The first time my little brother saw my wrist was at dinner. It was a hot day, I was wearing short sleeves since the tissue had healed over. He asked me what happened--my heart stopped. I looked down at my left arm. I had forgotten my bracelets.
Forgot what? The shackles that hid sleepless nights and lonely screams beneath them.
Forgot what? My little brother did not know his big sister's deepest desire was to die. To be free from blades, scars, and pain.
I had always despised the scars, but the shame I felt in that moment, was greater than any shame I've ever felt before. I wanted to jump in the shower, and rub each mark away--to erase all the evidence. Then the sickening realization set in. There is no "magic shower" that can erase the past. The past is set, nothing or no one can change that reality.
I went upstairs that night and I opened my photo album, praying and begging that I could be taken back to 2006. I stared at myself, five years old, with my clean, fat, wrists and the glow in my cheeks. What happened?
My brother's voice rang in my head; I looked at the picture, and my mirrored reflection. OVER and OVER again. Willing an answer to enter my mind. No answer came.
Forgot what? Why I started hating myself.
Forgot what? Myself.
Then, something new happened. I remembered. I remembered - Me, before the scars.
I remembered trees. The scratchy branches drenched with sap. I remembered the feeling of climbing up to the highest possible branch. I remembered the freedom, the rush of the air. I remembered how no one could reach me in the safe branches, I remembered feeling safe.
I remembered rocks. Plain, simple, white rocks. Each one unique. A unique shape and size, some with streaks of pink, others with a coat of dirt. I remember washing each one, delicately as if I could break it, and finally adding it to my collection.
I remembered how much I loved mud when I was little, I loved to play in it. I loved the feeling of it against my skin, I loved making it, I hated washing it off. The hose was cold, I had to rub my skin raw in order to be completely clean. In my little-kid mind it was just so much easier to stay dirty.
I remembered laughter.
I remembered my family.
I looked again at my scars. I ran my finger over them. The scars had become my identity somewhere along the way. The Blades had become my friends.
What HAPPENED to me??
I forgot I was forgiven, I forgot I was loved, I forgot that I was not defined by my pain. I forgot that my brother, my family, saw more in me then just the scars on my arms. They saw ME and for the first time in a long time, I saw me too.
I stood up, looked myself in the mirror, and decided I never, EVER, wanted to cut again. My Little Brother became my first Reason.