Content Warning: This piece contains content that is sensitive to some.
Sandy, Carl, Amelia, Ryan, and Stephan each have a permanent scar somewhere on their bodies.
Sandy — A gash along her right forearm.
Carl — Cuts along his wrists.
Amelia — The after-effects of a fire.
Ryan — The knee injury that ruined his football career.
Stephan — A permanent mark on his face.
All five teens have suffered a lot during their lives, but they face something much bigger.
The permanent scars that their tragedies left on them are finally discussed as each one of them tells their story.
Hello, my name is Sandy Marie Santos, and I am scarred.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where they want to branch out and do more things. Explore. But I, I was different from the rest. All I wanted was to stay inside away from people and the world, only because I felt as if I belonged nowhere. School is a place where I do not belong–home is most definitely where I do not belong–the world is a place where I do not belong. At school, I am known as the black girl with a white girl’s name. After all, I am black and white, but people consider me as black, which I do not mind, but the taunting is annoying and makes me feel like I am nothing. All they do is downgrade me, and I am sure I get enough of that at home. He already hates me because I am “pathetic,” “stupid.”
The story starts off with my pig of a “Father” on a Saturday morning in Abbeville, Mississippi. Now the town of Abbeville is very small with a maximum population of 438. Everyone knows each other, everyone sees everything that happens, and almost everyone is a neighbor to each other.
Halfway down the steps, I saw that the house phone was missing, which is strange because we rarely get calls or call anyone. At the end of the stairs, I heard loud screams erupt from the kitchen that was two doors down. Panic flooded through my body as the screams continued, this time even louder. Hurriedly, I sprinted down the long corridors and halted in front of the third door.
In the kitchen, I saw my mom being hit and repeatedly stabbed. I watched as his muscles flexed under his lumberjack flannel each time he struck her, harder and harder. His body heaved up and down as his breathing was erratic, my mom’s fragile, trembling body was pressed up against the fridge. I stood frozen in the doorway. He turned around and looked at me and viciously strode up towards me. He took one more step before slashing my right arm with his knife.
“Stop!” I yelled at him, smacking him across the face with tears of my own flooding down my cheeks.
Brutally, he grabbed onto my neck, lifting me up off the ground. My eyes bulged out of their sockets as his grip got tighter around my neck. His green eyes pierced into mine. I tried talking some sense into him.
As I was running out of breath, I saw the house phone on the floor next to my mom’s lifeless, bloody body. A struggled but wide grin spread across my face.
The back-kitchen door burst open revealing cops in S.W.A.T uniforms, guns aimed at him, my Father.
““Hello, my name is Carl Bungay, and I am suicidal.”
A long time ago, approximately five years ago, I used to cut myself like many teens. The cutting was less of a habit but more of an escape. Some people smoke, some people do needles, but my high is cutting. I feel like as I cut I am releasing all my anger, hurt, and pain. Watching the blood slowly trickled down my arm is satisfying to me. I love watching how free and open it is, something I can’t be.
Growing up in an Orthodox Christian house isn’t exactly the right surroundings for a gay boy. Both of my parents encouraged me to embrace their religions, but honestly, I would like to be me and believe in whatever I want. In a house like my parents, you must obey every single rule, no matter how ridiculous it is to you. Even my friends hated coming over.
So, one day as I was studying for an upcoming finals test, my mother decided to interrupt me to tell me that the school called.
Of course, I was nervous at the time because there is only one reason why the school would call my parents.
The 2017 Pride Parade in town.
My mom eyed me carefully before taking a seat next to me on my crisp bed. She folded her arms and smiled widely at me, which means she is up to something.
First, she asked, “So, what is this Pride Parade I am hearing about? That you organized?”
The palms of my hands began to perspire as time went on and on.
“Well?” my mother asked, impatiently tapping her finger on the bed.
“It’s an event where–” I was interrupted by my dad yelling my name.
Quickly my mother and I scrambled to our feet, rushing into the front room. There, standing next to my furious dad, was David. David is my friend who I have a crush on and the only person that knows I’m gay. My parents do not know most definitely, my friends don’t know, and my girlfriend, Josie, doesn’t know. I am still not sure when I will tell her, but it must be soon.
My father looked furtively at me then at David before clearing his throat.
“So…you’re gay now, son?” he whispered, hurt filling his voice and tears welling in his eyes.
“Carl! How could you?” my mother said, crying into my father’s arms. “Go to your bedroom and pray to be purified!
And you…David get out of our house, now! Carl, I never want to see your face ever again…”
Anger stung in the corner of my eyes as I replayed her words in my head.
Carl, I never want to see your face ever again…
A huge lump formed in the back of my throat, my eyes stung with hot tears, and my fists were into balls. My mother doesn’t even want me, at all. Nor does my father love me because of my stupidity.
