn’t find my name on the list. Not the first time I read it, not the second time or the third. I walked away hesitantly and sadly. My mind racing to come up with excuses as to why I didn’t make it. Who cares about basketball anyways? I decided.

    I still remember walking out of that bustling hallway into the snowy playground for recess. Curtis Grainger calling out loudly and confidently “Everyone who made the senior boys basketball team lets stand on top of this snow mount because we’re the best”. I didn’t care. Or at least that’s what I tried to convey. I got a friend or two to help me tackle some of them off the snow mound but it was dim consolation. I was second rate when it came to sports and now the world would know it too. I made a vow that day never to try my hardest at sports again. Because that way I would always have a good excuse that I wasn’t giving it my best. No one could judge me.

    I still look back on that day with mixed sorrow and regret. Not so much because I didn’t make the team. But because I allowed it to sabotage so many of my future athletic endeavours. I remember playing soccer in high school but always passing it right away because I was afraid of the responsibility of having the ball. That someone could look at me and realize I didn’t have what it takes. That I was inadequate.

    I loved running in high school and finally got the courage in my senior year to sign up for the cross-country team. But every time a race day came up I always gave myself an excuse to not show up. I had a cold, or I would procrastinate until I knew I would be late. All I could imagine was running the race and being completely last. The officials would be taking down things and heading home when I managed to arrive at the end. Even though in my gym class I was the fastest kid, I never knew what the real-world of cross country running was like.

    So it continued until I signed up for the World Race. An amazing program where 42 of us would travel to 11 countries in 11 months. During the training camp in Georgia they had us write a “Grief Journal”. I had never heard of the term. But basically write all of the experiences in our life that had caused us hurt. As I began to write I was utterly floored by how much simple events in the past were still affecting me today. I saw the effects of not making the basketball team in grade 8. Of one mean comment in grade nine. Of lies that I had believed through the pain I experienced in my life. As soon as I saw the lies for what they were I began to experience incredible, beautiful freedom.

    I made a new vow to give it my best whatever sport I tried. I got back into running and within a year and a half had run two marathons. I realized that because I was intimidated by the pretty girls in school I never talked to them and they never really talked to me. It hurt. I believed the lie that they didn’t like me or I always had to earn the privilege to talk to them. But that day of writing the grief journal I resolved to treat everyone as if they thought that I was a great guy and funny even if it seemed they thought otherwise. Then the craziest thing started happening. People started treating me that way too.

    I realized that the easiest way to find the lies I had been believing was to find the moments of pain in my life. To go back and even though it hurt. I needed to relive those moments and find the truth in the midst of the pain. That’s when my journey of freedom really began.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Very cool story, Zumboggo. That is certainly a beautiful scar. Thank you for sharing it with us.

      Reply
  9. Anonymous

    This is a really good practice excercise. I went a bit over the 15 minute limit and didn’t edit but it was cathartic writing this. Thanks Joe

    It all started when I was in eighth grade. I remember like it was yesterday. The basketball team was having tryouts. I was fairly tall for my age and and a bit athletic. Having a basketball hoop in our driveway made it seem like a good fit. I went eagerly to the tryouts and then I would go home and practice every day. I was so excited.

    A few things stood in my way. I didn’t really know many of the rules to basketball. I wasn’t too coordinated in the midst of that awkward growing time in a young man’s life. I was also more talk than I was action. I thought I was great but I still had a lot to learn. I couldn’t do a lay-up, I didn’t pass too often and wasn’t too confident or aggressive enough to steal a pass or make a play.

    The day the names of the Senior Boys Basketball team was posted on that dull yellow brick wall of Athabasca will live in my memory. I remember the excitement and eager expectation as I looked down the list. I remember scanning it quickly and confidently to find my name and be reaffirmed. But I didn’t find my name on the list. Not the first time I read it, not the second time or the third. I walked away hesitantly and sadly. My mind racing to come up with excuses as to why I didn’t make it. Who cares about basketball anyways? I decided.

    I still remember walking out of that bustling hallway into the snowy playground for recess. Curtis Grainger calling out loudly and confidently “Everyone who made the senior boys basketball team lets stand on top of this snow mount because we’re the best”. I didn’t care. Or at least that’s what I tried to convey. I got a friend or two to help me tackle some of them off the snow mound but it was dim consolation. I was second rate when it came to sports and now the world would know it too. I made a vow that day never to try my hardest at sports again. Because that way I would always have a good excuse that I wasn’t giving it my best. No one could judge me.

    I still look back on that day with mixed sorrow and regret. Not so much because I didn’t make the team. But because I allowed it to sabotage so many of my future athletic endeavours. I remember playing soccer in high school but always passing it right away because I was afraid of the responsibility of having the ball. That someone could look at me and realize I didn’t have what it takes. That I was inadequate.

    I loved running in high school and finally got the courage in my senior year to sign up for the cross-country team. But every time a race day came up I always gave myself an excuse to not show up. I had a cold, or I would procrastinate until I knew I would be late. All I could imagine was running the race and being completely last. The officials would be taking down things and heading home when I managed to arrive at the end. Even though in my gym class I was the fastest kid, I never knew what the real-world of cross country running was like.

    So it continued until I signed up for the World Race. An amazing program where 42 of us would travel to 11 countries in 11 months. During the training camp in Georgia they had us write a “Grief Journal”. I had never heard of the term. But basically write all of the experiences in our life that had caused us hurt. As I began to write I was utterly floored by how much simple events in the past were still affecting me today. I saw the effects of not making the basketball team in grade 8. Of one mean comment in grade nine. Of lies that I had believed through the pain I experienced in my life. As soon as I saw the lies for what they were I began to experience incredible, beautiful freedom.

    I made a new vow to give it my best whatever sport I tried. I got back into running and within a year and a half had run two marathons. I realized that because I was intimidated by the pretty girls in school I never talked to them and they never really talked to me. It hurt. I believed the lie that they didn’t like me or I always had to earn the privilege to talk to them. But that day of writing the grief journal I resolved to treat everyone as if they thought that I was a great guy and funny even if it seemed they thought otherwise. Then the craziest thing started happening. People started treating me that way too.

    I realized that the easiest way to find the lies I had been believing was to find the moments of pain in my life. To go back and even though it hurt. I needed to relive those moments and find the truth in the midst of the pain. That’s when my journey of freedom really began.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Very cool story, Zumboggo. That is certainly a beautiful scar. Thank you for sharing it with us.

      Reply
  10. Guest

    This scar is shared. It can be seen on two people. My wife bears the outward scar while mine is hidden in my heart. It was the day before Christmas Eve in 2002 when I heard those words from my wife’s surgeon, “It’s definitely cancer.” I can still replay them in my mind, she said it was such certainty, in her thick Nigerian accent, “It’s definitely cancer.” I remember falling back in a wooden chair sitting in the corner of the little consultation room. My mind was racing, spiraling downward in a whirlpool of anxiety and panic. My beautiful wife had breast cancer.

    I was given the opportunity of telling her in the recovery room, “Honey, the Doctor said it’s cancer and she wants to meet us over in her office to talk some more.” The look on my wife’s face sent all the blood from my head down to my feet. I held on to the side of her bed to stabilize myself.

    My wife’s surgery was scheduled after the holidays. Her left breast was removed and it’s place was a jagged scar. Following surgery she went through several rounds of chemo. As I helped shave her head, I thought about the first day I met her. It was her beautiful blonde hair and gorgeous figure that had caught the attention of a 16 year old, hormone-driven boy. Now, as a 40 something man, I was facing the realization that for love to endure, it had to be based on something other than physical attraction. We were both grateful that our love did indeed endure that test.

    But there was another test that we had to face. And that test was what created my internal scar. After my wife was done with chemo she seemed agitated and restless for a few days. I quietly wondered what was going on in her mind. Was she afraid the cancer would return? What was she thinking? I found out on April 11, 2003 when my wife knelt down beside me and confessed that years earlier she had been involved in an extra-marital affair with one of my buddies.

    I was devastated.

    Now, years later, as we both carry scars from that painful experience, we have come to see the beauty in those scars. Her scar represents her being cut loose from her past infidelity and into a newfound freedom of grace. And my scars, though unseen by the naked eye, have been a catalyst for my discovering a more gracious and mature love within me. To discover forgiveness, where only anguish and resentment once existed, has helped both of us learn to love our scars and to use them to help others who are in pain from past mistakes and present circumstances.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Wow. I can’t say much more than that. And thank you for your courage in sharing this. Those are terrible scars to have to carry around.

      Reply
  11. tdub

    This scar is shared. It can be seen on two people. My wife bears the outward scar while mine is hidden in my heart. It was the day before Christmas Eve in 2002 when I heard those words from my wife’s surgeon, “It’s definitely cancer.” I can still replay them in my mind, she said it was such certainty, in her thick Nigerian accent, “It’s definitely cancer.” I remember falling back in a wooden chair sitting in the corner of the little consultation room. My mind was racing, spiraling downward in a whirlpool of anxiety and panic. My beautiful wife had breast cancer.

    I was given the opportunity of telling her in the recovery room, “Honey, the Doctor said it’s cancer and she wants to meet us over in her office to talk some more.” The look on my wife’s face sent all the blood from my head down to my feet. I held on to the side of her bed to stabilize myself.

    My wife’s surgery was scheduled after the holidays. Her left breast was removed and it’s place was a jagged scar. Following surgery she went through several rounds of chemo. As I helped shave her head, I thought about the first day I met her. It was her beautiful blonde hair and gorgeous figure that had caught the attention of a 16 year old, hormone-driven boy. Now, as a 40 something man, I was facing the realization that for love to endure, it had to be based on something other than physical attraction. We were both grateful that our love did indeed endure that test.

    But there was another test that we had to face. And that test was what created my internal scar. After my wife was done with chemo she seemed agitated and restless for a few days. I quietly wondered what was going on in her mind. Was she afraid the cancer would return? What was she thinking? I found out on April 11, 2003 when my wife knelt down beside me and confessed that years earlier she had been involved in an extra-marital affair with one of my buddies.

    I was devastated.

    Now, years later, as we both carry scars from that painful experience, we have come to see the beauty in those scars. Her scar represents her being cut loose from her past infidelity and into a newfound freedom of grace. And my scars, though unseen by the naked eye, have been a catalyst for my discovering a more gracious and mature love within me. To discover forgiveness, where only anguish and resentment once existed, has helped both of us learn to love our scars and to use them to help others who are in pain from past mistakes and present circumstances.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Wow. I can’t say much more than that. And thank you for your courage in sharing this. Those are terrible scars to have to carry around.

      Reply
  12. Stephanie Pridgen

    He just walked away. Or so it seems in the faded, distant memory.

    A little girl about age five staring out the backseat of an 80s model Bonneville, completely unable to understand why her father is getting on a train and why he doesn’t turn around to say goodbye.

    And that was it. Like that he was gone.

    It was supposed to be for work, or so the story goes, but he never returned. He never called. He never wrote. At least not to the little girl’s knowledge.

    She grew up and the secrets remained untold. Approaching her family only left her feeling guilty for bringing it up and convinced that whatever happened in the past should stay there. Something inside her said that she should feel responsible.

    So she did everything to please those she loved. Striving for perfection in even the smallest of details, fearful someone else may walk out of her life without explanation and silently declaring what she feared the most, “You’re not good enough.”

    She became obsessed with being thin, deeply depressed, and found comfort in thin, metal blades that left marks in her skin to bring some kind of release.

    “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. You aren’t worth the trouble.”

    Over and over, the lies played like a broken record you cannot reach to take off the turntable.

    And it’s true. I’m not good enough. But neither are you. None of us are “good”. No one but Jesus can claim to be good. We have all messed up in big and small ways.

    However, I have come to know that I am just the way God created me to be. I am His daughter. I am never going to be abandoned by Him. I am beautiful, not broken, and perfect in His sight. Now I have a Father that will never leave me.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Stephanie, this was beautiful. Obviously, terrible and painful, but beautiful. “It was supposed to be for work, or so the story goes, but he never returned.” I like the offhand allusion. It’s very subtle.

      “…staring out the backseat of an 80s model Bonneville.” Great detail.

      The scene at the train station is so powerful. I would love to see something expanded from that, a short story?

      Thank you Stephanie.

      Reply
  13. Stephanie Pridgen

    He just walked away. Or so it seems in the faded, distant memory.

    A little girl about age five staring out the backseat of an 80s model Bonneville, completely unable to understand why her father is getting on a train and why he doesn’t turn around to say goodbye.

    And that was it. Like that he was gone.

    It was supposed to be for work, or so the story goes, but he never returned. He never called. He never wrote. At least not to the little girl’s knowledge.

    She grew up and the secrets remained untold. Approaching her family only left her feeling guilty for bringing it up and convinced that whatever happened in the past should stay there. Something inside her said that she should feel responsible.

    So she did everything to please those she loved. Striving for perfection in even the smallest of details, fearful someone else may walk out of her life without explanation and silently declaring what she feared the most, “You’re not good enough.”

    She became obsessed with being thin, deeply depressed, and found comfort in thin, metal blades that left marks in her skin to bring some kind of release.

    “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. You aren’t worth the trouble.”

    Over and over, the lies played like a broken record you cannot reach to take off the turntable.

    And it’s true. I’m not good enough. But neither are you. None of us are “good”. No one but Jesus can claim to be good. We have all messed up in big and small ways.

    However, I have come to know that I am just the way God created me to be. I am His daughter. I am never going to be abandoned by Him. I am beautiful, not broken, and perfect in His sight. Now I have a Father that will never leave me.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Stephanie, this was beautiful. Obviously, terrible and painful, but beautiful. “It was supposed to be for work, or so the story goes, but he never returned.” I like the offhand allusion. It’s very subtle.

      “…staring out the backseat of an 80s model Bonneville.” Great detail.

      The scene at the train station is so powerful. I would love to see something expanded from that, a short story?

      Thank you Stephanie.

      Reply
  14. kati

    the wound story that comes to mind tonight is a DOG PILE wound story. for a kid named Randy.

    it doesn’t take long to tell, because it didn’t take very long.

    i was in sixth grade. randy was the pudgy kid, who never had anything clever to say, who always licked his lips. If he had ever smiled, i would have seen his raw skin crack and bleed.

    my u-tube clip starts in the middle of the action. every single kid from class is in a circle. except randy. he’s in the center of the circle. Licking his lips, and staring at his ratty shoes. and every single kid from class is chanting. chanting in that sing-song tone that only tormentors can find inside their throat.

    in my clip, i’m outside of the circle, but just barely. i am not chanting. worse: i have nothing to say. my spirit pulls me toward him, but my feet stay glued to the ground.

    i become the silent resistance. the final dog to jump atop the heap.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      This is a hard story to read. But you sneak us into it so well. You don’t know what’s going on, and then, all of a sudden you do. For me I get it right at the end. The understanding of the shaming that’s happening. And best I get a picture both of your shame and his. Those last lines are great: “i become the silent resistance. the final dog to jump atop the heap.” Because you are both the resistance and not.

      Reply
      • Kati Lane

        yah…cool that you pick up “shame”. because that’s exactly how i still feel after all these years. i still think: dangit, kati, how would his life be different even today, if in that one moment (and probably countless others) i had stood up for him? and further — what kind of person would i be now if i had been that kid, the one who fought for the dignity of others? so for sure, it’s a story of his wounds…but mine too.

        what did you mean by “hard to read”? the logistics (the choppy rhythm), or the delay in understanding? or the shame factor? or something else? sometimes hard should be fixed…other times it’s just what you’re looking for in a piece. not sure in this case. thanks for your time on this one! 🙂

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          I think it’s hard to read because we all have those experiences of being shamed or of watching someone being shamed or even of shaming someone ourselves. We all have those experiences, and we all regret we didn’t do something different.

          Reply
    • Oddznns

      Just saw this today. It’s powerful writing Kati.

      Reply
      • Kati Lane

        thank you. i do wish i could go back on this one, and have a different story to tell.

        i just looked at your profile and it appears that you are new to this site? i am too, by a few weeks. it’s really a great place–love the low pressure of “just do what you can in 15 minutes”. are you thinking of writing here?

        Reply
        • Oddznns

          You’re right, this is a great sight. Joe Bunting has created a real blessing! There are some real gems here that people have written. I just did that guest post on writing poetry …

          Reply
          • Kati Lane

            how cool! i usually think on posts and their prompts for awhile before diving in, so i’ll look forward to creating my word pictures! thanks for taking the time to write the post, and for adding your feedback to people’s work.

    • Sandra

      this is well written, I can really see the pain on the boy and also I don’t know what a dog pile is till the end of the story.
      I think there are times when i know I hurt someone and thinking about it hurts much more than thinking about how I have been hurt.

      Reply
  15. kati

    the wound story that comes to mind tonight is a DOG PILE wound story. for a kid named Randy.

    it doesn’t take long to tell, because it didn’t take very long.

    i was in sixth grade. randy was the pudgy kid, who never had anything clever to say, who always licked his lips. If he had ever smiled, i would have seen his raw skin crack and bleed.

    my u-tube clip starts in the middle of the action. every single kid from class is in a circle. except randy. he’s in the center of the circle. Licking his lips, and staring at his ratty shoes. and every single kid from class is chanting. chanting in that sing-song tone that only tormentors can find inside their throat.

    in my clip, i’m outside of the circle, but just barely. i am not chanting. worse: i have nothing to say. my spirit pulls me toward him, but my feet stay glued to the ground.

    i become the silent resistance. the final dog to jump atop the heap.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      This is a hard story to read. But you sneak us into it so well. You don’t know what’s going on, and then, all of a sudden you do. For me I get it right at the end. The understanding of the shaming that’s happening. And best I get a picture both of your shame and his. That last line is great: “the final dog to jump atop the heap.”

      Reply
      • kati

        yah…cool that you pick up “shame”. because that’s exactly how i still feel after all these years. i still think: dangit, kati, how would his life be different even today, if in that one moment (and probably countless others) i had stood up for him? and further — what kind of person would i be now if i had been that kid, the one who fought for the dignity of others? so for sure, it’s a story of his wounds…but mine too.

        what did you mean by “hard to read”? the logistics (the choppy rhythm), or the delay in understanding? or the shame factor? or something else? sometimes hard should be fixed…other times it’s just what you’re looking for in a piece. not sure in this case. thanks for your time on this one! 🙂

        Reply
        • Joe Bunting

          I think it’s hard to read because we all have those experiences of being shamed or of watching someone being shamed or even of shaming someone ourselves. We all have those experiences, and we all regret we didn’t do something different.

          Reply
    • Oddznns

      Just saw this today. It’s powerful writing Kati.

      Reply
      • kati

        thank you. i do wish i could go back on this one, and have a different story to tell.

        i just looked at your profile and it appears that you are new to this site? i am too, by a few weeks. it’s really a great place–love the low pressure of “just do what you can in 15 minutes”. are you thinking of writing here?

        Reply
        • Oddznns

          You’re right, this is a great sight. Joe Bunting has created a real blessing! There are some real gems here that people have written. I just did that guest post on writing poetry …

          Reply
          • kati

            how cool! i usually think on posts and their prompts for awhile before diving in, so i’ll look forward to creating my word pictures! thanks for taking the time to write the post, and for adding your feedback to people’s work.

  16. Padmas1

    Thanks for sharing this. This gives me even more courage.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I’m so glad Padmas. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
    • Kati Lane

      Hi! don’t know that i’ve met you here before. just curious (we’re getting to be a chatty, interactive group here!) — wondering, courage for what? if you meant to be almost invisible on this one…sorry! i’m just a little on the edge of my seat, as courage is a tricky trait to come by 🙂

      welcome to The Write Practice! it’s an awesome community. how did you find us?

