Learning To Love You More




Assignment #11
Photograph a scar and write about it.

Julia J.
Charleston, South Carolina USA



It's time I finally told the whole story.
When I was twelve, I experienced death for the first time. My granny had lived with us my whole life. Towards the end of her life, we sent her to Florida to live with my uncle because caring for her became too much for my mother to handle. On October 31, 2002, she died. I didn't cry at the funeral. It finally hit me a few days later and I cried. It was good and I haven't cried as well since. This may actually be unrelated to the scars. But it might be important.
When I was thirteen, my parents got separated. My older sister and I already knew this would happen. Once my dad went out of town for a week and my mom stayed out late every night. She never did that. We snooped. She was cheating. He had too, apparently a lot. When they told us, I laughed.
When I was fourteen, they officially got divorced. A new family showed up at church and I made friends with the oldest daughter, T, a year older than I was. Her parents were divorced too. Our church was very family-centric and we felt ostracized. Our youth leaders seemed to single us out, especially her since she was living with her dad. They thought she needed a new mother figure. I lived with my mom.
She and I started to question our beliefs. All we could do was find everything wrong with anything anyone ever said. I resented my mother for making me go to church. Everything I knew before had fallen apart.
At school, T and I made friends with B. He was depressed. So were we. I don't know when she started and I don't know when he started, but at some point I found out that they cut themselves to help deal with things. T and I kind of encouraged each other. I'd never had the type of best friend you loved so much you would do anything for. I'd never had anyone to take care of and no one ever took care of me. I thought she would be it. I thought B would be it. I thought I could love my friends. I wanted to be closer to them. I felt lonely. I'd lost all my old church friends because I didn't like them anymore. Sometime in April of two thousand five, I dismantled a razor and put it to my skin. My first cut. Inner forearm, near the elbow. The next day, I wore short sleeves. It was April. I showed T in the cafeteria. She seemed almost proud of me. I felt closer to her.
During the year or so of my friendship to B, he tried to kill himself once, failed, and subsequently came up with countless other plans. He always told me about them. I was one of the select three he trusted. I had access to his private livejournal. I continued cutting.
I was caught by almost everyone I knew. I didn't try very hard to hide them. I wanted to be rescued. I wanted someone to see. To save me from whatever it was I needed saving from. From solitude perhaps. I wanted a connection.
In May, my mom found out. She seemed to think since she knew, I would immediately be able to stop and get help. But I didn't want her to be my rescuer. I didn't want her to be the only one who cared enough.
But she was. I didn't stop for a long time. At last count I had maybe seventy or eighty visible scars. Some of them are fading.
At eighteen, I don't speak to B anymore. I cared too much about him and I had to stop. I don't know if he still cuts or if he still wants to kill himself. He works at Gattytown.
Sometimes T and I try to reconnect, but I'm afraid our friendship was based too much on what was wrong. We don't know how to just be together. We don't know what to talk about now that we are more settled and happy with our lives. I don't know if I ever loved her. I don't know if I've ever loved anybody, but I still don't want to let her go.