Quietly I walked up the stairs into my bedroom, slamming the door behind me and plopping face down on my pillow. Under my pillow was a blade that I kept just in case my parents disown me. And now comes that time. Sniffles erupted from my nose and cries of pain came from my mouth as I cut myself along the wrists, never wanting to be alive again.
My name is Amelia McDowell and I am eighteen years of age. Five years ago, I was badly burned in a house fire, but that is not all. There is more to the story, and I want to share with you the time that I became scarred.
Five years ago, I was coming home from school. At the time I was twelve years of age, and as I was approaching my mom’s house, I saw an unfamiliar black SUV parked in front of our lawn. Quizzically, I raised an eyebrow and continued to walk, still wondering who the hell truck this is parked at my mom’s house.
Once I reached the front porch, I rang the doorbell. At the time I had no key, and surprisingly a tall slender man answered.
He smiled showing his white, pearly teeth, “This must be her!” he said, excitedly ushering me into the house.
“Yep, it’s me. Who are you again? A long-lost cousin? Brother? Uncle?” I asked, curiously eyeballing the man. He looks like me, which made me skeptical about who he is and what he is doing here.
Then a knot began to form in the pit of my stomach, my palms began to perspire, and sweat trickled slowly from my forehead. Once again, he flashed that white smile of his and chuckled.
“Janice, come here!” he said my mom’s name. I saw my mom coming from down the stairs with a lopsided smile on her face.
“Mom…who is he?” I asked, eyeing them both suspiciously. My mom smiled brightly and hugged me tight.
“This is your father,” she whispered.
And then my world fell apart after that moment.
While living the first five months with them together, I began to see a shift in my mom’s mood and his mood. After a few years, I began to call him dad. He was like a real dad, and he did anything to help me.
Soon I learned that he was having way too much to drink after his mother’s death, spending most of his time in the basement (where he practically lived), and he always would come home late and rowdy. I also started to notice the makeup my mom would wear. The dark shades on 24/7. After my mom asked for a divorce, my dad began to drink even more than before. I never even knew they were married.
I was peacefully sleeping until I heard loud screams and crashing downstairs. I stirred in my sleep before finally getting up and going to see what was going on. I stopped at the railing and saw my parents throwing things at each other. Finally, he stopped and ran downstairs.
He slammed the door closed just as my mom went to the kitchen. I sighed in frustration and went back to bed. And suddenly I was awakened by the crackling of flames and the humidity of my room.
I jumped out of my bed. Wavy flames filled my room. The photos of my father disappeared in the flames.
A deep male voice yelled from outside. I quivered as fear took over my body and sleep swallowed me whole.
And that is all I remember before waking up in a hospital bed.
Turns out both of my parents died that night.
The person calling my name was a firefighter.
Whatever happened that night, I will never know. But what I do know is who my father is. And that is all that matters.
Hey, my name is Ryan Jones, and I am scarred. Growing up, I had life easy. A luxurious house, nice cars. I was handed everything on a gold platter, not silver, but gold. Both of my parents are extremely wealthy and self-absorbed. As a child, I had many friends and everything I ever wanted.
But what I really wanted was true happiness.
Football was never my true happiness until my junior year of high school.
On Sunday night, I remember seeing Crystal, my girlfriend, sitting in the bleachers with her best friend Nadia and Lorenzo, my best friend. I waved to all of them and smiled as they cheered for me.
The coach blew the whistling signaling, it was time to start the game.
And before I knew it the ball was passed to me. Snapping out of my thoughts, I caught the ball and ran as fast as I could. I felt the adrenaline pumping through my veins and the fast beat of my heart. Soon I heard the cheering around me, and I stole a quick glance at the bleachers just to see Nadia raising her foam finger in the air, and Lorenzo kissing Crystal! My world stopped at that moment. Everything slowed down, and I felt bodies knock me over.
The next day, the doctor said that I would never be able to play football ever again. Of course, my parents didn’t care until I couldn’t get accepted into my dream college.
My last football game was my last football game
Hello, my name is Stephan A., and I am scarred.
I was born as I am. I was born with light blotches on my dark-colored face. As a kid growing up I was called, “ugly” or a “freak.” But I ignored it as a child because I had no idea what they were making fun of.
Until I got into middle school. I was being bullied. I hated myself. I wanted to change my appearance.
About a year ago was casually walking down the hall when suddenly all eyes were on me. I stopped in my tracks and looked around at everyone. I heard something snap above my head. Slowly I looked up and saw a bucket tilting.
Before I had time to react the bucket leaned forward and paint pooled down onto my face. A gasp escaped my lips as I ran. When I tried to run, I slipped and fell as laughter filled the halls, but luckily I made it to the exit.
Entering my sixth-grade year I walked in with confidence. With my head held high and a smile on my face, nothing could ruin my day.
Ever since that day I have learned to live with it.
No matter what they say I will always remain myself and only myself. After a while, I ignored all the bullying and continued to be myself. No one will ever tell me who to be and what I can be.