      Reply
  17. Padmas1

    Thanks for sharing this. This gives me even more courage.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I’m so glad Padmas. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
    • kati

      Hi! don’t know that i’ve met you here before. just curious (we’re getting to be a chatty, interactive group here!) — wondering, courage for what? if you meant to be almost invisible on this one…sorry! i’m just a little on the edge of my seat, as courage is a tricky trait to come by 🙂

      welcome to The Write Practice! it’s an awesome community. how did you find us?

      Reply
  18. guest

    Scars. Some we choose. Others are thrust upon us, like a storm rising out of the depths of the sea, rushing towards land, engulfing us in a downpour of destruction. Either way, the aftermath is pretty much the same. The only difference is that the former is self-detonation and destruction.

    Sometimes, I look back on my life and wonder if I would have changed the things I did, if I would have stopped the thoughts that went on a rampage in my head again and again, “You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You’ll never measure up. You’re a mistake. You’re worthless. You never should have been born. You don’t deserve to live. You don’t deserve anything.” I am hard-pressed to find the answer. Truthfully though, I can’t say that I would change what I have done, what has happened to me. I can’t say that if I could stop a storm from coming, I would. Because I know that it is in our darkest hours that we find our greatest strength. I understand that sometimes, in order to survive, we must brave the worst, we must be strong. There is often no other choice. That has been proven to me time and time again, as I have struggled through the fall and rise of depression, so often engulfing me as if I were a meal to be eaten, rather than a fragile human being meant to be handled gently. But that’s just it: I’m not fragile. I am strong. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what the scars are for, so we prove to ourselves our strength, so that we are strong enough in the future to continue forward into the unknown, to conquer the unthinkable, to destroy that which is trying so desperately to destroy us.

    I have plenty of scars, emotional and physical. The physical are mostly inflicted by me, in an effort to control the overpowering tides and waves of my own emotional and mental state at the time. The emotional scars, those have been caused by outside sources, by the ones who were supposed to love me, but didn’t show it, by the ones who said they cared, but didn’t. These are the ones that hurt. These are the ones that have cut the deepest, that still have not healed, that are not just scars, but fresh wounds, the vultures waiting for me to die.

    But this is when I remember that scars are medals of honor, symbols of a struggle defeated, an obstacle overcome. This is when I remember that scars are what remind me that I am still here and living, that I am still strong, that I am still capable of fighting. And it is with this realization that I move forward. It is with this realization that I am able to move on.

    Because really, what is a scar but proof of your strength?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Well said, Mr. or Ms. Guest. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I liked what you said here, “These are the ones that have cut the deepest, that still have not healed, that are not just scars, but fresh wounds, the vultures waiting for me to die.” The vultures watching your unhealed wounds is a powerful image.

      I would love to see a specific example of one or two of your scars. I think sometimes we can get stuck generalizing, but people respond to specific examples and stories so much more. Worth experimenting with.

      But you do use wonderful language to describe the concept. Thank you for sharing this!

      Reply
  19. guest

    Scars. Some we choose. Others are thrust upon us, like a storm rising out of the depths of the sea, rushing towards land, engulfing us in a downpour of destruction. Either way, the aftermath is pretty much the same. The only difference is that the former is self-detonation and destruction.

    Sometimes, I look back on my life and wonder if I would have changed the things I did, if I would have stopped the thoughts that went on a rampage in my head again and again, “You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You’ll never measure up. You’re a mistake. You’re worthless. You never should have been born. You don’t deserve to live. You don’t deserve anything.” I am hard-pressed to find the answer. Truthfully though, I can’t say that I would change what I have done, what has happened to me. I can’t say that if I could stop a storm from coming, I would. Because I know that it is in our darkest hours that we find our greatest strength. I understand that sometimes, in order to survive, we must brave the worst, we must be strong. There is often no other choice. That has been proven to me time and time again, as I have struggled through the fall and rise of depression, so often engulfing me as if I were a meal to be eaten, rather than a fragile human being meant to be handled gently. But that’s just it: I’m not fragile. I am strong. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what the scars are for, so we prove to ourselves our strength, so that we are strong enough in the future to continue forward into the unknown, to conquer the unthinkable, to destroy that which is trying so desperately to destroy us.

    I have plenty of scars, emotional and physical. The physical are mostly inflicted by me, in an effort to control the overpowering tides and waves of my own emotional and mental state at the time. The emotional scars, those have been caused by outside sources, by the ones who were supposed to love me, but didn’t show it, by the ones who said they cared, but didn’t. These are the ones that hurt. These are the ones that have cut the deepest, that still have not healed, that are not just scars, but fresh wounds, the vultures waiting for me to die.

    But this is when I remember that scars are medals of honor, symbols of a struggle defeated, an obstacle overcome. This is when I remember that scars are what remind me that I am still here and living, that I am still strong, that I am still capable of fighting. And it is with this realization that I move forward. It is with this realization that I am able to move on.

    Because really, what is a scar but proof of your strength?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Well said, Mr. or Ms. Guest. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I liked what you said here, “These are the ones that have cut the deepest, that still have not healed, that are not just scars, but fresh wounds, the vultures waiting for me to die.” The vultures watching your unhealed wounds is a powerful image.

      I would love to see a specific example of one or two of your scars. I think sometimes we can get stuck generalizing, but people respond to specific examples and stories so much more. Worth experimenting with.

      But you do use wonderful language to describe the concept. Thank you for sharing this!

      Reply
  20. Sophiahammel

    I could not find river stones to take Goliath down so I picked up emotional stones instead. The first was love. I had to protect my sister from him touching her too so I got out of bed. The second stone I picked up was courage and I told them-their drunken, slack-mouthed faces that he was touching me. The truth became a stone that morphed into a boulder and knocked my family down like a strike in a game of bowling.

    Yelling. Accusations. Cold silence.

    Toward 9 year old me.

    “I don’t believe you.”

    Scars crisscrossed my heart and my little girl mind like hundreds of carefully placed railroad ties, determined to hold me prisoner.

    But I refused.

    I’d faced the giant while others stood cowering, afraid of tearing through the image of PERFECT FAMILY. I was stronger than all of them. I grew up and became Carrier of Stones, fighter for justice, pushing silence back where it belongs.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Wow this is great, Sophia. I love the reference to David and Goliath. I love this line, “I grew up and became Carrier of Stones,” how you make that your name, a proper noun. Very cool. This is a very brave piece.

      To make it finished you could either shorten it and add line breaks and make it into a poem, which I think would work nicely. Or lengthen it and add more detail to make it into a short story or scene in a novel.

      Reply
  21. Sophiahammel

    I could not find river stones to take Goliath down so I picked up emotional stones instead. The first was love. I had to protect my sister from him touching her too so I got out of bed. The second stone I picked up was courage and I told them-their drunken, slack-mouthed faces that he was touching me. The truth became a stone that morphed into a boulder and knocked my family down like a strike in a game of bowling.

    Yelling. Accusations. Cold silence.

    Toward 9 year old me.

    “I don’t believe you.”

    Scars crisscrossed my heart and my little girl mind like hundreds of carefully placed railroad ties, determined to hold me prisoner.

    But I refused.

    I’d faced the giant while others stood cowering, afraid of tearing through the image of PERFECT FAMILY. I was stronger than all of them. I grew up and became Carrier of Stones, fighter for justice, pushing silence back where it belongs.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Wow this is great, Sophia. I love the reference to David and Goliath. I love this line, “I grew up and became Carrier of Stones,” how you make that your name, a proper noun. Very cool. This is a very brave piece.

      To make it finished you could either shorten it and add line breaks and make it into a poem, which I think would work nicely. Or lengthen it and add more detail to make it into a short story or scene in a novel.

      Reply
  22. Barb

    I guess you can just call me “Scarface”. I’m submitting a blog post I wrote a few months ago:

    For the past 30 years I’ve sat through hundreds, maybe thousands of hours worth of sermons, Bible Studies, book discussions and conversations on marriage and parenthood. Though I had no need for the information at the time, no practical application, I absorbed that information for the time when I would need it. For the time when I would be married and have children. I gently placed each and every tidbit in my heart like a girl filling her hope chest.

    At times, I would open up the chest and look over all that I had, imagining the days when I would put all that great advice to use. I would be well supplied when I started up my new life with my spouse. I would hit the ground running when parenthood happened.

    In 16 days I turn 50 years old and all the items in my hope chest have sat unused and they never will be. They’ve gathered dust, rusted, rotted. I wonder what I could have done with all that time I spent sitting through those sermons, etc. I wonder how much money I could have saved had I not spent it on those books. I feel as though all those people who told me that a time would come when I would be able to put that info to good use lied to me. I was tricked, deluded, used.

    If I had a real hope chest filled with towels, sheets, dishes and other household goods I could donate them to charity, toss them in the garbage…or burn them. How do I get rid of all this unusable advice that is stored in my mind and heart? There’s no way to get rid of it all. Every tiny morsel taunts me. It all weighs me down; my heart is heavy and burdened. How can I divest myself of all this clutter?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you for sharing this. I felt your hurt so deeply through this. This is not the painful experiences most wrote about. This the long slow suffering. I hope you write more about this, both to heal and to share something of this pain with the world.

      Reply
    • rhealm

      I hope you do write more… I know a person much like the one you described. He left his initial marriage because he felt there was room for something greater.. he held out waiting for love to come. For someone to share all his wonderful knowledge and kind heart that was ardent with love. He is so ready to share all of that and is angry at the world because he doesn’t think it will ever come. There are no words to inspire him to love himself the way he hope to love someone else. I look for them and I share the ones that come but the message always goes unheard. There is far more appeal to love someone who loves themselves with a love that almost makes you envious than it is to love someone who can’t stop professing their premature love for a person they have yet to know. Maybe one day your words can get thru to him. So I too hope you will finish writing about this long journey you have yet to accept.

      Reply
      • Kati Lane

        hi rhealm, i’m glad you opened up this conversation again! And I am sorry Brab608 that i missed this when you first posted it several weeks ago. Anytime i read something as open and vulnerable as your practice here, i feel refreshed despite the sadness. Raw honesty is a precious gift to give to others…rare, and costly to the giver. But it is so appreciated in this kind community!

        So Brab608, in thinking about how to share with you some tlc along with rhealm’s awesome thoughts…it seems perhaps the only way i can weigh in on something so deep and personal is to share a smidge of myself too so you know you are not alone.

        when i was a girl, i always envisioned my life with children…lots of them. ever open to dramatic living, i even imagined a 4,000 square foot home to house tons of foster kids along with a batch of my own. i was so young, with so much love to give. i couldn’t wait to get started.

        i’ve now been married to a precious man for what seems to me to be at least two lifetimes of years. we’ve lived in 9 tiny homes…each with zero kids. didn’t make sense for my body to birth them, we’ve never had sufficient resources to adopt, my husband is too tenderhearted to weather fostering.

        life brings so many losses: the older i get, the more i collect. but one thing i can say is this: ABUNDANCE EXISTS. it just doesn’t always come in the form we expect — or want — or need.

        in the past seven years alone, my husband and i have housed my two precious early twenty-something brothers (one of them for four years), we were caregivers for two Godly men who died slow and painful deaths (my grandfather in 2004, my dad in 2010), we have 23 nieces and nephews–several of whom we’d quite literally die for if duty ever came calling.

        at the risk of going a little too long here…i hope it’s okay with you if i share a poem i found as my dad was dying that in some inexplicable way soothed my loss.

        THIS PLACE OF ABUNDANCE

        We know nothing until we know everything.

        I have no object to defend
        for all is of equal value
        to me.

        I cannot lose anything in this
        place of abundance
        I found.

        If something my heart cherishes
        is taken away,

        I just say, “Lord, what
        happened?”

        And a hundred more
        appear.

        ——-
        by St. Catherine of Sienna
        1347-1380
        ——————————————————
        I have no idea what this ancient saint meant when she said “a hundred more appear” — but i can say that every time i read the words taped up on my hallway wall, they make me open my eyes and look around.

        hugs to you, and thanks again for sharing.

        Reply
  23. Brab608

    I guess you can just call me “Scarface”. I’m submitting a blog post I wrote a few months ago:

    For the past 30 years I’ve sat through hundreds, maybe thousands of hours worth of sermons, Bible Studies, book discussions and conversations on marriage and parenthood. Though I had no need for the information at the time, no practical application, I absorbed that information for the time when I would need it. For the time when I would be married and have children. I gently placed each and every tidbit in my heart like a girl filling her hope chest.

    At times, I would open up the chest and look over all that I had, imagining the days when I would put all that great advice to use. I would be well supplied when I started up my new life with my spouse. I would hit the ground running when parenthood happened.

    In 16 days I turn 50 years old and all the items in my hope chest have sat unused and they never will be. They’ve gathered dust, rusted, rotted. I wonder what I could have done with all that time I spent sitting through those sermons, etc. I wonder how much money I could have saved had I not spent it on those books. I feel as though all those people who told me that a time would come when I would be able to put that info to good use lied to me. I was tricked, deluded, used.

    If I had a real hope chest filled with towels, sheets, dishes and other household goods I could donate them to charity, toss them in the garbage…or burn them. How do I get rid of all this unusable advice that is stored in my mind and heart? There’s no way to get rid of it all. Every tiny morsel taunts me. It all weighs me down; my heart is heavy and burdened. How can I divest myself of all this clutter?

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Thank you for sharing this. I felt your hurt so deeply through this. This is not the painful experiences most wrote about. This the long slow suffering. I hope you write more about this, both to heal and to share something of this pain with the world.

      Reply
    • rhealm

      I hope you do write more… I know a person much like the one you described. He left his initial marriage because he felt there was room for something greater.. he held out waiting for love to come. For someone to share all his wonderful knowledge and kind heart that was ardent with love. He is so ready to share all of that and is angry at the world because he doesn’t think it will ever come. There are no words to inspire him to love himself the way he hope to love someone else. I look for them and I share the ones that come but the message always goes unheard. There is far more appeal to love someone who loves themselves with a love that almost makes you envious than it is to love someone who can’t stop professing their premature love for a person they have yet to know. Maybe one day your words can get thru to him. So I too hope you will finish writing about this long journey you have yet to accept.

      Reply
      • kati

        hi rhealm, i’m glad you opened up this conversation again! And I am sorry Brab608 that i missed this when you first posted it several weeks ago. Anytime i read something as open and vulnerable as your practice here, i feel refreshed despite the sadness. Raw honesty is a precious gift to give to others…rare, and costly to the giver. But it is so appreciated in this kind community!

        So Brab608, in thinking about how to share with you some tlc along with rhealm’s awesome thoughts…it seems perhaps the only way i can weigh in on something so deep and personal is to share a smidge of myself too so you know you are not alone.

        when i was a girl, i always envisioned my life with children…lots of them. ever open to dramatic living, i even imagined a 4,000 square foot home to house tons of foster kids along with a batch of my own. i was so young, with so much love to give. i couldn’t wait to get started.

        i’ve now been married to a precious man for what seems to me to be at least two lifetimes of years. we’ve lived in 9 tiny homes…each with zero kids. didn’t make sense for my body to birth them, we’ve never had sufficient resources to adopt, my husband is too tenderhearted to weather fostering.

        life brings so many losses: the older i get, the more i collect. but one thing i can say is this: ABUNDANCE EXISTS. it just doesn’t always come in the form we expect — or want — or need.

        in the past seven years alone, my husband and i have housed my two precious early twenty-something brothers (one of them for four years), we were caregivers for two Godly men who died slow and painful deaths (my grandfather in 2004, my dad in 2010), we have 23 nieces and nephews–several of whom we’d quite literally die for if duty ever came calling.

        at the risk of going a little too long here…i hope it’s okay with you if i share a poem i found as my dad was dying that in some inexplicable way soothed my loss.

        THIS PLACE OF ABUNDANCE

        We know nothing until we know everything.

        I have no object to defend
        for all is of equal value
        to me.

        I cannot lose anything in this
        place of abundance
        I found.

        If something my heart cherishes
        is taken away,

        I just say, “Lord, what
        happened?”

        And a hundred more
        appear.

        by St. Catherine of Sienna
        1347-1380

        ——

        I have no idea what this ancient saint meant when she said “a hundred more appear” — but i can say that every time i read the words taped up on my hallway wall, they make me open my eyes and look around.

        hugs to you, and thanks again for sharing.

        Reply
  24. Bo Lane

    This scar is not my own. In fact, this story is of a guy I watched unravel outside a hospital in Stayton, Oregon on Nov 13, 2007. That was the day my beautiful daughter was born. And it just so happened to be the same day this guy’s wife – and the mother of their three young boys – died.

    I remember going outside a little while before my daughter was born and watching this guy on the phone, screaming one minute and bawling the next. My heart broke for him and I couldn’t help but think of the irony that was taking place. One life ended just moments before another began.

    An unfortunate beauty.

    Every year on my daughter’s birthday it’s hard not to remember this moment.

    ……

    Dr. Chan hoisted himself up on the rails of my wife’s hospital bed and clasped both hands together and placed them on her chest. As he thrust his weight upon her body, I could hear the bones snap like small twigs under foot.

    “My wife is dead.”

    I looked down at my hands as they shook. My entire body was trembling. I needed to get out of the room – out of the hospital – before I lost all ability to function.

    I walked outside and called my father.

    “Dad.”

    No doubt he could hear every crack – every breath of uncertainty – in my voice.

    “Son,” he said, “have you heard anything from the doctor yet?”

    “Yes.”

    “It isn’t good news, is it?”

    “No, it’s not.”

    In all honestly, I haven’t an idea as to what else we talked about. I do remember pacing about, whispering in one breath and screaming in another. I hung up the phone and threw it against the outside wall of the hospital and then sat on the grass.

    November 13, 2007 was the day my wife died and my life, and the life of my three boys, will never be the same.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I love that you’re gettin into the archives, Bo.

      This story is so tough. Man. The ribs breaking, such a vivid piece of detail. The way he mentions it to himself, “My wife is dead.”

      One thing to think about, while the guy is clearly messed up, the narration is very calm and reliable. You might think about changing the tone and focus so that you can see even by how it’s written how devastating this is. Does that make sense?

      Right now, it feels like he’s telling it to a buddy over a beer a few years later. And that’s fine. Great even, if that’s what you’re going for. I wonder how it would look if you narrated it from the perspective of the moment, though?

      I can see him losing it here though, “I do remember pacing about, whispering in one breath and screaming in another. I hung up the phone and threw it against the outside wall of the hospital and then sat on the grass.” Geez, that would be so hard.

      Reply
  25. Bo Lane

    This scar is not my own. In fact, this story is of a guy I watched unravel outside a hospital in Stayton, Oregon on Nov 13, 2007. That was the day my beautiful daughter was born. And it just so happened to be the same day this guy’s wife – and the mother of their three young boys – died.

    I remember going outside a little while before my daughter was born and watching this guy on the phone, screaming one minute and bawling the next. My heart broke for him and I couldn’t help but this of the irony that was taking place. One life ended just moments before another began.

    An unfortunate beauty.

    Every year on my daughter’s birthday it’s hard not to remember this moment.

    ……

    Dr. Chan hoisted himself up on the rails of my wife’s hospital bed and clasped both hands together and placed them on her chest. As he thrust his weight upon her body, I could hear the bones snap like small twigs under foot.

    “My wife is dead.”

    I looked down at my hands as they shook. My entire body was trembling. I needed to get out of the room – out of the hospital – before I lost all ability to function.

    I walked outside and called my father.

    “Dad.”

    No doubt he could hear every crack – every breath of uncertainty – in my voice.

