Every Friday afternoon at St. Francis School, our 5th class would have ‘Show and Tell.” It was always fun except for one Friday when Kenny, the oldest kid in the class, showed us something that I can still see when I close my eyes.
He got up in front of us, rolled up his sleeve and we saw several long, red scars on his right arm. We couldn’t imagine what the scars were from until he reached into his pocket and pulled out a paperclip that he had opened.
Then, he showed us how he cut himself. Only there was no blood this time.
The only thing he said to the class was, “Don’t do this. There are better ways than this to prove to yourself that you’re alive.” He sat down and nobody moved. Some of us thought he was crazy. Some of us were just sad. I was sad. I remember feeling sad for him.
I knew I would never hurt myself like that but there was something about him, a certain freedom to show us that he could no longer keep this secret to himself. It was almost a warning.
That’s how I’ve come to feel about my scars now. I want to show you. I have a very loud voice in me that says, “hide them.”
A quieter voice tells me that my scars are a gift. A gift for both of us. It’s a part of who we are.