    “Son,” he said, “have you heard anything from the doctor yet?”

    “Yes.”

    “It isn’t good news, is it?”

    “No, it’s not.”

    In all honestly, I haven’t an idea as to what else we talked about. I do remember pacing about, whispering in one breath and screaming in another. I hung up the phone and threw it against the outside wall of the hospital and then sat on the grass.

    November 13, 2007 was the day my wife died and my life, and the life of my three boys, will never be the same.

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      I love that you’re gettin into the archives, Bo.

      This story is so tough. Man. The ribs breaking, such a vivid piece of detail. The way he mentions it to himself, “My wife is dead.”

      One thing to think about, while the guy is clearly messed up, the narration is very calm and reliable. You might think about changing the tone and focus so that you can see even by how it’s written how devastating this is. Does that make sense?

      Right now, it feels like he’s telling it to a buddy over a beer a few years later. And that’s fine. Great even, if that’s what you’re going for. I wonder how it would look if you narrated it from the perspective of the moment, though?

      I can see him losing it here though, “I do remember pacing about, whispering in one breath and screaming in another. I hung up the phone and threw it against the outside wall of the hospital and then sat on the grass.” Geez, that would be so hard.

      Reply
  26. Tesseliot

    I have an almost invisible scar on my right hand. It came from a childhood playmate, my Grandma’s dog. She was a small terrier mix, and loved to play fight. We spent many hours goofing off and play fighting on the floor. The scrape came from her tooth accidently scraping my hand when I jumped up to answer a “Get in here right now” order. That scar was oddly enough a small reminder of a happy time in my life, and of a small friend that seemed to be upset that I had blood on my hand. She never ever bit down hard. That dog never found anything wrong with me, and never acted angry or grumpy. That dog looked like her heart would burst with happiness at the sight of me. Sometimes scars are about wonderful things, a risk that succeeded or just that early uncomplicated friendship with a dog.

    Reply
    • Barb

      Thank you for reminding me scars can be souvenirs of good times, as well.

      Reply
  27. Tesseliot

    I have an almost invisible scar on my right hand. It came from a childhood playmate, my Grandma’s dog. She was a small terrier mix, and loved to play fight. We spent many hours goofing off and play fighting on the floor. The scrape came from her tooth accidently scraping my hand when I jumped up to answer a “Get in here right now” order. That scar was oddly enough a small reminder of a happy time in my life, and of a small friend that seemed to be upset that I had blood on my hand. She never ever bit down hard. That dog never found anything wrong with me, and never acted angry or grumpy. That dog looked like her heart would burst with happiness at the sight of me. Sometimes scars are about wonderful things, a risk that succeeded or just that early uncomplicated friendship with a dog.

    Reply
    • Barb

      Thank you for reminding me scars can be souvenirs of good times, as well.

      Reply
  28. R Emmet5

    Child birth is a funny thing. One side of my belly still hangs lower than the other motivating me to eat less and worry more. I have heard of some women’s baby scars as tiny dainty things. I imagine they reflect the smooth and efficient way in which their babies were cut out of them.

    The jagged edges creeping across my pubic bone remind me that my son was in a hurry. 4 months of a hurry, to be exact. It’s kind of beautiful really, and the only real outside evidence of the traumatic way we became united in this world.

    I never looked away especially when I wanted to. I still wake up smelling iodine, seeing that artificial light shining through the yellow hospital gown like some kind of precious dawn. Except that dawn never showed its sparkling joy in that room. Everywhere there was sadness, sorrow, defeat

    Reply
  29. R Emmet5

    Child birth is a funny thing. One side of my belly still hangs lower than the other motivating me to eat less and worry more. I have heard of some women’s baby scars as tiny dainty things. I imagine they reflect the smooth and efficient way in which their babies were cut out of them.

    The jagged edges creeping across my pubic bone remind me that my son was in a hurry. 4 months of a hurry, to be exact. It’s kind of beautiful really, and the only real outside evidence of the traumatic way we became united in this world.

    I never looked away especially when I wanted to. I still wake up smelling iodine, seeing that artificial light shining through the yellow hospital gown like some kind of precious dawn. Except that dawn never showed its sparkling joy in that room. Everywhere there was sadness, sorrow, defeat

    Reply
  30. R Emmet5

    Child birth is a funny thing. One side of my belly still hangs lower than the other motivating me to eat less and worry more. I have heard of some women’s baby scars as tiny dainty things. I imagine they reflect the smooth and efficient way in which their babies were cut out of them.

    The jagged edges creeping across my pubic bone remind me that my son was in a hurry. 4 months of a hurry, to be exact. It’s kind of beautiful really, and the only real outside evidence of the traumatic way we became united in this world.

    I never looked away especially when I wanted to. I still wake up smelling iodine, seeing that artificial light shining through the yellow hospital gown like some kind of precious dawn. Except that dawn never showed its sparkling joy in that room. Everywhere there was sadness, sorrow, defeat

    Reply
  31. R Emmet5

    Child birth is a funny thing. One side of my belly still hangs lower than the other motivating me to eat less and worry more. I have heard of some women’s baby scars as tiny dainty things. I imagine they reflect the smooth and efficient way in which their babies were cut out of them.

    The jagged edges creeping across my pubic bone remind me that my son was in a hurry. 4 months of a hurry, to be exact. It’s kind of beautiful really, and the only real outside evidence of the traumatic way we became united in this world.

    I never looked away especially when I wanted to. I still wake up smelling iodine, seeing that artificial light shining through the yellow hospital gown like some kind of precious dawn. Except that dawn never showed its sparkling joy in that room. Everywhere there was sadness, sorrow, defeat

    Reply
  32. http://scarprinnow.com/

    Thank you very much for that big article.

    Reply
  33. anonymous

    Hanging silence rips open the wounds like the serrated
    edge of a knife. Numerous days pressed against a radiator. Babbling teens mere
    metres away. I do not speak. This is my curse, I cut myself. My warped mind is
    the weapon of choice. My scars are never seen. They are thoughts.

    Reply
  34. anonymous

    Hanging silence rips open the wounds like the serrated
    edge of a knife. Numerous days pressed against a radiator. Babbling teens mere
    metres away. I do not speak. This is my curse, I cut myself. My warped mind is
    the weapon of choice. My scars are never seen. They are thoughts.

    Reply
  35. Katie :)

    I have a scar on my arm. It was given to me by somebody I love
    very dearly. Somebody who brings out every emotion in me, sometimes separately,
    Hate, anger, loneliness, love, warmth, happiness. At the most dangerous times
    it brings them all out at once, like a cocktail, a world wind, sometimes peaceful, sometimes
    my eyes will fill with water and tears will roll slowly down my cheeks.
    Sometimes like a big gust of wind, landing on every inch of my skin, taking
    over all of my emotions. This scar I chose, as I know in time it will fade,
    just like those emotions to this person, just like memories of this person. I
    was lying on the corridor floor, and already writing this my memory is patchy,
    and my lover was lead next to me, rolling around it was the first time id felt
    free of pain in a long time. Over and over, we laughed and played all the time.
    Then his zip caught my skin. As it bled, it was new, it was fresh, all my blood
    pumping to that part of my skin, Then it scabbed, and healed, just like the
    heart, then it left a mark when all else had gone. And now it is faint fading
    scar, just like my pain, just like my happiness, just like my memories. All I
    have left from my love is the scar on my arm. And soon that will be gone as
    well. I could cry and morn for this moment just as much as I could smile and
    dance for it.

    Reply
  36. Katie :)

    I have a scar on my arm. It was given to me by somebody I love
    very dearly. Somebody who brings out every emotion in me, sometimes separately,
    Hate, anger, loneliness, love, warmth, happiness. At the most dangerous times
    it brings them all out at once, like a cocktail, a world wind, sometimes peaceful, sometimes
    my eyes will fill with water and tears will roll slowly down my cheeks.
    Sometimes like a big gust of wind, landing on every inch of my skin, taking
    over all of my emotions. This scar I chose, as I know in time it will fade,
    just like those emotions to this person, just like memories of this person. I
    was lying on the corridor floor, and already writing this my memory is patchy,
    and my lover was lead next to me, rolling around it was the first time id felt
    free of pain in a long time. Over and over, we laughed and played all the time.
    Then his zip caught my skin. As it bled, it was new, it was fresh, all my blood
    pumping to that part of my skin, Then it scabbed, and healed, just like the
    heart, then it left a mark when all else had gone. And now it is faint fading
    scar, just like my pain, just like my happiness, just like my memories. All I
    have left from my love is the scar on my arm. And soon that will be gone as
    well. I could cry and morn for this moment just as much as I could smile and
    dance for it.

    Reply
  37. Richard Gullick

    When I was around eight years old I began to feel a debilitating pain in my right leg. I complained to my mother about this for almost a month who disregarded it to be little more than attention seeking due to my closest friend having a blood disease that effected his legs (and also the fact I was constantly feigning illness to get out of school). She finally took me to the hospital after it became abundantly clear that there may indeed be a problem – if there was nothing wrong with my leg physically there must have at least been a psychological issue that would make me so adamant about trying to convince her of my constant pain. The doctor we saw was a stony faced man and had a harsh and unsympathetic aura about him. He entered the room after a few tests and told my mother that it was quite serious. My mothers response and her exact tone has stayed with me ever since – her hold of me suddenly grew incredibly tight as she uttered ”Is it life threatening?”. Just thinking about it now makes my bottom lip tremble – the intensity of the fear in her voice during that short sentence still echoes within my mind. He instantly replied that it wasn’t and asked if she wanted him to explain it to her to which she declined and asked for another doctor – presumably one that seemed more personable. We spent about ten minutes waiting and my mother held me like I was a baby all over again and apologised profusely for not believing me – there was no need for her to be sorry and thus no need for me to forgive. I cannot remember the next doctor or anything else from that day but it turned out I had perthes disease – I can’t remember the exact details of the condition but it had something to do with the blood supply not reaching one of the bones in my thigh which gave it the density of play dough. I was out of action for around two to three years, spending some time in a wheelchair and some time on crutches, and months in hospital. My operation resulted in this nine inch scar on my thigh. I have been somewhat upset recently that it has began to fade as it reminds me of two things. [Timer!] Firstly that I have a family that loved me enough to look after me throughout this whole period and secondly because I know that if I existed in a different era or place in the world I almost certainly wouldn’t be able to walk today.

    Reply
  38. Richard Gullick

    When I was around eight
    years old I began to feel a debilitating pain in my right leg. I
    complained to my mother about this for almost a month who disregarded
    it to be little more than attention seeking due to my closest friend
    having a blood disease that effected his legs (and also the fact I
    was constantly feigning illness to get out of school). She finally
    took me to the hospital after it became abundantly clear that there
    may indeed be a problem – if there was nothing wrong with my leg
    physically there must have at least been a psychological issue that
    would make me so adamant about trying to convince her of my constant
    pain. The doctor we saw was a stony faced man and had a harsh and
    unsympathetic aura about him. He entered the room after a few tests
    and told my mother that it was quite serious. My mothers response and
    her exact tone has stayed with me ever since – her hold of me
    suddenly grew incredibly tight as she uttered ”Is it life
    threatening?”. Just thinking about it now makes me tremble – the
    intensity of the fear in her voice during that short sentence still
    echoes within my mind. He instantly replied that it wasn’t and asked
    if she wanted him to explain it to her to which she declined and
    asked for another doctor – presumably one that seemed more
    personable. We spent about ten minutes waiting and my mother held me
    like I was a baby all over again and apologised profusely for not
    believing me – there was no need for her to be sorry and thus no
    need for me to forgive. I cannot remember the next doctor or anything
    else from that day but it turned out I had perthes disease – I
    can’t remember the exact details of the condition but it had
    something to do with the blood supply not reaching one of the bones
    in my thigh which gave it the density of play dough. I was out of
    action for around two to three years, spending some time in a
    wheelchair and some time on crutches, and months in hospital. My
    operation resulted in this nine inch scar on my thigh. I have been
    somewhat upset recently that it has began to fade as it reminds me of
    two things. [Timer!] Firstly that I have a family that loved me
    enough to look after me throughout this whole period and secondly
    because I know that if I existed in a different era or place in the
    world I almost certainly wouldn’t be able to walk today.

    Reply
  39. Jake Dearlove

    Last thing I thought before I fell asleep
    in the back seat was of the car wrecked.

    A trip to a scrapyard two weeks before had
    been on my mind.

    I noticed that the window winder of the car
    I was now in was the same as one in the scrap yard.

    Later on I would wonder if this added up to
    something psychic. Maybe I’d even caused the accident. Maybe my energy was what lead to my grandmother dozing off at 120 on a dusty strip road outside
    Karoi.

    Normally us kids would be looking for the
    witch. Karoi means ‘little witch’ in Shona, the local language and this was
    reflected by on the town welcome sign a by a sinister broom riding figure that
    we loved to be terrified by.

    I awoke when the car left the road. Grandmother said “What’s happening?’ and “Oh my God”. The horizon began to turn slowly. The world, the very moment seemed sentient. Everything went off.

    I came around to a scene from a battlefield. Nothing can be gained by describing it. My arm was broken in three places and half torn. I was the luckiest one.

    Someone made me sit down under a tree in which a bird had the unconscionable temerity to sing. It was almost Christmas.

    The wound was badly stitched in a dirty country clinic and left a scar wider than it should be. Years later a surgeon visiting my upper humerus on other business neatened it up, but it will always be there.

    Reply
  40. Jake Dearlove

    Last thing I thought before I fell asleep
    in the back seat was of the car wrecked.

    A trip to a scrapyard two weeks before had
    been on my mind.

    I noticed that the window winder of the car
    I was now in was the same as one in the scrap yard.

    Later on I would wonder if this added up to
    something psychic. Maybe I’d even caused the accident. Maybe my energy was what lead to my grandmother dozing off at 120 on a dusty strip road outside
    Karoi.

    Normally us kids would be looking for the
    witch. Karoi means ‘little witch’ in Shona, the local language and this was
    reflected by on the town welcome sign a by a sinister broom riding figure that
    we loved to be terrified by.

    I awoke when the car left the road. Grandmother said “What’s happening?’ and “Oh my God”. The horizon began to turn slowly. The world, the very moment seemed sentient. Everything went off.

    I came around to a scene from a battlefield. Nothing can be gained by describing it. My arm was broken in three places and half torn. I was the luckiest one.

    Someone made me sit down under a tree in which a bird had the unconscionable temerity to sing. It was almost Christmas.

    The wound was badly stitched in a dirty country clinic and left a scar wider than it should be. Years later a surgeon visiting my upper humerus on other business neatened it up, but it will always be there.

    Reply
  41. Anon

    I kissed a boy when I was eleven, twelve years of age. I’m now nineteen. Am I gay? I still really couldn’t tell you. I’ve been hiding from myself, hiding from the truth, for my entire life. I spend my time going from persona to persona with little thought of who I truly am. And I guess that’s possibly my deepest scar, not some dramatic event that I need to come to terms with, not anything as tangible as that. Rather my wound is that at the age of nineteen, when the whole world is open to me, I still remain closed to myself.

    Reply
    • Shijin

      I understand completely. I did a lot more thank kiss a boy when I was 15. I was lonely. I had no friends. And he showed me affection. We were very physical. But at 30 I can tell you unequivocally that I am not gay. I was a sad and very lonely kid reaching out to anyone. Now that’s not to say that you aren’t gay, or that you are. No one else can tell you that. The quickest way to finding who you are is to take others out of the equation. Who are you when nobody else is looking? Be that person.

      Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      I came out of the closet at 23. If you want to talk about it or if you just need a nonjudgmental ear, go ahead and email me. 🙂

      Reply
  42. Anon

    I kissed a boy when I was eleven, twelve years of age. I’m now nineteen. Am I gay? I still really couldn’t tell you. I’ve been hiding from myself, hiding from the truth, for my entire life. I spend my time going from persona to persona with little thought of who I truly am. And I guess that’s possibly my deepest scar, not some dramatic event that I need to come to terms with, not anything as tangible as that. Rather my wound is that at the age of nineteen, when the whole world is open to me, I still remain closed to myself.

    Reply
    • Shijin

      I understand completely. I did a lot more thank kiss a boy when I was 15. I was lonely. I had no friends. And he showed me affection. We were very physical. But at 30 I can tell you unequivocally that I am not gay. I was a sad and very lonely kid reaching out to anyone. Now that’s not to say that you aren’t gay, or that you are. No one else can tell you that. The quickest way to finding who you are is to take others out of the equation. Who are you when nobody else is looking? Be that person.

      Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      I came out of the closet at 23. If you want to talk about it or if you just need a nonjudgmental ear, go ahead and email me. 🙂

      Reply
  43. Shijin

    I’ve wanted to write for a long time. Writing is something I’ve needed to do. Something I must do. I’ve felt it in my bones for the last ten years. Yet I just turned thirty the other day and I have yet to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Why is that?

    I ask myself where I went wrong. Which isn’t exactly it. Or why am I so weak. Which is closer. After reading this article I finally see why I kept failing to take that first step. I’ve shut myself off from the world. Or rather I’ve hidden the real me from the world. From myself. The real me who was hurt by those around him. Who made stupid, hurtful things to himself and others.

    I was too ashamed to face that boy and all the scars he carried. And the ones he gave. Like the time in first grade when he chose to hurt someone else so the others would hurt him. Or the times he lied and stole. Carrying on like the self righteous brat he was.

    Then there was the time at fifteen, when he was so desperately lonely, he made a friend of the same sex who tried to fill that emptiness. Only to run, hide and try to not feel so ashamed. I am so deeply flawed and it scares the hell out me. But its time I quit running and face who I was so I can become who I’m meant to be.

    Reply
  44. Shijin

    I’ve wanted to write for a long time. Writing is something I’ve needed to do. Something I must do. I’ve felt it in my bones for the last ten years. Yet I just turned thirty the other day and I have yet to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Why is that?

    I ask myself where I went wrong. Which isn’t exactly it. Or why am I so weak. Which is closer. After reading this article I finally see why I kept failing to take that first step. I’ve shut myself off from the world. Or rather I’ve hidden the real me from the world. From myself. The real me who was hurt by those around him. Who made stupid, hurtful things to himself and others.

    I was too ashamed to face that boy and all the scars he carried. And the ones he gave. Like the time in first grade when he chose to hurt someone else so the others would hurt him. Or the times he lied and stole. Carrying on like the self righteous brat he was.

    Then there was the time at fifteen, when he was so desperately lonely, he made a friend of the same sex who tried to fill that emptiness. Only to run, hide and try to not feel so ashamed. I am so deeply flawed and it scares the hell out me. But its time I quit running and face who I was so I can become who I’m meant to be.

    Reply
  45. Red XI

    I don’t want to talk about one of my scars. I want to talk about all of my scars. They all come from the same place: me.

    I was diagnosed with depression at 7, and a variety of other things since. Every time something bad happens, I want to curl into a ball and sleep. Not wake up again from it. Every time this happens (and it happens at least once a day, sometimes more), I hurt myself in places that no-one else can see.

    So long story short, my arms and legs are normal, but my thighs are covered with huge rivets from the scars. I trace them when I like to remember that I’m still alive. And now, I’ve found someone that loves me. Scars and all. Because he has scars of his own.

    Reply
  46. Red XI

    I don’t want to talk about one of my scars. I want to talk about all of my scars. They all come from the same place: me.

    I was diagnosed with depression at 7, and a variety of other things since. Every time something bad happens, I want to curl into a ball and sleep. Not wake up again from it. Every time this happens (and it happens at least once a day, sometimes more), I hurt myself in places that no-one else can see.

    So long story short, my arms and legs are normal, but my thighs are covered with huge rivets from the scars. I trace them when I like to remember that I’m still alive. And now, I’ve found someone that loves me. Scars and all. Because he has scars of his own.

    Reply
  47. Rachel

    It’s amazing how much an hour – the right hour – can teach you. Or in my case, a half hour recess.

    I was eleven, and a very small eleven at that: skinny and short and very nervous. I didn’t want to be touched, surprised, or snuck up upon. So when they came up behind me, when they grabbed my arms with their fat, sweaty hands and held me in front of them, I lashed out. I didn’t need to see them to know where their shins were. I didn’t need to know what hung between their legs to know kicking it
    would hurt.

    The teachers told me I shouldn’t have behaved that way. I told them they were
    wrong, but a six foot tall football coach hasn’t been half someone’s size in a
    very long time. He doesn’t live with a constant cringing fear. He can recognize
    people by their faces and not their belts.

    Even at eleven, I knew playground justice isn’t meted out by adults. The teachers’ words left me fuming, but by the next day, I’d forgotten it. I didn’t forget to look over my shoulder and keep my back to the wall and my fists clenched. I
    didn’t forget to act someone else’s size and not my own. I didn’t forget to
    trust my own words and my own hands instead of the people in charge. I can walk in a crowd now that I’m grown, but those lessons stuck, for better or for
    worse. Scars stitch what’s hurt and broken back together, but they’ll never be
    as good as whole skin.

    Reply
    • Elise Martel

      Scars are memories. Memories that wounded us and burned us. We healed, but the memory remains. Sometimes, we think it is a scar, but the wound is still fresh. We often pick it open again, too hurt to let it heal.
      Whole skin doesn’t remember like scars.

      Reply
  48. Rachel

    It’s amazing how much an hour – the right hour – can teach you. Or in my case, a half hour recess.

    I was eleven, and a very small eleven at that: skinny and short and very nervous. I didn’t want to be touched, surprised, or snuck up upon. So when they came up behind me, when they grabbed my arms with their fat, sweaty hands and held me in front of them, I lashed out. I didn’t need to see them to know where their shins were. I didn’t need to know what hung between their legs to know kicking it
    would hurt.

    The teachers told me I shouldn’t have behaved that way. I told them they were
    wrong, but a six foot tall football coach hasn’t been half someone’s size in a
    very long time. He doesn’t live with a constant cringing fear. He can recognize
    people by their faces and not their belts.

    Even at eleven, I knew playground justice isn’t meted out by adults. The teachers’ words left me fuming, but by the next day, I’d forgotten it. I didn’t forget to look over my shoulder and keep my back to the wall and my fists clenched. I
    didn’t forget to act someone else’s size and not my own. I didn’t forget to
    trust my own words and my own hands instead of the people in charge. I can walk in a crowd now that I’m grown, but those lessons stuck, for better or for
    worse. Scars stitch what’s hurt and broken back together, but they’ll never be
    as good as whole skin.

    Reply
  49. Celina N

    I wanted to feel his scars, run my fingertips against the dead tissue, feel the liveliness of the warmth of his skin, jagged upon smooth. I never will. Instead, he is gone, and his feet molded wounds into me with every step away. The absence of his hands makes my skin burn, the absence of his voice makes my ears fuzzy, the absence of his life within my own makes me pick open the scabs over and over and over until I know they will scar, until I know I cannot forget.
    I wanted to heal him, to silence the lies in his head, to hold him still until the world stopped spinning around him and he stopped spinning to catch every detail. I didn’t, and I won’t, and I am the one who needs healing because I am convinced that he is the only one who can fix me and that can’t be right. I was never right with him. I was never myself with him. I was never normal with him. I was never bored with him. I was never whole with him, nor was I empty. I was in a constant state of soaking him in, his details, his words, his skin, his eyes that pressed their sad grey-blue color upon me, bruises that persist.

    Reply
  50. Bethany

    I read in a book once that scars are beautiful. The only way
    to be sure that you are alive. Scars do not form on the flesh of the dead you
    know. And metaphorically speaking, I suppose this is still true. I know for a
    fact that I am alive because there are certain moments in my past that have
    formed dark, ropey, scars on my memory. I feel them – a dull ache in the back
    of my soul when it rains. There is a deep pain when the weather turns off cold.
    I can feel it in my back and my hips sometimes. I trace these scars,
    remembering moments that were too dark, in spaces that were too small, with
    boys who I didn’t know well enough. I remember the pain of the lump in my
    throat as I cried desperately for him not to go, not to leave me. “I’m not
    ready for this to be over!” There are moments in the darkness of the night,
    where I can still smell that Blue Water cologne he used to wear. Where I can
    still see the stars he kissed me beneath. Where I can still feel all the hands
    I let touch me, hoping to recreate the feeling of his skin against mine. Where
    the deepest scar of all seems to just be a gaping emptiness that I cannot seem
    to fill.

    Reply
    • Elise Martel

      The void of lost love is an abysmal loss that sometimes never seems to fill. You captured the heartache and the soulache well.

      Reply
    • Sandra

      Beautifully written.

      Reply
    • Carles

      Wonderful text Bethany. I love the way you dive, step by step, into the memory and also the way you unfold the history backwards, as if it were. Congratulations.

      Reply
  51. Dakotah

    She hurt me, really bad. Her words always cut into me,
    giving more of a reason to cover up the cuts. She was my best friend in the
    beginning. We talked for hours on end about anything. But when she started
    drifting away I didn’t know what to do. She wouldn’t listen to me; she would
    act like I was below everyone. I though we were equals but now she’s all I can
    think about. I act like I am ok, but inside I’ll never be. I know ill never be.
    Why would I? She scarred me unlike nobody else. Bruised my heart and ripped up
    my soul. She broke my heart and fro the first time I didn’t want to live. But I
    did, even though it hurt like hell I did. Because I knew that she wouldn’t care
    if I left. So I had to stay and make her understand, though I knew she never
    would- I tried as hard as I could. I really tried. And now every time I think
    of her it hurts a little. Even though that happened so long ago, I feel like she’s
    cutting me again. She drifted so far away I wondered if it was because I was
    moving, or she was. It made me wonder if we were drifting because she was
    moving, and I was standing still. But I still tried to move on. Get new
    friends, ones that cared about me. I talked to her once, about this other girl
    that she was friends with. I didn’t like the girl, but she did. I told her she would have to pick, be on her
    side- or be even, stand up for what’s right when needed and say nothing other
    times. She couldn’t pick. She said she wasn’t choosing between two friends. But
    that’s what people say when they don’t want to tell you they didn’t pick you. That’s
    what they say to spare your feelings. But she didn’t spare my feelings. She hurt
    them. And I realized she had a different pair of rules for the other one. She was
    better friends with her, even though the other girl wasn’t really her friend. Even
    though the other girl was mean and wasn’t dedicated like I was. Even though the
    other girl had her self in mind. She still picked the other one. Because she
    cared about quantity, not quality. She cares about nothing but her self. The other girl was someone who no person in their
    right mind would be friends with, she had no filter, no feelings, no empathy. She
    was a stone medusa, a crater in human intelligence. She was someone who wasn’t like
    me. She wasn’t someone who was a friend. But she won, why? I don’t know. It hurts
    me so much I can hardly breathe sometimes. That was the first time I was
    heartbroken. But I know it’s not my last. And that’s why I write. Because it
    relives the pain better than aspirin can, better than screaming at the top of
    your lungs, better that just doing nothing. It helps you cope. It helps you not
    become the monster you despise. That’s why I write.

    Reply
  52. Sara Zavorka

    You’re just another dream,
    Just another love story gone to waste,
    Just another poem to go
    In my collection of what-could-have-been fate.
    You could have been my guy,
    But now you’ve made me cry.
    You could have been the one,
    But, unfortunately, we’re done.
    I had liked you from a far,
    Not my fault you stole my heart,
    Then we hung out more and more,
    But now, my heart is sore.
    I was happy around you,
    I didn’t know I could feel like this too,
    But, as all sad endings express,
    It turned out too good to be true.
    I give up! I quit!
    There’s just no use anymore.
    Because of you, now we’re through,
    And Love and I are now in war.
    You made me happy,
    I thought a fairy-tale ending could happen to me,
    Or at least, a happy ending,
    But not even that seems allowed for me.
    I spill my heart out on these poems,
    Or, at least, what little still remains,
    I might as well anyway.
    There’s not a guy that would take my heart and all its pain.
    So here I am, shedding my tears,
    Wasting away over you,
    Who now is nothing but a memory,
    Another reason why love is what I fear.
    It hurts so much,
    It fails so often,
    Is being happy,
    Now a sin?
    I told myself you wouldn’t,
    I hoped that you would never be,
    A memory etched on paper,
    Just another piece of poetry.

    (Most of my scars come out in writing poems. I have over 300, most inspired by scars…yes, typically my hopeless romantic failings).

    Reply
  53. Elise Martel

    Heal the wound but leave a scar…
    Words. Beautiful words. Harsh words. Careless words.
    I was just telling her something in passing. We bounced along in a school bus on our way to a concert. I was giddy, excited. I felt pretty, confident. Everything a teen girl should feel.
    I was explaining how I had to wait at work for an hour for my mom to pick me up because they let me out early. I wasn’t allowed to walk home.
    What?! She looked at me like I was some freakish harpy. Your parents wouldn’t let you walk home?
    No, I said. They wanted to protect me. To keep me safe. So I waited. It was ok.

    I shrug and think that she’ll move on. Probably some rapturous statement about this really cute guy who looked at her in the cafeteria.
    She decided to keep pressing me. But they wouldn’t let you walk home alone?

    I hugged myself with my arms. I could feel the heat rising in my face. She started motioning to kids in the aisle, repeating the whole thing. About how my parents were nut jobs.
    They just want to keep me safe, I said. They don’t want some strange guy trying to pick me up.
    No offense, she said. And don’t take this the wrong way. But you just aren’t the kind of girl that a guy would want to pick up. I mean, you just don’t have the body type.

    She gestured to her chest meaningfully and then smiled a self-satisfied smile. I mean really, she said. No offense, but you aren’t most guys’ type. You’d be fine walking home alone.
    I chattered in a frenzy, laughing about stupid jokes about how she nearly blew up the school in chemistry class when this guy looked at her. I felt very unlike myself. Out of control. Hyperactive.
    I didn’t know then that I was bleeding. Bleeding all over the bus seat, oozing warm coppery red all over her designer heels and Coach clutch.

    No offense, huh? How else was I supposed to take it? Just shrug it off?
    She spoke carelessly. She didn’t know.
    I kept it deep inside. Whenever I wondered why I was still alone, that wound would fester and reopen again. Another blood bath.
    I hated how I looked. Boyish figure, too tall, too long, too plain. No guy would ever want me. Not even a jerk trying to pick me up off the street.
    Daddy took me to work with him one day. I hung out at the office and studied, ironically, chemistry. He told me that one of his coworkers thought I was really pretty; that she wished she was as pretty as me.

    As pretty as me. My confidence soared a little, and I told him, laughingly, that bus story. He was aghast and angry. I didn’t realize until I said it how much it hurt. Still.
    Did I need a successful career woman’s opinion to feel beautiful? No. Did I need a flippant teen’s affirmation to feel beautiful? No.
    I just needed me. To know that I am beautiful inside. That the heart is what matters.
    There is a little scar beside the part of my heart that thinks about my body. It is not opening any time soon. I keep it to remind me of who I am. If I lose sight of who I am, I will bleed again, scab again, scar again.
    The scar remains. I hold it there by telling myself that it doesn’t matter what they think. What matters is what I think. I can’t please everyone, so I might as well just be myself.

    Reply
    • hb5675

      that was really touching to read. thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  54. Steph

    Scars are, to me, reassurance that this is as real as
    it gets, that not everything in life can just be handed over on a silver
    platter. Scars are a reminder that I made it through an impediment. They remind
    me that life can get incredibly daunting, but those scars remind me that I made
    it through an obstacle once and I sure as hell can do it again.
    So even though I was taunted in my early years, made fun of, and disliked by many, and even shunned, even though I was physically and mentally wounded, I still lived through it. I am thankful for these scars because not everyone can be perfect and without those enduring scars, I would have never learned to become as strong of a person as I am today.
    Though I was imprisoned by their impudently rude words for a period of time, the bullying taught me an effective lesson. I bottled the emotions I felt when I went to school each day and though I was too young at that time to know much of the situation, as I grew older I realized that I am content with my imperfections. The reason for this
    is because I don’t want to be more of the grey in this dark tinted world; everything
    already seems so black and white. I want to be different. I am ease knowing
    that I can shine through this darkness just by being me, just by being
    different.

    Reply
  55. Steph

    Scars are, to me, reassurance that this is as real as
    it gets, that not everything in life can just be handed over on a silver
    platter. Scars are a reminder that I made it through an impediment. They remind
    me that life can get incredibly daunting, but those scars remind me that I made
    it through an obstacle once and I sure as hell can do it again.
    So even though I was taunted in my early years, made fun of, and disliked by many, and even shunned, even though I was physically and mentally wounded, I still lived through it. I am thankful for these scars because not everyone can be perfect and without those enduring scars, I would have never learned to become as strong of a person as I am today.
    Though I was imprisoned by their impudently rude words for a period of time, the bullying taught me an effective lesson. I bottled the emotions I felt when I went to school each day and though I was too young at that time to know much of the situation, as I grew older I realized that I am content with my imperfections. The reason for this
    is because I don’t want to be more of the grey in this dark tinted world; everything
    already seems so black and white. I want to be different. I am ease knowing
    that I can shine through this darkness just by being me, just by being
    different.

    Reply
  56. Steph

    Scars are, to me, reassurance that this is as real as
    it gets, that not everything in life can just be handed over on a silver
    platter. Scars are a reminder that I made it through an impediment. They remind
    me that life can get incredibly daunting, but those scars remind me that I made
    it through an obstacle once and I sure as hell can do it again.
    So even though I was taunted in my early years, made fun of, and disliked by many, and even shunned, even though I was physically and mentally wounded, I still lived through it.
    I am thankful for these scars because not everyone can be perfect and without
    those enduring scars, I would have never learned to become as strong of a person
    as I am today.
    Though I was imprisoned by their impudently rude words for a period of time, the bullying taught me an effective lesson. I bottled the emotions I felt when I went to school each day and though I was too young at that time to know much of the situation, as I grew older I realized that I am content with my imperfections.
    The reason for this is because I don’t want to be more of the grey in this dark tinted world; everything already seems so black and white. I want to be different. I am ease knowing that I can shine through this darkness just by being me, just by being
    different.

    Reply
    • Elise Martel

      Black and white. Who wants to be an indecisive shade of grey when there are so many more beautiful colors out there?
      It’s great that you acknowledge your scars and are even thankful for them. That shows that they did wound you, but you allowed the wounds to heal. The scarred can often be the most beautiful. They are the ones who were hurt but healed, broken but mended, and shunned but still willing to stand out.

      Reply
  57. Emily

    I’m about to spill it but only to this site. I hate that person. Back in middle school, I was blinded by my puppy love for him. I always stole my parent’s money and bought him what he liked. I was being naive back then, I didn’t know it then. All I wanted to do was satisfy and get him want he wanted. I didn’t know that he was using me that time.

    It still hurts to talk about this because their are tears in my eyes right now. Maybe, if I never involve myself with such a person I wouldn’t have been writing this now, I wouldn’t be feeling this pain as I was writing this. It freaking hurts to be crying from a jerk that stabbed you right in your chest a million times. It’s hard to face them, it hard to forgive them because I’ve never done any of those.

    All I ever did was just stand there, let it happen to me. I have this image of my fake happy self being soulless. Nothing in life matters because of this unnecessary baggage that I carry. I hate this mask that I put up everyday in life. A happy and cheery person that actually needs a person to be there for them. A person that always opens her mouth without thinking about what’s she saying. And then from that, I end up hurting them, people that are close to me.

    I remember something that a friend told me. I remember it clearly. I was in the auditorium of my middle school. The person was a friend of mine. I don’t remember what I said but I remember his facial expression.

    It was that of pain and sadness and I didn’t know what I did wrong and then he said, “Emily, you really know how to make people sad.”

    I think from that point on or somewhere along the points of my life. That I was scared of other’s. Scare that I might hurt them. Scare that everything in life is going to be in ruins. Scared that the me wouldn’t find herself one day in life and I will regret living.

    I will stop writing now. I realize that these scars of mine or always so deep. I just realize that now.

    These scars, I don’t think they’re ever going to heal because I never gave my life a chance.

    Reply
    • Danny

      Just give it some time. It’s hard when you’re still young; every problem looks gigantic and you can’t imagine how things will ever get better. But they do. It takes time, but things WILL get better for you.

      Reply
  58. Sandra

    She yelled at me. She was mad. She has been mad before. But I knew this was different. When she saw I was barely passing my classes this was a lot different. I knew life would be different now. Her hatred for me hot hot hot. I was so weak from it. Already so weak. How could I take all the nights. Yelling yelling yelling. It owuld go on for so long. I tried always to pretend i was sleeping, but she’d come in anyway. She screamed screamed screamed. Now I am still just numb from it. I survived it. I am no longer in that house, years ago, but there in my head somewhere she still lurks. And when I come to visit her house, and her voice raises in pitch just a little I feel my body tense up, my heart constrict, every part of me wanting to bolt away as my own death always iminent, perhaps always even welcomed, to end it. Does it ever end? Screaming screaming screaming.

    One day I had tried to end it, I called a friend told them. I did regret it afterwards. And she handed the phone to her mom, I asked that she please take me, that I couldn’t tell my mom. But she insisted. She told my mom. I told her. I don’t remember. I remember shaking, her asking how I could do this to her, with everything she is going through at this time. Her fist is shaking at me and she said that phrase, familiar, Sometimes I could just beat you. I spoke out that she should just do it. Beat me, I say defiantly, like you always wanted. It’s okay. She lowered her fist and went away.

    And soon after we went to the hospital. I lived. And life went on as normal. Became uneventful, as I became a teen I realized I could avoid her for long periods of time. She didn’t care or notice and I was safer too. This is my relationship with my mother. I survided is all I can say. And when I was a teen and went to friends houses and they had mothers they joked with like it was nothing. I wondered how that could be possible. How could mothers love their daughters and daughters trust their mothers just like that? The ease that some people have in their relationships with others is something I have spent a good part of a lifetime attaining for.

    Reply
  59. Rachelwalker1109

    January 2013 I found out I was pregnant. Doctors and I decided almost immediately that it would be best for me to have a C-Section because I was “anatomically juvenile”. (Meaning my body would probably not be able to handle child birth) So it was set. I went through senior year being pregnant, getting dirty looks and being supported by my parents and Austin (the baby’s father). September 17th 2013 came before I knew it. I wasn’t supposed to have my son that day. I went to one of my final doctors appointments, 10 days before my scheduled C-Section. My doctor asked me several questions and directed my to go to the hospital immediately. At 4:30 that afternoon I had my son. Tucker Cowan. 7 lbs 3 oz. I truly fell in love for the first time. You never really know what love is until you have a child. Before I was pregnant I was self conscious about my body. I was still in high school which means what you look like is very important. But when I looked down at my stomach after I had my son I didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care that I had a scar and stitches that stretched across my stomach. I didn’t care that if I decide to wear bathing suits from then on that you could probably tell that I have a child. My body survived a hard 38 week journey, a major surgery, and brought another life into this world.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Delightful.
      The scars of a woman.
      The scar of a life given.
      The miracle of life.
      The realisation of a deeper meaning: being given a life to give life.
      Thanks for sharing this wonderful, full bellied, deep meaningful scarring life changing experience.
      Dawn

      Reply
    • emily

      I love it, especially how you describe your unconditional love for your son!

      Reply
  60. James Alfred

    Let’s see, if I am getting better or worst.

    The scar that I still live today. I was once married to a great lady. A lady that I let down, so many times. No I never hurt her or called her bad names. She just liked to drink… a lot. I could and should have helped her in some way. But I didn’t, I should have at less talked to her about it. She loved going out and partying it up. I just wanted to stay at home. We were both young. We were almost on your fifth year when she came up to me and said that she wanted out of this marriage. I told her whatever makes you happy. I just let her walk away. I still think about that day all the time.

    She never wanted kids, I did and so letting her walk away was very easy but deep out I loved that woman like no other. My life has been a rough road. The lost of my father and going from one girlfriend to the next. Never being happy with any of them. Because I was still in love with my ex-wife.

    There were days that I wanted to go back in time and redo anything that could of helped the marriage. But now if I would have then my son would have not of came in my life. He is where my love goes now. He is all I care about these days. Loving my ex-wife the way I did still makes things rough for me. I have not asked my son’s mother to marry me yet because when my wife left it had ripped my life apart. I keep a tight watch over my heart now thanks to her.

    I know that someday I will be able to let my guard down and move on. Until then I do right by my son and love him like there’s no tomorrow.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  61. Lady Diana

    As I wake from my deep sleep groggy and unaware that it was drug induced by the doctors trying desperately to save my life that had momentarily
    slipped from my grasp. I open my eyes to find flowers everywhere like a makeshift funeral that had taken over my hospital room. The nurse wipes my eyes and I cry knowing that I cannot not feel my legs, nothing, everything is numb. I cry but I am not sure why I just hurt, my head is bandaged, my neck is broken and my arm is missing. Why, where is my friends, why was I the only survivor

    Reply
  62. The Neutral Human

    I hate it when people know this stuff about me, so into anonymous mode I go, because I think it might help some people.

    My step-brother had schizophrenia.

    I didn’t know this for much of my life. I was too young when he died– both ten years old when he was found, chain around his neck and unseeing in his room. We will never know if he did it on purpose, or if he accidentally brought his habit of hurting himself when he was angry too far.

    The pain of losing him was unbearable, maybe more so because I was so young that you still feel invincible, but old enough that you remember every flaw. He wasn’t *just* my step-brother; having been next-door neighbours for years prior to my mother remarrying his father, he was also my first friend, my best friend.

    I don’t really have the mental capabilities to explain this without an example, so to anyone who has watched The Fault In Our Stars, I’ve used my experience of it to help:

    There was a pain of sitting there, of wanting to help that girl because you understand her pain so well, even though it was only in a movie. You can’t tell her it will be okay, because it won’t. But you can tell her that maybe that’s a good thing—that person that they lost, they deserve to be missed. It would, I think, be a greater loss to lose this pain than to lose the person themselves; it would be as if I had not only lost them in my life, but their meaning in my life.

    As I sat there, I wanted to tell someone this, anyone this. I wanted to cry, because I remembered crying and feeling and hurting and trying to forget and not wanting to forget all at once. I wonder if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to have someone else so fully understand your pain. It’s such a comfort to know you are not alone in feeling this way, but then to wish this pain on someone else simply to share it is not something I would do.

    So as I stood in the bathroom after the movies, filled with the pain of understanding, I heard someone say, “It was so sad. But a good kind of sad, you know?”

    I rejected that immediately. The pain of a loss that large in your life, the loss that leaves a hole that is always there no matter how hard you try to ignore it and how long you spend layering over it, is never a good kind of sad. However, following that was a bittersweet thought: I was glad she doesn’t feel this pain like I do. I was glad that she could feel this as a good kind of sad and not see herself when she saw Hazel curled up on the bed, sobbing and shaking her head and saying It’s not fair. In spite of how alone I felt in that moment, not wanting to burden others with pain that is mine and mine alone to feel, I was so glad that so few others needed to share it.

    I was already an Atheist when he died, which makes things so much harder, knowing (or at least believing) that they are gone forever and that you can never, ever see them again is traumatizing. Despite his flaws (and I won’t pretend the dead don’t have them. Screw that, he had as many faults as the next person, perhaps more), he really was amazing. He was goofy to the point of insanity, and had a strange habit of trying things he really shouldn’t just for the fun of it. That… didn’t always end well, but were quite amusing. I still miss him so much, and it scares me how little I actually remember about him, five years later. How am I supposed to hold on to the memory of him for my entire life when five is enough to fog all but the most extravagant of times. I am terrified that if I lose the memory of him, it will be like losing him all over again and I can’t bear the thought of that. I won’t let his life lose meaning in my own– he was such a large part of it that there is no way I can let that happen.

    A word of advice to anybody who loses someone close to them– don’t you try to hold those tears back. I hate it when people see me cry, or see me upset, and so I learned, after going back to school, to hold all my emotions back behind a large wall. While this worked well to keep myself from bawling every time some idiot asked me *how* he had died (the teacher told them *what* had happened to me but neglected to inform them that eliciting the memory is in fact painful), it also blocked any emotion or expression of any kind.

    So, five years later I am depressed, cynical, hate the Canadian healthcare system (and, well, humanity and society in general), and have social dysphoria because I cannot express myself anymore. Fun times. I’m lucky compared to a lot of people; I know that. At least I have food, a roof over my head, two loving, involved parents, and a small, closely knit group of friends that would accept me if I came out as an alien. There is so much more that I could lose, but that does not make me any less bitter about what I already have.

    So far I’ve managed to not self-harm myself out of desperation to feel something 🙂 Even if emotional wall-breaches are rare, I am becoming more comfortable with my inexpressive self. I am learning to artificially express what I feel inside so that I do not have to rely on the non-existent pathway that leads from my heart to my head to my body. I am recovering from depression. I may yet be ‘okay’ in time, and that word will stop being a lie that I live and breathe so that others won’t have to worry about me. It isn’t their fault I’m a mess.

    So, if anyone read all this, thank you… I know it sounds whiny and probably ungrateful, and for that I am sorry.

    Reply
  63. ApathyKiss

    I have always found the scars that mean the most are the ones that have the greatest impact on your life when they are being made.

    My greatest and largest scar is there by design, not by disaster. I have been intrigued by the body modification community ever since my childhood, tracing my dad’s tattoos on his arms and dreaming about what I would get when I was allowed to be tattooed.

    Over 20 years and 10 tattoos later, I have the artwork on my skin to begin telling my life story.

    However, the most meaningful one for me is my scarification. I have had a desire for a scarification for years, fascinated by the styles, the art, the beauty and the pain that comes from such a controversial piece of body modification. My mother was completely against it, and for the first time in my life, I openly defied her wishes and made the appointment.

    When your body is going through a lot of pain, your mind gets the signal and reacts. It send endorphin’s through out your body, telling everyone to chill out. “Ok, guys. Relax. I know it hurts, but here is something to help you deal.” The mix of that with the adrenaline already pumping through your blood can cause a heady cocktail and no matter how much that tattoo hurts, your body can pull you into a zen state so surreal that it feels like the ink being pushed under your skin must have some kind of narcotic in it. I have reached that state a few times with my tattoos, but I was looking forward to what would happen with my scar.

    The artist I went to was one of the most highly respected scarification artists in the world and has helped develop the technique for skin removal scarification that has been widely used in the bod mod community. Go big or go home, right?

    The build up was insane. My stomach tied in knots for weeks as I waited for the day that I would be cut open. When it finally came, and I was laid down on the sterile table with my skirt pulled up revealing my bare thigh as a blank canvas, I was trembling. My body shook with fear, excitement, anticipation and a delirious desire to savor this experience for all it was worth. The first cut of the scalpel pulled through my skin slowly and with a precision that I would have never been able to master. This artist was amazing in a way some artists wish they could even mimic.

    After the first line was drawn on my skin, I let my breath out from my lungs when I realized I stopped breathing. He pulled back from my leg and asked if I was ok. I guess a lot of people jump ship after the first cut or two, but I was determined and it didn’t hurt all that much. After he was confident I was in it for the long haul, he cut again. The second cut was obscenely more painful. Sucking in a breath through my clenched teeth, each slice through my flesh hurt worse and worse until my entire body was pulled taut as a rubber band about to smack your enemy in the back of their head. The pain rushed through me and it was strong, clenching my belly and making sweat bead on my forehead. But I kept taking it, and telling myself to take it. “Don’t punk out now. You can do this!”

    Now the first pass of the outline was complete, the artist stepped back and admired the lines. I didn’t want to look until it was done. I wanted to see the final product, the art in it’s first stage of completion. And I was still looking for those damn endorphin’s to take away this knot in my stomach. Maybe there was traffic? My artist explained that he was going to rub a blood clotting agent on my skin, to assist with the bleeding and to numb the site. Wait. What? Numbing? Only babies and prissy teenage girls need to be numb for these things. I’m a girl, but I can take it like a man! I swear! But he just smiled and told me I will be better off with the ointment. Truly, I am the one person that complains that my body isn’t going through enough pain.

    When the ointment was rubbed on, which gave me one last bite of pain as it stung like lemon juice to my open wound, I settled back as I felt the dull ache in my leg subside. Of course, now would be the time for the endorphin rush to come bubbling to the surface of my consciousness. As I lay there on my back, trying not to fall asleep and staring at a poster of a baby penguin on the ceiling, I let the zen of the pain police in my blood take over.

    Stepping out of the tattoo shop, my leg throbbing and wrapped in plastic wrap, preparing for the long drive home, I felt like a god damn warrior. And my badge of honor has only just started to form. The real work of the scarification forming is up to me now.

    Reply
  64. Debra johnson

    Mia, I feel your pain, because i carry the same scars. Two more then you in fact. There was no excuse, I was stupid and selfish,but chose to think of only me. It i had known then I wouldn’t be a good mom I would have not had the three that I have now. For they deserve better. But as you what I have been through make me sensitive to what others may have been through and are now unable to make it or don’t know how.

    It does hurt, but you are right God can heal a broken vessel and even make it more beautiful than before… We serve an Awesome God. Sometimes it takes a post to remember that. Thank you.

    Reply
  65. Demi

    ` `

    Reply
  66. kimberly burks

    a brave girl tries to climb ahead while her life is stuck between the love of her mother and the love of her foster parents.
    A small child is molested by her father, who is an addict of alcohol and drug and The mother, who is in denial, suffers strongly through abuse and alcoholism is ignores her daughter’s cry for help. After several clues of how severe this situation is with this child, the state steps in due to the leak of an unknown person, who is indeed concerned about the welfare of the child, yet tries to limit her identity.
    As time progresses, the child grows older, and she continues to be molested by the father, who by this time is one step closer to destruction. It continues until a worker from Children’s Development Services steps in the home and witnesses the abuse to the child with her own eyes. The child is removed, placed in a foster home and the father is arrested, but later on, commits suicide in prison.
    It is 1998, the child is eleven years old and lives with the foster parents, who are a great addition to her life, but when the biological mother intervenes, the foster parents must fight hard to keep the one who they hold so dear.

    Reply
  67. Mara Blythe

    I’m still very young, and haven’t had much time to get scars that are very meaningful. But I have a few, though they may (or probably will) become trivial to me by the time I’m a grown-up. I remember in seventh grade, not all that long ago, when I heard a classmate saying bad things about another girl, accusing her of joining the Westboro Baptist Church (never mind that all three of us have lived in northern Canada our whole lives) just because she’s very devoted to her religion and never mentioned not being homophobic or antisemitic or any other things that WBC is famous for being (even though when those two last talked they were 11 and wouldn’t have had any reason to mention those things). That other girl, the one they were talking about, had just left the school because her dad got a job in Quebec and they had moved away, but she was very much like a sister to me and had been since fourth grade.
    By the time gym class rolled around, I had heard those rumours in several places around the school, and I had resolved to tell my friend about it and ask them to stop. Before I could, though, the person who started the rumours pulled me aside and made me promise not to tell any teachers or anyone outside the school. I wanted to say no, but I have a bit of a problem on that front: I’ve never been able to simply tell someone ‘no’. It’s been firmly in my head for years that I can’t argue because I can never win, so I would always just agree until very recently.
    So I went home, didn’t tell my parents a thing, and shut up in my room at five without doing my homework, eating dinner or going through any of my other routines. Two days later, I had played through the promise in my head what seemed like a hundred times when I finally had it: I had promised not to email Ann (my friend who moved away), but I still had her Skype account even if I didn’t know her new phone.
    So I called her, explained everything, and by the time I was done I was crying and her parents were there too. We all had a long talk, and Ann said she understood and she forgave me for not saying anything sooner. Ultimately we decided not to do anything about it, but I still feel so cowardly for not speaking up before the rumours spread. I know Ann’s still my best friend, even if the rest of the school thinks of her as the girl who goes off and spreads hatred, but I feel like I could have done something and I didn’t. Sticks and stones may break my bones… But words are what I remember.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing this, Mara. The ending was perfect, “Sticks and stones may break my bones… But words are what I remember.”

      Reply
  68. Alyssa Phillips

    When I was 7 my mom left my dad and took us with her. One night I laid awake in my bed and began to cry. It had hit me that my dad wouldn’t be coming to my birthday parties anymore. My mom heard and asked what was wrong. I told her and she got mad. She yelled at me to stop and go to sleep. I wept silently till I fell asleep.

    From then on, any pain I felt was dealt with on my own. That was the first real scar I ever recieved and it altered me forever.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing this, Alyssa. May you find forgiveness for the wounds and healing for the scars.

      Reply
    • Anne Peterson

      Alyssa,
      Just because your mom couldn’t let you hurt before her doesn’t mean there aren’t others who would let you heal and be part of it. I’m sorry for your pain and I hope as each year goes by that you heal a little more.

      Reply
  69. Alyssa Phillips

    I often count my scars and run a finger over them to see if they still sting and other times I try to reopen the scar and see if I can find a way to fully heal it. So far the answer to the first is yes, and to the second is no not fully. I’ll accept partcially though.

    Reply
  70. Dawn Atkin

    No. 4 North Road had been emptied of everything except some basic bedding and four vinyl suitcases.

    Beneath the white chipped stairwell my brother and sister and I stood in a row as the families from our part of the street came in to say goodbye.

    The Laughlins, the Carters, the Noonans, the Smiths, the Wolstenholmes, the Hills, the Knowles’. Thirty children and their parents, kissed, hugged and cried their farewells.

    I was only 9 years old. I didn’t understand the depth of ‘goodbye forever’.

    At the airport terminal beneath the big ‘Departures’ sign we stood in a row as our family came close to say goodbye.

    Our cousins, our aunties, our uncles, our grandparents. Thirty blood relatives, kissed, hugged and cried their farewells.

    I was only 9 years old. I didn’t know why Nanna cried and cried and cried.

    I clutched my cream vanity case close to my chest. I creased my new blouse that was only for best. I bit my lip and I squeezed closed my eyes. I clenched my buttocks and tensed my thighs. I watched my mother sob and my father dab his watery eyes.

    I was only 9 years old. I didn’t know why Mum kept squeezing my shoulders and telling me “Everything is going to be alright. Please be brave, try not to cry.”

    We boarded a plane and flew high in the sky. Land and ocean and clouds passed us by. I still didn’t cry.

    We landed 36 hours away in a country so different from where I used to play. A house down the bottom of a muddy drive, no bath, a strange concrete shower. The beach at the end of the road where the ocean roared and at night seemed louder. No car, no bus, no trains nearby. No neighbours we knew. No friends dropping by.

    New school. New teachers. New shops. New names to learn. My socks were too white. My dresses to bright.

    Strange words. Strange games. Strange words to pronounce.

    At school I had to read to the class. I struggled with the Maori words. All the kids laughed.

    And I ran and I cried. And I ran and I cried. And I ran and I ran and I ran and I cried. And I hid.

    I hid in a bush near a park near our new house until it was dark. I was lost. Alone. Scared.

    I heard voices. People calling my name. My mother was calling and crying again. And then I saw her standing near a dim street light. So I called out to her through the darkness of night.
    “Mum, Mum. I’m not brave. It’s not alright. Mum, Mum.”
    She found me. She hold me. And in the softness of night the strange ocean roared loud and together we cried.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      This is powerful, powerful prose, Dawn.

      Reply
    • Ed Pena

      Very well written. Evocative.

      Reply
    • Sandra D

      This was moving to me, very sad. And you make use of every word you used, and that made the writing strong.

      Reply
  71. Anonymous

    As the musicians sang songs of hope and peace, I knelt down on the floor and let the tears stream down my face. A girl stared over at me as I my fragile body writhed with sobs, but I didn’t care. All those emotions had been pent up too long; they now ran free like a river. In that moment of brokenness, I was healed of a wound I hadn’t even known I had. I admitted for the first time that I loved that man, but my love for him was more beautiful than ever. It became a love that wanted what was best for him, not me. I cared more about who he was than what he had to give me. I didn’t care if I ever saw him again, I just wanted him to feel that peace I felt in my heart that night. The scar was beautiful, just like the tears streaming down my face.

    Reply
    • Ed Pena

      beautifully written

      Reply
  72. Anne Peterson

    It was a scar of disobedience. Or at least some might have seen it that way. But let me tell my side of the story before you become one of them.

    She had been sick so my dad was working a second shift. I was the unlucky one to work with him. He had complained for the few hours I was there and all I could think about was getting rid of my waitress uniform and hitting our living room couch.

    Bagging up some burgers and fries for hungry mouths at home I soon grabbed my jacket and headed out on that November night.

    I did love the fact it was just a few blocks I had to walk.

    As I walked in the back door of our bungalow Mom called out, “How was your dad?”

    “He was okay, just crabby.”

    And as quickly as the hands took the hamburgers, my siblings disappeared to devour them.

    So there I was, me and my living room couch. No it wasn’t where a teenager would want to be on a Saturday night, but I didn’t care.

    I wasn’t even going to change into my nightgown. And forget about church tomorrow. I made up my mind that wasn’t going to happen.

    I had just drifted off to sleep, or almost, when my eighteen year old brother walked by.

    “Mom called you,” he said with his authoritarian tone.

    “No she didn’t,” I argued. It was a game we often played. But I was not in the mood.

    I decided he was lying.

    And then I drifted off to real sleep. Sleep that would be interrupted not once, but two times. By whom? None other than my father, asking where Mom was.

    “She’s in the bedroom,” I snapped.

    And when he returned to tell me she wasn’t, I snapped again, “ Then she’s in the bathroom.”

    I had no idea why he didn’t just look for himself. No idea at all.

    And even less that our whole lives would change from that night. For the next morning we watched the paramedics strap her to a gurney and wheel her out of our house. And two days later we saw poll bearers carry her out of our lives.

    One month later, in a conversation at lunch my brother Gus said to our dad. “Dad, do you remember the night Mom was sick? Did you know she called Anne and Anne didn’t go?”

    His words cut right through me. I thought I could never feel worse, but I was wrong.

    With steel cold eyes my father pointed his finger at me and through clenched teeth he seethed, “It’s your fault your mother’s dead.”

    “Disobedient”, might be a label he would have used.

    I’m sure I have called myself many names since that night I’ll never forget.

    But one thing that did help me is knowing even if I had gone to her, maybe things would still have worked out as they did. A sixteen year old girl losing her mother.

    Some scars never heal, they just become permanent markers of the pain they represent.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Ouch. A deep scar to carry.
      Thanks for sharing.
      This ‘scar’ could be a fantastic thread in creative fiction. So much to explore.
      Thanks Again
      Dawn

      Reply
      • Anne Peterson

        Thanks for responding Dawn. I did put some of this in a book I just launched a couple of months ago. Thanks again for reading. The pain of this is SO much less than when it happened many years ago. God is the ultimate healer. And he gave me the opportunity to forgive my dad on his deathbed.

        Reply
  73. Anonymous

    My grandfather was a good man. He’d been married to my grandmother for over fifty years. Since I was young, he’d struggled with a stroke and heart problems. He’d smoked for decades. One day he contracted lung cancer.

    The next few months were spent at hospitals. He had surgery and the cancer was removed. But he came down with pneumonia. I remember standing in the bathroom stall of the specialist hospital sobbing to my friend on the phone, “I don’t know if he’s going to make it.”

    Weeks went by, and he was able to go home because he was stable enough. It hadn’t been two days when he was back in the hospital.

    From the time he was admitted to the hospital with lung cancer, to going to the specialist hospital, it was all a blur of raised and dashed hopes, up and down, over and over.

    One morning I woke up and my dad came in.

    He sat down on my bed and said, “Grandpa died last night.”

    That was when my world shattered. I had never seen my dad get choked up before, but now he did, and he said, “I loved Grandpa.”

    We went to be with family and console each other. It was the first time I lost someone close to me.

    That was three years ago. And my heart still aches that he’s gone. My dad is still himself, but my grandfather’s death still grieves him.

    My grandfather was a Christian, and that is the only thing that consoles us and brings us peace now. I know that one day I will see him again.

    “And there will be no more death, or pain, or crying, for the old order of things has passed away.” –Revelation 21:4

    Reply
  74. Claire

    A forced exile has left a scar that seems more palpable now in my adult life. I was nine when my parents left our island country to come to the United States. At the time, I considered it as an adventure not being able to realize how much of an impact it would have on me later on in life. Little did I know I would never see the family we were leaving behind.

    I recall my maternal grandmother hugging me so tight I couldn’t breathe; it would be the last hug I ever got from her. I recall waiting to board the plane at the airport. We were placed in a waiting area that separated us from our family by a thick glass—it was referred to as the “fish tank.” We were able to see each other through the glass, but no chance of having any more physical contact with our loved ones. I remember my godmother’s tear-filled eyes trying to convey composure and steadfastness, but unable to disguise the overall sadness that overwhelmed her. That was the last memory I have of her.

    One side of the coin reveals that I was deprived of growing up in my own country, but the other side says a different story, and the story is that of liberty and freedom of choices—something we would have never been able to attain if we had remained on the island.

    To this day, I remember some very powerful words that were imparted to me by a retired physician I met as a young woman and, to me, their meaning still holds true—the most devastating of tragedies always brings about the seeds of a brighter future…

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Hi Claire
      I shared a similar story below.
      Emigration, especially for children (it was the early 70’s for me) has very deep, penetrating impact. In the popular psychology of the current times it would be treated as a type of trauma. In those days my parents were busy struggling with their own impact and trying to keep everything afloat

      I believe my experience contributed toward my compassion for humanity, my love of social sciences, anthropology and cultural diversity – and non-judgment, acceptance and tolerance of difference. It also was a time when I began to write a lot. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
      • Claire

        Thanks for your comment, Dawn. I just read your post, and it is truly a powerful piece of writing. Very poignant and touching. It pulled at my heart strings. Thanks for your honest account.

        Reply
  75. Kari

    Hidden. Don’t let them know
    That you are scarred.
    Don’t let them
    see
    That they have hurt you.
    They can’t
    Ever know
    About these scars.
    They can’t know,
    When they left,
    That it hurt.
    Fragile trust
    Now broken shards.
    They cut so deep.
    The scar
    That hurts more
    Than the rest
    Whose pain
    That I know
    Very best.
    In pain
    I lashed out
    Throwing shards
    At the ones
    Who only
    Wanted
    To help
    Me pick up
    The pieces
    Of my broken
    Trust
    And stop
    The bleeding
    And
    I hurt them.
    Cut so deep
    The hands
    That only wanted to help.
    The ones nearest
    My heart
    Gone away
    And it’s my own fault.
    I cut my scars
    Deeper that day.

    Reply
  76. EndlessExposition

    This is a poem I wrote a few days ago that deals with the topic of scars indirectly. And just so y’all know, I’m a girl – certain lines are a little confusing without that context.

    I have not worn my father’s crucifix in a year.
    He gave it to me in a silver box on my first communion.
    My great grandfather gave it to him on his first communion
    And now I was to continue the tradition.
    I was to be Catholic and Irish and honor my father and mother,
    Though I don’t know how the crucifix symbolized all that
    When it was bought and paid for by my father’s grandfather
    Because his father was probably too drunk to care.
    And years later his mother would disown him for marrying a black woman
    And I unwittingly play the tragic mulatto, never knowing why my father had no parents.
    My father’s faith kept him strong while his family tree rotted,
    And for a long time I thought it would do the same for me.
    But kissing girls in the church basement is not allowed,
    Asking questions your Sunday school teacher cannot answer is not allowed,
    Making wrong choices is not allowed,
    And that chain around my neck felt very cold all of a sudden.
    I stopped going to church,
    I spent some time with my mother’s side of the family,
    And I have not worn my father’s crucifix in a year.

    Reply
  77. High Wire Girl

    Busy, The Circus Bear
    I creep down the stairs and walk right past Charlie. He’s leaning against the refrigerator with a carton of fruit punch in his hand. Zooted out again and staring into space, he doesn’t even realize that I’ve come in. I step through the partition that separates the front area from the rest of the basement.

    The door to the bathroom doesn’t shut all the way. It just wedges closed in the frame. Chuck ripped it off its hinges once during an argument. It’s been rehung, but not right. All the doors are like this. I usually jam a sock along the seam while I’m in here. He can still get at me, but at least I’ll have a minute to hide my shit.
    The cops gave me a phone number the last time Charlie was in jail. A place to call and get the locks changed before he got released.
    “You don’t understand,” I told the lady I spoke with. “The lock works fine. I need somebody to fix the door,” I told her. “It’s busted clean from the wall.”
    It was stupid to try and explain. She really couldn’t help me. I dropped the charges anyway. Charlie came back and made a few repairs. I cannot keep him out, even if I tried.

    I take off my coat and sit on the edge of the bathtub. I have a box of cheap Franzia and two tall boys in a blue plastic bag. Five single packages of Sudafed. Under the sink, there’s a little left in last night’s bottle, plus two smaller empties. I have to get rid of these. There’s no more room under here for all this garbage.

    I pour what’s left of the wine into a cup that I keep hidden with the rest of my equipment. I take a few big gulps. I wrap the spent bottles in toilet paper so they don’t clink together when I place them into the shopping bag. The sound of glass on the tile makes a slight “bong” that I try to avoid. I don’t want Charlie or anybody else to suspect that I drink this much. Everything I do is a secret.

    I crack open the seal of the bladder bag. Holding the box between my legs, I fill my cup to the top. I store the cardboard suitcase in the back of the cabinet and drape a rag over the front. It makes me feel good to have brand new things, even though this will be gone before the night is over. But it’s new right now, and that’s what counts.

    I pop twelve or so little red pills from their foil and swallow them. I take these around the clock when I am between speed and cocaine. I go to different drug stores to buy them. I stop at Duane Reade before work and Rite Aid at lunchtime. I do not measure my intake, but I always like to have enough, somewhere between 80 and 120 pills a day. They’re not expensive if you can find the generic kind. The red ones are the only ones I buy. All the others are crap. At least, these get me up and out – until I can cop.

    I rip open the corner of an envelope that I find in my backpack. I load a dozen tabs into it, grinding them up with the heel of my shoe. I fish around for a straw in the outside pocket of my bag. I snort the gravel off the lip of the sink. It makes my nose roar and bleed like a pig, but I need something.

    The bathroom is small. Rusty and I painted the whole thing dark blue, nearly black when he still lived here. Right over the tile and mirrors. I thought it would look sharp, like in a magazine. But we were drunk and it’s really just awful. It feels like I’m inside an eyeball. Portions are now peeling off in sheets. It looks like a bear is slashing its way out of a miserable tattoo. I turn the water on full blast and quietly pop open a beer. I press several fingers over the hole to disguise the ‘pfft’ noise.

    Charlie has no steady job. He works day labor – moving furniture, laying blacktop and demolition. He and his cousins steal and strip cars. He earns just enough to get high. PCP is his drug of choice, and it makes him crazy. He breaks the things I care about when he is dusted, and he’s dusted all the time.

    If Charlie has money, it goes toward his dope first. After that, he might get some groceries and only because he is hungry. A carton of eggs, cheese, a box of instant mashed potatoes. He prefers soft food because his teeth are loose. I hear him banging pots around in the kitchen. I smell margarine burning. I know I should eat something, but I have no appetite, really. And when I do, I eat too much. So I make myself throw up.

    I press all the pills through the foil, one after the other. I dump a handful more Sudafeds into my mouth and scoop the rest into my pants pocket. I systematically open all the decongestant boxes. I cram the remaining three sheets of reds into one box and slip them back into my knapsack. I fold three empty boxes into the fourth and drop them inside the shopping bag with the empty wine bottles. I like to be neat and organized.

    I pee and wash my face. I take some water up my nose. I cover the shopping bag with my coat and open the door.
    “I’m here, you know,” I mention to Charlie’s angry shoulders. He turns around in a daze.
    “That’s good,” he says. “I wish we had some bread.”
    “I’ll go,” I tell him.
    I’m already on my way outside. I head up the block to try and get what I need. I cross the street and drop my trash into the dumpster behind the Roy Rogers. I hear the bottles break, and I keep walking.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      I love your work.
      It’s such a clear glimpse in to the world of addiction, habit and the sneakiness and ritual that it’s wrapped up in.
      Some great imagery in here. The painted bathroom, painted when high, and really just another mess.
      Reading these sharings I can feel the grit, smell the sweat and taste the acrid reality of life, measured in packet to packet or bottle to bottle, day by day.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  78. Marcy Mason McKay

    The most painful scars on the ones that aren’t visible to the naked eye. The times I didn’t speak my truth when I wanted to. The people I let treat me in ways I didn’t want to be treated. Choices that changed me forever. Smiling on the outside, while bleeding on the inside.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Scars that carve the inside of my heart.
      Scars that burn my conscience.
      The unseen wounds that only I see.
      Have you started unwrapping these Marcy?
      It’s a deep process and sometimes writing creatively but tapping in to this depth of self helps shape magnificent, vulnerable and deep, identifiable characters.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Dawn

      Reply
  79. TheCody

    I ran through my scales, quietly in the back seat. “Do mi so mi do,” then up a half step. Lather, rinse, repeat. As I progressed, my voice grew louder. It wasn’t a routine part of the exercise. I gathered baby steps of confidence as I sang. I wanted to get loud enough where Mom heard. When I approached middle ‘C’ she said, “That sounds lovely.”

    I wasn’t fond of the word ‘lovely.’ It was used to describe grandma’s flowers or a new doily. But I held onto the word and relished it like Strawberry Quik. It would get me through practice tonight.

    Don’t get me wrong. I loved to sing, but by myself. In showers, while I cleaned the backyard. Mom forced me to join the church choir and it terrified me. I had nightmares of singing in every stage of undress: underwear, Speedo, thong, jock strap, panties. My chest hurt before every rehearsal.

    Mom pulled into the parking lot and stopped.

    “Call me when you’re done,” she said.

    “OK,” I said. Only I didn’t get out of the car. Each butt cheek was glued to the old vinyl seat.

    “Jacob?” she said.

    I pretended I’d zoned out.

    “Oh, sorry.” I threw the handle and stepped out of the car.

    The sun blinded me and I held up a hand to shield myself. Walking under the awning just in front of the church entrance, the sun vanished. I shivered and opened the door.

    A seashell holding a scoop of Holy Water was attached to the inside wall. I stuck my first fingers in it and stopped, letting invisible blessings wash over me. Placebo or not, I felt better. I’d been singing for years. I wanted to get better. This was the perfect opportunity. Besides, there were four other people in the choir so I had some protection.

    Taking the world’s largest breath, I heaved open the second door, leading from the foyer into the church.

    “He’s so terrible. I hope he doesn’t show up.”

    I froze, half my body inside the church. Tabitha saw me and jerked her head away as if she’d been looking at the altar all along.

    Someone slapped Tabitha’s leg. “Shhhh!”

    I was the only ‘he’ in the choir. The other four members were girls. Her words hit me like a Street Fighter Hadoken.

    My eyes sagged but I smiled; ignorance was my only defense. “Hey, what’s up?”

    “Not much,” said Tabitha, relaxing.

    After announcements were made, we started singing. Let me clarify: the girls started singing. I mouthed the words, that week, and for years to come.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Great story. It’s sad how the judgement that others make of us can imprint themselves in to our own sense of self for so many years.
      I hope this character is singing now…
      Thanks for sharing.
      Dawn

      Reply
    • Ed Pena

      Excellent ending that holds the promise of a much larger story.

      Reply
  80. john boy

    A beautiful day, the sky so clear and soft; strange a bolt should come from it. I paddled the canoe, the splish splash of the oars rippling the greenish brown water. I felt alone and so far from home. The other children paddled, secure in their groups, safe in the colour of their skin.
    I was the lone black child; noticed, branded, teased.
    “Hey black boy, what you doing?” called one voice.
    “You darkie” called another.
    Each word a scar, each child a scalpel, each cut a memory.
    Fresh as if the words were uttered today anew.
    If you look closely you can see the lessons, written in the same brown skin of my face.
    Scars etched, inside and out.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      A beautiful reflection on a scar etched deep.
      And sadly a weeping scar that etches the skin of modern society too much.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Dawn

      Reply
  81. Ed Pena

    He was a small boy, even for his age. Although he would grow to become a decent sized man for his height, he would never be a large man. An exuburance for life exploded from piercing eyes so dark one had to look closely to see the pupils. Like drops of warm chocolate in cream. He stood fierce and tall, squared shoulders, and fisted hands. Defiance cloaked him, though the fear in his bowels made him feel sick in his head.

    His father stood before him, large, thick arms and shoulders from a life of chopping wood and hoeing corn, hard, brutal hands, wild eyes. The fear came stronger now as the heavy belt was unbuckled. A lifetime later, the boy would understand this moment that defined father and son, an unstoppable force and an immovable object, a collision of wills that neither could afford to lose. A deep sadness and despair overtook him, welled up from a place so deep inside him, so fundamentally “Him”, loneliness consumed him, and a tear ran down his face. “No,” he whispered through baby teeth. “No!”

    His father’s face purpled in anger. “Stop crying.”

    Pressure built inside him, the urge to flee a liquid fire in his veins. Deliberate, his father grasped an arm, soft still with the fat of childhood, twisted his hips to raise the belt high above his head. Red, searing pain, the first blow landed. A cry of desolation echoed off kitchen walls. In studied succession, the hard lash fell. The curious noise it made as it cut through the air mesmerized his father who seemed lost in some alternate reality, as if listening to the wails of distant memories. In the corner, trembling hands pressed to her mouth, a young mother weeped.

    Suddenly, like a puppet who’s strings have been cut, the hand released him, the lash hung mute. He dropped to the floor, his body the scarlet flames of his father’s passion. Bitterly, then, the boy cried, while inside, a small heart broke as love died.

    Reply
    • Sandra D

      amazing job. I like all the little details you add like the “Like drops of warm chocolate in cream.” Also the sentence, “the boy would understand this moment that defined father and son, an unstoppable force and an immovable object, a collision of wills that neither could afford to lose.” Was also really good. I could see the clash of beings. The father wanted the boy a certain way and the boy was different from that.

      Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Nice work.
      Descriptive and tense, even painful.
      Great scar fodder for future work.

      This reflection would also be insightful written purely from the young boys perspective. Looking up, the towering angry man, what is going on the young boys head. From this POV it would be really overpowering, belittling and diminishing.

      Thanks for sharing.
      Dawn

      Reply
  82. Sandra D

    I was in 5th grade. Well maybe it was fourth grade. I cannot remember well. And I had I think exactly no friends. Actually there was this one girl who was always nice to me, but I thought she was too great to be my friend, so I didn’t count her. There was also Lori. I guess I had a couple friends. But it didn’t matter because I felt alone anyway. And I knew these were not best friends. I don’t think I had ever had a best friend before.

    I was close once. A girl named Lauren. She lived across the street from me and I played with her every day just about. But she wouldn’t say I was her best friend. She said some other girl I never knew was her best friend. And we didn’t play at school. I never saw her in school. We had a really really big school, living in LA and all. But if she would not say we were best friends we were not. I was someone to pass her time with because I was there. And in this fourth to fifth grade time I felt the pain of rejection in knowing no one had chosen me to be their number one friend. Like there was something unmistakeably wrong with me, it was written all over my face and body language. It said this package is an undesireable and you do not want to be seen with it and return it to sender immediately otherwise it will rub over you as well. This is dripping with sarcasm. And yet it was true.

    There were faults with me, and other kids sensed them. For one I had no self esteem. I like to blame my mother, but it probably gets old. I mean I am not sure if there is a ticket that allows a person to blame a parent for absolutely everything but.. Alas. Self esteem, it was my mother and also my father. They were smart people. People who went to esteemed colleges and got straight A’s. Though they were socially deficient. And they raised me, and now I am too. They say the sins of the father..

    But also I was a sad kid who was angry and hurt and needy. And so it turns out it is okay I had no best friends growing up, because I was full of all the wrong stuff that would only leave a person feeling bad things.

    Anyway, back in 4th to fifth grade a girl came to school who was immediately popular. I already begrudged her for it. But oddly enough she became best friends with me. She told me that when she talked to me other kids would say not to talk to that girl. And she told me that kids were always saying that sort of thing. I already knew that by the way the kids acted around me. I didn’t like having it explained in a play by play though of how much of a social loser I really was. I thought of myself more of the James Dean rebel without a cause, and that was why I sat alone all the time.

    But she wanted to be friends. And it got serious fast. And I got afriad. All this time I wanted someone to adore me and spend time with me and here she was. But she never wanted to be gone for a moment. And I know now how my dad must of felt cause I was just this same way as a little kid. And it felt awful when she did so that I did everything I could to get away from her. And I hated her even. And I will always remember the day she cried. It was late at night. I was going home and I told her to stay away and she was whining pathetically for me to come back and I said no. And she just stood there crying and crying and I didn’t go back to her. What a crappy best friend I turned out to be.

    Reply
    • Dawn Atkin

      Thanks Sandra for a very candid sharing.
      Lots of observation in this short story and lots of personal insights that could be picked out, especially regarding the complexity of human relationships.
      For example, seeing our own traits magnified and reflected in others, personal space, the anxiety of to much ‘closeness’ (intimacy) too soon.
      Some of this personal writing can be woven into rich characters and plots in stories in the future.
      Cheers
      Dawn

      Reply
      • Sandra D

        I’d love to think there are personal insights. Thanks Dawn for saying that. I just wrote it, but I was unsure whether to submit it or not. It is hard to write about one’s own scars, putting everything out in the open. Especially when it reflects badly on the person writing it. But I guess that is part of the writing process sometimes.

        Reply
        • Dawn Atkin

          Hi
          It’s good to share. And good on you for doing so.
          We are all imperfectly perfect.
          What I enjoy about these exercises is it gives the pen something to play with. And quite often through this process little gems tumble forth. The rough cuts that can be taken and polished.
          And that’s what it’s all about… The write practice. Trying different ways to motivate and explore the muse.
          Regards Dawn

          Reply
  83. Vietnam Combat Veteran

    Hanging on the fence just below the razor wire I hung my head in shame. The rock I had thrown at the POW just missed, but the act stung like a killer bee. I knew instantly as our eyes met when he glanced towards me it was a cowardly act.

    Two young boys caught in a war we both knew very little about. One being held as a trophy on display. The other angry, and waiting for his ride home from this hell hole they call war. Who put us here does not factor, only how we conduct the acts we are obligated to perform counts. What makes the news reel of life’s memories are episodes of shame not common of passionate souls.

    After seconds of digesting this act I knew he and I would both remember this moment in time. The sympathy overwhelming at times ends only when hopeful thoughts of his survival relieve the vision. Paths crossing again are unlikely, but need not, because the memory serves as a reminder that we will always be close.

    This early lesson in humanity guided my actions of a nineteen year ole to maturity with a constant reminder. Repeating an episode of this demeanor were never crossed again. So for that one look, that one look of disappointment in the prisoners eyes I owe a deep sincere appreciation. With that split second stare I obtained a valuable necessity in life. We all should have been so lucky.

    Reply
  84. Cristi

    It is so hard to think of that last day without
    experiencing the feelings of sadness, guilt, and fear. It was a normal Sunday at our house. We did laundry,
    watched Netflix, and was lazy around the house. The muscles in my neck were tense with worry about
    Chris. Relaxation was to be found in the steamy hot water from the bath. The
    mind thinks of only the feel of the warm water on the aching muscles. The cold
    of the porcelain tub cools the neck from its dunk in the soothing heat. The
    smell of lavender wafts up as the body moves from position to position. As I
    submerge my head the legs climb the wall of the shower cold and dripping water drops
    back into the tub. A swish can be heard of water hitting the floor. It’s not
    time to care. It feels so good. Alone in the water sounds muffled by water eyes
    closed it is easy to pretend all is well. Peaceful and floating I feel
    something forcing it’s way down my throat. Chocking, thrashing I burst out of
    the water clasping the side of the tub. Choking, choking I cannot speak. My
    clammy body is hanging off the side of the tub gasping for air for the unknown
    intrusion into its; airway. In the distance yelling can be heard Are you okay? Are you okay? Not able to answer I hear the
    sounds of heavy footsteps up the stairs. Answer me? He says angrily. Still
    choking and trying to breathe I answer I can’t. As the choking calms and my breathing
    returns to normal I answer him. I am okay. His concern shows in his face
    despite the angry tone of his voice What happened? As if he is asking what dumb
    thing did you do this time? I don’t know I reply laying my head back down in the warm water not realizing I had experienced my son’s death. (from my memoir I wish I had known. A little late but wanted to add.)

    Reply
  85. Emmelie Swan

    Great advice! I make sure every main character in every story I write has a wound. And each story is often about them overcoming their wounds.

    Reply
  86. bexxx_lynn

    The words that they said to
    me, still playing in my head, I closed my door and laid in my bed. I
    buried my head deep in my pillow as the tears streamed down my face
    like a waterfall. My chest began to hurt from all the tears as they
    were drying out. But these tears didn’t make the hateful words go
    away. They did not change the fact that I now hated every single
    thing about me. They changed nothing.

    I didn’t feel any better,
    in fact, now the image that I saw in the mirror was that of a girl
    with bags under her eyes from excessively crying. My already not
    beautiful self, was even less beautiful. You’d think I was used to it
    by now being as I grew up with this model-like cousin. She was
    flawless, everything you’d want in a girl. I was overweight, had
    glasses, braces for a long time too. My hair never laid perfectly on
    my head, often times it was too frizzy for it’s own good. She was the
    one people worshipped while I sat on the sidelines. She was a
    cheerleader, I was a softball and tennis player. I wrote stories in
    my free time. She went out with the guys. We were completely
    opposite, yet, compared to each other constantly.

    She was great at stealing
    my friends to. But I don’t blame them, if I had to choose between
    being seen with the prettier version, I might actually have done that
    too. It was the cool thing to do at the time. But while everybody was
    out having fun, while my family was obsessing over her, I was sitting
    in my room with the one item that was always going to be there for
    me: that little blade that shined in the light.

    Through the tears and shaky
    hands, I ran it across my wrist in one swift motion. Wincing in pain,
    I repeated this action until the blood from within me rose to the
    surface, spewed out and my wrist was covered in a thin line of red. I
    did this a few times, until the pain of being alone, of not being
    loved, of not being good enough went away. But it never went away, it
    was masked by the sensation that I got from taking on swift motion
    across my skin. But this wasn’t making me any better. In fact, now it
    was tarnishing my already non-beautiful self and there was no way
    people were going to want to be with me now.

    I looked at my reflection
    in the mirror again, but the girl staring back at me was someone that
    I was unhappy with seeing. I quickly turned away so that I no longer
    had to look at my overweight self, the girl who marked her wrists,
    the girl with no friends and the girl who was not as pretty as her
    cousin. I pretended that I was sick that night, so that I did not
    have to consume the food my family made. I mean, they wanted me to be
    my cousin so I had to lose weight somehow. This action carried on for
    days, constantly using the excuse that I was not hungry. When I was
    forced to eat, I excused myself and went to the bathroom where I
    could make the food leave my system. I was going to make my family
    one way or another. I was going to lose the weight, I was going to be
    good enough for them. I was going to be better than my cousin if it
    was the last damn thing I did.

    The days all seemed like a
    constant blur, I was never happy. That blade became my best friend,
    but my wrist was no longer my canvas. I began to place slits on the
    parts of my body that contained the most fat, the parts of my body
    that I wanted to change. My stomach, now my canvas, lined with a
    plethora of little marks that were at one time leaking blood down my
    skin. The feeling of sensation filling my body as I sat there. Slowly
    changing the canvas to the top of my arms, where muscle should be,
    but where there was nothing but fat. Crying myself to sleep because I
    was never going to be good enough. Crying so much my body ached. All
    I wanted was to be accepted by the ones I loved, the ones that were
    supposed to be by my side for my entire life. I just wanted to be
    good enough for at least one person.

    Reply
  87. Andrew Carless

    In
    life we wake up with scars, we have to tell ourselves that we have change, but
    we will always have them, they are a part of us, often our scars of the past
    bring us a lot of pain, mostly we choose to run from them, often the pain is
    too much to bear, we often turn to addiction to kill the pain, if we ever get
    over our addiction, we will have to face the pain, without our addiction we
    don’t have anything to run from our pain, some of us will turn to suicide to
    get rid of the pain for good, if you commit suicide the possibility of life
    getting any better is removed

    Reply
  88. Brittany

    Scars we all have a lot of these but some cut deeper than others. Let me explain it was August 2011, and I have finally got my basketball scholrship to an Univeristy in Ohio. To play two years of baskeball and obtain a degree, I was so happy. This was something I dreamed about since I was a little girl going away playing basketball. At the time I was involved, with somebody I thought that loved me and had my best interest. Well boy wasn’t I wrong, I had gotten so depressed over this person. I decided to come back home because I wasn’t happy at school because me and my so called sinfincant other. Were going through issue long story short I came back home. And she was cheating on me with somebody else. I was so hurt I’m a geunie person I couldn’t believe somebody would do this too me. Well it happen and ever since that happen I have this scar that will not heal.

    Reply
  89. KW

    I have two thick, purple lines on my back from moles that were cut away from my body. Pre-cancer. That’s what the doctor said.

    I labored with my first daughter for 14 hours, but my body refused to cooperate and behave. So through a four inch incision and staples and stitches and nice bottle of pain killers my first daughter was born.

    Because I love my laughter and my enthusiasm and my epic loudness. Because I decided to love who I am, I placed a ring through my nose and a bar through my lip. Leaving permanent marks.

    I was told I’m not special. Or beautiful. Or talented. I was told there would always be somebody better than me. That I was an embarrassment. And it produced the overwhelming message that I’m such a disappointment.

    The messages I heard when I wore pig tails and braces stopped when I grew, while also leaving out the beaming smiles and the too tight hugs while saying, ‘Well Done’ or ‘I’m Proud’ or ‘They’re so beautiful.’

    Scars. I am full of them.

    They have shaped me. Defined me. Hurt me. Broken me. And redefined me.

    They have made me quit. Made me cry. Made my mad. And made me persevere.

    They have created doubt. Created fear. And created the determination to heal.

    They have held me back. Pushed me down. And propelled me forward.

    They have created bitterness. And anger. And the desire to forgive.

    They have tried to defeat me. Tried to chain me. And failed at both.

    They have become the building blocks. And the foundation. And the stepping stones to who I have become.

    Because they knit me together stronger than I was before I broke.

    Reply
  90. Monarch16

    I see my scars every day. When I undress, when I shower, and when I stare at myself in the mirror. All I see when I look at them is ugly and embarrassment. Why am I so ashamed?

    I am talking about physical scars on my skin. These are markings that can never be erased. They were put there by human hands and to save my life.

    These scars tell a journey of all the trials and life saving procedures I have been through. This is what God intended me to go through. This is the mapping of my life written right on my body. This is why I am alive.

    I am proud of my scars and I wear them like badges of a battle that I have beaten. I am strong they say. This is my fight and I will continue. This is why I am alive. I fight to live.

    Reply
  91. Christy Nicholas

    I grew up without a father. I knew my father didn’t leave me – he didn’t know I existed. As a result, family relations are a very important element in my writing.

    In fact, the first novel I ever wrote (just a year ago!) was the story of my parents’ love.

    You see, they parted before my mother knew she was pregnant. She knew he was married, so never tried to contact him. She raised me as a single mother, sometimes on food stamps, but always supporting me. When I was 15 I started searching for him. When I was 30, I found him.

    I got my parents back together after 30 years, and they are now living happily ever after.

    This story inspired me to finally get off my butt and write the novel, based on the true story. Now I’ve written three more novels (historical fantasy) and I’ve got the bug.

    I blame my father, of course, like any good Freudian girl.

    Reply
  92. Kiki Stamatiou

    Prompt #6: It Started Out Like Any Other Day
    By Kiki Stamatiou a. k. a. Joanna Maharis

    It started out like any other day. I got up early in the morning to get ready for school. Prior to going outside to wait for the bus, I had to clean the house from top to bottom.
    Everything had to be in perfect, spotless, condition prior to my leaving to wait for the bus taking me to school.

    I never ate breakfast in the morning, because I usually ended up puking if I did. I also didn’t care for the cereal my mother got. Cherrios wasn’t my favorite, because back in the early to mid 1980’s there was no flavor to it.

    Upon arrival, the bus stopped in front of our house, and I climbed on.

    Looking for a seat on the bus, I stopped next to a seat where a girl was sitting by herself. I asked, “Excuse me, may I sit here, please?”

    “No. You’re a scum. I don’t even want you talking to me. Get out of here, now.” She shouted, and spit on me. Then, she shoved me into the seat across from her where I landed on top of some other students who shoved me back to her side of the bus, back into her seat. “I told you not to sit here. Besides, I’m saving it for a couple friends of mine, and you are not any of my friends at all,” she yelled, as she pushed me down to the floor, as to avoid me getting in the way of the students sitting across from her.

    The floor of the bus was wet from the mud and slush. My pants got muddy and dirty. I shamefully had to go to school that way, because there wasn’t any way I could go back inside my house to change them.

    Upon our arrival to school, I made a quick stop into the bathroom, to see if I could get some of the stains out of my pants. Taking a piece of paper towel, I applied some soap to it from the soap dispenser, wet the paper towel with water from the sink, and dabbed it onto the affected areas of my pants. At least a little bit of the stains came out. They weren’t as bad as they were when I first arrived to school.

    Walking over to my locker to put my coat, boots and things into it, andretrieve my books I needed for language arts class, I said good morning to the two students whose lockers were on either side of mine. However, they weren’t interested in talking to me, either.

    “Why don’t you go take a hike,” said the one girl who glared at me, “My god, you’re such a scum. Why would you even think I wanted to talk to you, in the first place?”

    “I’m just trying to be sociable. You and everyone else in this school made a big issue over me not talking to you. Now, when I make an effort to be nice, and sociable, you insult me and yell at me. I don’t understand you people,” I said, while collecting my books, choking on my tears, and walked away.

    That night at home, my family and I were watching the news. I tried to talk about what was being discussed on the news, with my parents. The first thing my dad said was, “Shut up. I don’t want to hear your d— mouth. When your supposed to talk to people, you don’t. I want you to remain silent until I give you permission to speak.”

    From that moment on, until the second semester of my freshman year of college, I didn’t talk to people at all, because I was so afraid of getting punished for doing so.

    © Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015

    Reply
  93. Karley

    The funny thing about scars is you never know at the time of the bleeding and the hurting that this very wound will one day heal into a remarkable memory of the skin. No, it is not until the healing process has already begun, and not a moment sooner, when your oblivious eyes finally start to catch on.
    The realization? “I think I’m going to be ok.”
    Personally, I view my scars as something similar to the likes of battle wounds. There’s a sense of valor there and it isn’t undeserved, either. I earned my scars. I persevered, I endured, and I overcame my wounds. I think where a lot of people go wrong is allowing their battles to define them. It’s kind of hard to beat something when you identify with it, or in other words, when you treat it as if it’s inseparable from who you are. Take this for an example. If the hardship I’m attempting to overcome is, say, depression and I convince myself that “I am depressed”. (As opposed to the healthier alternative, I am FEELING depressed at this particular moment in time) What happens? Well, most likely, not a whole lot. How can one possibly begin to defeat something that is a part of who they are? Impossible.
    My depression scar is probably my most cherished trophy. I approached the problem the wrong way first, and I’m just extremely blessed to have been given the audacity, the courage, and most of all, the patience, to muster up the strength necessary to try a new method. I understand not all situations work out in the same way. Some lose their lives during this battle that seems to be impossible to win. The sometimes grave mistake that these unfortunates and even myself have made is as previously mentioned. We forget that what we are feeling is not the same as who we are as people. We identify with the wound.
    Now, it’s important to realize that as critical as separating ourselves from our feelings is, it is not to say it is by any means easy. Not in the slightest. Depression is a consuming and overwhelming state of mind- it’s extremely easy to get sucked into its vortex and believe that is who you have become. I know the feeling all too well. But, we mustn’t fall victim to the dangers that arise from this mistaken identity. It is not who we are.
    Allow yourself the time to see your wounds through.
    Grant yourself the opportunity to develop scars, and be proud of them, even.
    You deserve it.

    Reply
  94. kwjordy

    I’m supposed to complete a writing exercise today. The exercise is to write about one of my “scars”. A writing exercise book gives 14 writing prompts and I have been completing them (in order, thank you very much). But when it came to the scar-writing exercise, I stopped. I did not want to write about my scars. Not because I am afraid of them or don’t want to confront them; I’ve done that already. I do not want to write about them because I feel it will elevate the people involved to a level I simply do not want to grant them.

    When I thought about the “scars” in my life I might write about, I knew right away I would not write about the trivial things we all experience. Who wants to read about how shy and introverted I was in high school and about how I had no friends? I certainly don’t. Keep your self-pitying on a grander scale, I say. Tell me something really big that happened to you. Little Emily pulling little Amy’s hair is at the bottom of my list. Amy and Emily’s time together in Afghanistan as two of the first women fighting and wounded in the war? Now that’s a story I want to hear.

    So I’m not going to tell you how Mrs. Miller and I had a miscommunication when she asked me not to talk during reading time in first grade and made me sit under a table with my back to the class (oops, guess I just did). And I’m not going to tell you what it was like being called a “faggot” in high school, or how one of the football jocks wanted to beat the shit out of me (although I would love to tell you about his alcoholic parents). I’m not even going to tell you about how I was actually hit a few times by my first college roommate after he went through my dresser and found a compromising magazine that he found disgusting.

    If I’m going to share my own life in my writing, then it’s going to be worthwhile. It’s going to be a big event, one that probably changed the course of my life. And there’s the problem. I don’t want to honor that or give the people involved a more elevated position than they deserve. They may show up in future stories; a writer naturally uses his own life in his work. But telling the world about a certain family member who damaged me is not something I will write about. They should remain buried forever. I have dealt with the issues myself, but I’m not going to write about them on a personal level. I liken it to a Jerry Springer episode. Disgusting people come on television and spew their disgusting stories. It gives them a platform. It elevates them to a level they never should have attained with their behavior. And it is likely to inspire others to do the same.

    I hear you. You suggest that perhaps I’m not yet strong enough to write about those incidents. But I am, and I could if I left out the names and relationships. It’s not the events, it’s the people. They are now dead, literally and figuratively, and I will not give them a platform that might allow anyone to ever understand, or excuse, what they did. And it would not make for an interesting story if I wrote, “a certain person” did this, or an “unnamed cousin” did that.

    My Aunt Maxine? I will write about her until my dying day. She warrants books and books be written about her strength, her beautiful soul, and her loving grace. That’s what I want to write about. Everyone has experiences that scarred them, but not everyone had the support and love of an Aunt Maxine. I want to offer how an Aunt Maxine can make a person better and to overcome the negatives in life. That is the kind of story I want to tell; that is the kind of person I want to elevate in my writing; that is the kind of person I hope will inspire others.

    A friend of mine wrote a book about his ordeal growing up with a father who molested him until he was able to get away from home. Now, I know it was good for him to get it off his chest. And he didn’t see the act of calling out his father as elevating him to a grander position than he deserved; he saw it as the only way he could extract justice. I just don’t see it the same way; ultimately, there is no justice, only revenge. I also don’t wish to indirectly implicate others in my life who, perhaps, could have intervened. I have not lived their lives and I know little of their own struggles.

    As a writer I know I am constantly changing; we all are. If I change my mind in 10 years and decide to write about my personal struggles, that’s my decision. After all, I’m the writer.

    Reply
  95. Starlight11

    January 1st. I has come by once again, it is now halfway through the year, and before I know it, January first will be here again. For many people, the 1st of January is a sign of a new beginning. For me, it is the reminder of a chapter that has closed. January first has, and will always, belong to a dog that had been a part of my entire life.
    This dog went by the unassuming name of George. In contrast to his unassuming name, George had a bearlike form and would growl at other dogs and people too. But, underneath it all, George was a fiercely protective and lovable dog. In the days of my childhood, he would bear with me when I rode on his back, stuffed my hands in his thick, black fur and tried to pull it out or teased him about giving him my human food. He was incredibly determined to protect me from any potential threats, often he thought my friends embodied that.
    As the years went by, I watched heartbroken as he could no longer stand to scare away threats, he would turn his nose up at the treats offered to him and when I ran my hands through his fur, large chunks of it would come out. As January 1st rolled by, I had a sinking sensation that that was the last of his birthdays that we would celebrate together. He put on a strong fight, and in the summer, he finally left us at the age of 16.

    Reply
  96. A.R.A

    Hi guys, this is my first post, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated. This is my true story about a scar left by ‘the one that got away’.

    It was a feeling I hadn’t allowed myself to feel in a long time. It was so long actually, that I almost forgot it was there. Three years have passed since we last talked. I am sitting at the Blue Note Jazz Bar in Tokyo, and the live band has just started playing Amy Winehouse’s “Love is a Losing Game”. It was your song remember? Do you remember when we stayed up for hours talking? Do you remember how it felt like when I loved you and you loved me?

    Did you hear? I’m married. I have a two year old son. I have a full time job. My wife cooks a mean lamb curry and my son comes home every day from preschool with toys that don’t belong to him shoved in his backpack. I lead a normal life. I am going through all the motions. Every now and then, the thought of you crosses my mind, and I start to wonder where you are and what you are doing.

    Do you remember all the plans we had together? Do you remember why I had to let you go? Because I was a coward. That’s why. Because I could not come to terms with your past. Do you know how when a car is stuck in the mud and you keep pushing the gas pedal and the tires turn and turn but the car doesn’t move? That’s how stuck I was. No matter how much I tried to get over it I couldn’t. Did you have to tell me? Did you have to tell me about Gabriela? Your would-be daughter. Why weren’t you more careful? Why did you allow yourself to get pregnant? It was before you met me and I have no business asking you but just bear with me. Why did you choose to abort your child? Were you scared of what your mother would say? Were you scared of what society would say? Or is it that you were too buried in your books that you had no time to care for a child? I wish you had kept this as a secret from me. Nothing would have changed. You would have been my wife now. I’m still stuck. I still can’t get over it. But you know what’s the worst part? I miss you. I miss you. I miss you.

    Reply
  97. Nadia

    Diva ran up to me, her ears bouncing up and down. “Come here, come here” I said, teasing her. She got even more excited, before she reached me. Yet she didn’t stop on time. She tried to skid to a stop, but her head rammed right into my lip. A numbing pain following, yet it wasn’t that bad. It did feel, though, very hot. I ran over to the hose, where I ran cold water over my bottom lip. When I looked down, I saw that the water came down pink. Oh crap. I quickly shut off the water before walking to the window. In the glare of the hot sun, it was a bit hard to see my reflection. But what I saw was enough. A dark liquid, obviously blood, ran from my lip to the beginning of my chest. The hot, sticky blood came pouring from the gap in my lip, a large gad I might add. I gasped, and that is when dad turned around from looking at the T.V. to look at the window. His eyes widened, before he cursed. “Holy sh..”

    I ended up getting six stitches in my lip that day, not before I had gotten a pain shot into my wound. Boy, that dumb dog.

    Reply
  98. Eleina Birn

    My first try…I tried to remember how the six-year-old me felt.

    What a parent says about you, no matter how small, can affect your growth. That much is true. But I knew, that I chose to let it hurt me.
    I had already been self-aware since I was a child. I grew up reading novels, a collection of stories that could make an adult cry. But I didn’t. I was strong. I was, I was.
    Until one day, my mother said, “Put those books down! You are a child! Those books are for adults. Play with dolls! Don’t waste your youth.” I knew she meant well. I knew, I knew.
    Ever since then, books were discarded from my life. I, who could never play with other children, felt lonely. Oh, how many times had I been tempted to pick them up again? Yet I remained true to my mother’s words. I didn’t waste any of my youth, but I lost myself in the process. I was different from others, very different. Over the years I learned to be a chameleon. And that is what I am now. You see, I can become any color I want. And of course, everything comes with a price.

    Reply
  99. Will

    I have many scars. Most are on my left arm.

    I’ve heard many times that the scars hat people can’t see – the ones that are inside you, and only you can feel them – are the ones which hurt the most. In many ways this is true. And if there’s something which makes that pain worse, it’s having those invisible scars made visible.

    I have wounds inside me. And I have scars on my skin. They’re there, just under my sleeve.

    I am a self harmer. I cut myself.

    It’s hard to say when all that began. I think I was like that my whole life. I always released emotions physically; in violent explosions. As a child, I’d scratch, pinch and bite myself when I got furious. I was raging against myself. Something, anything, about myself – my body, my actions, my poor grades, feeling like a failure, my friendships crashing and burning – made me hate being alive.

    And all the time I just wanted to be perfect. No matter how much I have managed to achieve – academically – it was, and still is, never enough. There is always another ridiculously high standard to be met. At the core of it, if I feel like I’m not a genius, I can’t live with myself. Making mistakes – and I made so many – made me want to cry. I ran into things which made me different – having a mental condition, my sexual orientation – horrid imperfections, to my mind.

    Deep down, whenever I hurt myself, I wanted to die.

    The cuts began gradually. Clutching my skin, I made the tiniest cuts with my fingernails. By age eleven I started running my school scissors across the prominent blue vein in my forearm, fantasising about making it burst. If I could hurt myself deep enough, maybe I’ll die, I thought.

    Half a year ago, I used a kitchen knife on my left arm. The biggest, most deadly-looking one I could find. My parents used it to slice beef. Its blade was thin yet jaggedly serrated. One graze, and my pale skin would split open.

    I absolutely hated that part of my body. I never got the rush of cutting in any other place. I was taunted in school for having weak, thin arms. They were my nightmare.

    So I took everything out on them. All that rage and self-hate. My mind’s voice would shout insults at the abused flesh. That I was worthless, pathetic, unintelligent, and wouldn’t amount to anything. I was my own punching bag.

    The first cut was the hardest. I am always hesitant at the start. But just a little graze wouldn’t do. I wanted actual, excruciating physical pain. I wanted to see blood, so much of it.

    So I cut deeper. And once I saw the first droplets, I became possessed. I attacked my body like I was fighting for dear life. Even now, I can see and hear that knife being pressed to the arm, the split-second slash, the torn-open epidermis slowly filling with blood.

    I felt like a vampire – like my well being depended on how much blood I could draw. The thirsty cannibal in me celebrated whenever it ran in thick red streams.

    I regularly cut my arm, just below the shoulder. That was enough for a while – several months, in fact.

    As time passed, I went for my forearms. That’s where most of my visible scars are.

    I cut on the underside, all the way from the wrist to the elbow. I tried targeting the big veins, the ones I could trace by eye.

    I made two huge cuts – so deep I had torn the skin apart and could see the vein. Naked, uncovered, at my mercy. Horrific, dazzling. I tried pricking it, but I was bleeding so much I was already on a panicked rush, and stopped. I never managed to get that close to a vein, ever again.

    I had never bled so much in my life. I thought I was going to die. No matter how many hours I spent running the cuts under water, the flow didn’t stop. At one point I was forced to stop, pretend nothing had happened, and go out to lunch with my parents. By the end of it my long sleeves were soaked. And the cuts still hadn’t closed.

    By the end of that month, I was left with scabs all over my arm. Now they’re red and pink scars. I dare not show them to anybody. Even in summer, I wear long sleeves.

    Cutting made me pity myself. I kept going back to the blade because I thought that if I had proper scars, maybe I would start being nicer to this poor sliced-up boy. It was a reason, an excuse to take it easy.

    Turns out that the scars made me into a freak.

    Reply
  100. Holly Brandt

    When I was growing up, I knew the difference from right, and wrong. I’d always try to make good choices to the best of my ability. The formation of my scars began to surface with one bad choice at the age of twenty-four…that choice was, addiction. I’d spent a significant amount of years battling the disease, it was cunning, baffling, and it took me to some unimaginable places I’d never knew existed. I lived almost fourteen years of my life in despair, and in insanity. I lost everything from my family, friends, and myself. Today, I choose to live differently. I’d came to my senses, and transformed my life back to the person that I once was, and was meant to be. I have my family back, my sanity, and my sobriety, I’m grateful for all of those blessings in life. As for those scars, I tend to characterize them as “battle scars”, however, I also like to think of them as “a blessing in disguise. Reason being, because with my experiences as a now, “recovering addict”, I get to pay it forward and give back to those who are in active addiction as I was.

    Reply
  101. The Awesomely, Awesome Bird

    I was watching this person having a physical scar. Maybe it is indeed easier to speak (I’m not a good writer either) then to take action but well…

    The young runner was over taken again. Well, he was born weaker than others, always pushed aside, knocked down by people, laugh at. So he did not dare to be involved in sports during breaks and became nerd. He is a math genius but that isn’t my point.

    Back to the run. This wasn’t his first run. His fear of being laughed at just overwhelmed his sight. Not noticing the brick in front of him, he just tripped and fell. It was bloody and painful. Like any normal person, he sat there and winced. He could hear the snickering and mocking blasting into his ears. 2nd of Feburary, the school term just began and this happens, he’s probably going to hear it for the rest of the year…
    Just then, he saw some people in sight, from the next batch of runners. The fear, turned into a driving force so he ran with a knee although the blood was trailing down, going around the shin.
    Anti climax: I still did not pass the normal timing to be considered fit. I am not as skinny and clumsy as when the vicious tongues stabbed on for months… My math is not as good as it used to be. I still have my own other personal fears but the lesson here is that sometimes, our greatest fears can turn into driving forces. I learnt it personally.
    Maybe to make the story more satisfying: after the run finally ended a girl came over when I was washing the wound. Not to laugh at me, she’s really a nice friend. Grade 6 wasn’t as bad as I would have feared. 🙂

    Reply
  102. Marilyn A. Starks

    It is not the external scars, rather the internal ones which have caused me excessive pain over the years. Sometimes the pain will be so great that someone looking on can actually visualize what my body reveals outwardly. My granddaughter often ask, why am I either mad or sad.
    “I am neither, ” I respond. “Just in deep thought and trying to process that thought.”
    I believe the most detrimental internal scar is the one related to the loss of my daughter (not via death) when my parental rights were taken. The only child I had then cut out out my life because I married the wrong man. Memories of pain, of lying to myself as I spoke not a word, nor sought help as we were being abused. Visions flood my entire being, of my being frozen in fear, not able to move or breath. Unsure of where or when the next blow would come. Would it be me or her? Why could I not move, or scream? What blocked my ability to help her, to save her?

    Then one day as it seems the pain has been lifted some, the same nightmare appears again in our lives. This time it is my daughter (yet, not by law) who begins to repeat the cycle of what is known as abuse. Now on top of the scars I experienced as her mother, more scars are laid as a grandmother. Instead of once it will be six times over, with each new birth and the loss of each child more scars are laid. this happens over and over again. Question is will it ever end?

    Reply
  103. Jayy

    I sat on the edge of the bed with a small frown, Layla layed on her stomach wearing only a tanktop that was slightly rolled up and exposing the long scars across her back. I remmeber when she had gotten the scar and even though ti was so long ago when I think about it I can remember the warmth of the sun against my skin and the sound of the kids outside enoying their day off of school. I remember the sound of the telivision playing football and my fathers friends yelling so loud the walls of the small trailer shook and hurt my small ears; we were suposed to stay in our room when my dad had people over but today Layla had wondered out in hopes of getting some food from the kitchen without my father noticing.

    The tension I remember it so well, waiting for either the opening of the bedroom door and her coming back down in sucess or the yelling of my father in anger of her antics. Unfortunitly it was he latter because on of my fathers buddies was in the kitched and caught her, moments later my father came dwn the stairs dragging her behind him adn threw her on the floor. I could feel the anger resinating off of his skin and it scared me more than I could ever remember it scaring me before. I remember him grabbing a long whip that was on the wall close to the stairs and cracking it across her skin so hard the skin broke and bled, her screams were loud and pain filled.

    One…

    Two…

    Three…

    He continued to crack it across her skin and I watched too afraid to do anything about it. Her blue eyes caught mine for half a second and suddenly i was more protective than I was scared and I ran over grabbing her away from my father only to have the whip hit my cheek instead of her back. my father had looked at us disgusted before going back up stairs like nothing had happened. I quickly began to tear up one of my oversized shirts and cover up the cuts on her back stopping the blood and ignoring the warm liquid that ran down my cheek and neck.

    I ran a finger over the scar on my cheek feeling like I was on the verge of crying, that man had marked both of us in a way we could never get away from and that would always show people where we had truely come from.

    Reply
  104. Lara

    There is very little I can remember about that day.

    I think I remember standing in a tight room with family, staring in silence at the bed that was both empty and not.

    I think I remember looking at the closed shades and wanting to pull them open, or turn on the lights, or open the door.

    I think I remember a heavy blanket of air, threatening to suffocate but keeping me alive long enough to feel it.

    I think I remember a word.

    When held breaths reminded us of still and we let it go, I remember you standing up and crying, asking for her to return. I remember devastation. Fear. Something close to a pressure in my nose and a warmth behind my eyes and you, crying, begging for her to come back. One word. Maybe two. Maybe even a whole sentence, something that faded away from my memory as the years went on, as I grew up, as the image of her face blended into anothers.

    I do not remember the words you said that day. But I remember the voice that cracked with lost hope, a sound of anguish that seemed to empty the room of oxygen, and a pain in my chest that I’ve never experienced before.

    For you, I wish I remembered it all. But all I remember, is the feeling.

    Reply
  105. bah

    When i was a little boy my father took me to the new house he was building. After hours in the car we finally reached the place. He held my hand and walked me around the house, but, it wasn’t a house, or even new. It was a something out of a horror film i could imagine, a two story Gothic mansion. But i was small and didn’t understood these concepts yet, to my mind it was just a large grey house in front of the woods.
    Inside it was nice and bright from what i remember, so, dad said i could walk around but not too far. As a child I loved to explore no matter what, i once let go of my rabbit, Spencer and followed it for about three miles from home and ended into the animal park where i got lost, but i wasn’t afraid so i kept following Spencer. He led me to all sorts of places, deep dark caves to the edges of cliffs and water falls. Eventually Spencer had led me back home, i realized i had cut on my left cheek when mom noticed it. The whole after noon was spent with lectures and questioning by my mom and dad. But that scar brings me back to the good times me and spencer had

    Reply
  106. Emily

    It had been a good day. Fourth grade. School, then went for a walk, cmd home and worked on math. The sun was slowly setting when my baby setter had left and my mother returned. I was working on timed math homework. “I have something I have to tell you.” Her somber voice was unrecognizable, her solemnity burned me like fire. In a flash, I thought, what could have happened? Could my father have died? Its not possible, of course not, not to me, not to anyone. And so, “Can’t mom, I’m doing timed math” “it’s really important.” The pain in her eyes. “Your father died.”
    no.
    No.
    NO
    in a blur, everything happened at once. One never does remember what happened, only the burning pain of your heart being ripped open as what you held so dearly was taken away from him. Why wasn’t I a better daughter? Why didn’t i show him how much I cared? But deep down, I knew that it was okay. He was watching me above and loved me enough to understand. He would never be gone to me. And Pain settles down. Wounds become scars and those that we love and love and have loved become our stars. Grief melts away into bittersweet memories, and you begin understand. He was suffering. He was suffering. He was suffering and it was for the better. He was in pain and anguish and it was for the better. Why life If you have not life? To be alive and to live. Sometimes you have to make a choice.

    Reply
  107. PJ

    One of my wounds; deferring my dream of becoming a writer for far too many years. My passion to write led me to lay on the floor late at night writing short stories as a young person. After graduation I started college with my goal in mind. I somehow ended up at a premiere hospital in Chicago. I went from attending class to working, going to the health club and attending evening classes. I ended up using my spare time in order to work over time. I no longer took my classes in the evening. When my daughter went to Ann Arbor for undergrad I felt it was my time to return to college. I worked lots of over time in order to help her avoid under grad loans. When she graduated from law school I had been success in encouraging a few young coworkers, friends to go to college rather than remain stuck on one job as I did. Although I received a different blessing my writing dream status was still “deferred”.

    Reply
  108. PJ

    **8

    Reply
  109. Christina Elaine

    My husband dumped me after 23 years. Things hadn’t been right for a while, a long while looking back. He’d seemed distant, unemotional and withdrawn, preferring to spend most of his time in front of his PC than talking to me.

    I guess I just let him get on with it, I wasn’t feeling very close to him either. After my diagnosis, things seemed to pick up for a while. We were both relieved to finally know what was wrong with me. It was never going to last, I was never going to be the wife he wanted. After years of blaming myself for symptoms I couldn’t explain, finally I knew what caused it all. Multiple Sclerosis, multiple scars, multiple symptoms.

    Over the last 10 years I’d blamed myself for my physical weakness, fearing hypochondria, and knowing my husband thought I was neurotic and anxious. We grew further apart as I struggled and he felt he no longer had any connection with me. Inwardly I was angry with him for not seeing me anymore, and for feeling his life was somehow over. He was fit and healthy and we were no longer equal. I was drowning in my own fears, and unless we came apart, it was hard to see a way for us both to survive. So when Sarah came into our lives, and understood him completely, he realized he hadn’t loved me for a long time, and he went. I thought we’d be together forever, I thought nothing would come between us. He had told me many times that he wasn’t going anywhere – and then he left.

    Reply
  110. Debra johnson

    AS I think about it there are several scars I have and there are so many I want to forget. Yet these scars emerge when I least expect it. I need to learn to write about them without getting to emotional about it.

    Reply
  111. vinod

    gfgfdg

    Reply
  112. guest

    A scar is scar and it is better to understand the depth of the scar. We are not living on the deaf and dumbs land. Here every minute creature has got creation history,a certain geometry, a certain diameters and very specific set of laws of land. Every one on this universe has to abide by those set of laws from time to time.

    Wounds turn to scars and scars turn beautify us only when we are exposed to the universal laws. How much violence we play in the life of ignorance but after all we come to settle our long awaited wounds only under the umbrella of laws of land. wounds have left scars on me. Some are ugly and some have beatified me with time. Ugly scars makes me horrified some times. I try my lotions for the temporary relief .I want to beatify them but my attempts to exposure to universal laws are less..
    It is necessary to come out from ugly scars because if life is goal you have to achieve that. If life is journey then you to set path for that journey. If life is set for calm mind then you have to thrive for that.

    .

    Reply
  113. mjprincesa

    My 15 minute story about a scar:

    Nobody notices it anymore. But I do. Everyday. This little differently textured piece of skin right inside my left wrist. It is a reminder. A reminder of happier times.

    A reminder to learn how and when to let go.

    I got it on a summery Sunday at 11 years old. Daddy was cooking lunch: shrimp with tomato sauce. One of his weekend specials. Actually my favourite.

    My father never cooked during the week. He was excellent at it but never had the time from Monday to Friday. On the weekends, on the other hand, he was all over the kitchen. Not a very organized cooker but a maker of delicious unique dishes.

    On that Sunday he was already in the middle of preparing his shrimps when he realized he was missing a key ingredient: mustard. The grocery store was just around the corner so I volunteered to go and get some. You see, I had this new sandals I was dying to take out. And so I did.

    When I was leaving the grocery store, holding the jar of mustard in my left hand, a dog passed by and I politely turned on my new sandals to make room for him. The new soles made me slip and as I was falling down I remember thinking “I’ll just hold the mustard jar really tight so I won’t let it break.” Hindsight being 20/20 I now see how that thought made no sense.

    So I fell down, the jar broke, hit a vein and there was a fountain of blood coming out of the inside of my left wrist. The lovely woman from the grocery store panicked and started tying a cloth around my arm and asking where I lived. I insisted I was fine (still reasoning like an 11 year old). She walked me home and called my parents. Daddy came fling down the stairs and mother followed.

    It was short drive to the emergency centre and I could not understand why my parents were so worried. You see, I was used to getting hurt, I was a very clumsy girl. I had no idea at the time that one you cut a vein it is a serious life threatening problem.

    I don’t remember much of the stitching since I blacked out 1 minute into it. What I do remember is getting home and having the shrimps for dinner like a princess. You see, since I could not use my left hand my parents peeled them for me and all I had to do is eat as many as I could. Which was a lot!
    Happy times.

    Reply
  114. Meems

    The Father Wound (My 15-Minute Prompt)

    I was watching a movie the other day and the female psychiatrist asked the othercharacter whether his father was present in his life. The character shook his his head. She went on to say that Freud, Nietzsche, and Sartre all had fathers who were not present, either by death or other absences. My thoughts about rmarriage has stumped me for the past 15 years, as to whether my ‘father wound’ ( my father died when I was five.), prevents me from truly bonding, long-term in a committed relationship. My mother, a strong, devoted woman, who work hard hard to care for me, hard never brought a man into our home. Ever. She never dated after my father died, and she died at 87 years old in 2003. As an eye witness to her solitary life, I believe that I absorbed so much of her energy that I now, at age 61, question my desire for another committed relationship.

    Reply

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