At some point in my life I stopped posting pictures that included my left forearm. It wasn't one of those gradual things where eventually I noticed this to be the case and had to search my soul to figure out why.
I didn't need to figure it out. I knew. My left forearm is covered in scars, and scars are not acceptable anymore. I've grown up and left behind the things that made me sad -- or at least I've told myself that I have.
It could just be that I learned that sadness lasts forever when it's cut into your skin.
That's the thing about scars, though. If you're sad enough or angry enough or empty enough, you don't care about forever, until one day you're grown up and someone is looking at your wrist with a question in their eyes.
People keep saying that scars are beautiful in their own way, that they tell a story. Maybe that's true for others, but not for me. You can't tell a story from the lines of white tissue on my arm. Or maybe you can, and the story is as follows:
"Once upon a time there was a girl, and she was sad so she cut herself. Now her arm is scarred."
And that's the worst story I've ever heard.
Or maybe when they say that scars tell a story, they're referring to the stories we make up about them -- telling children that yes, a cat was very angry, or that my arm is the result of some childhood accident, so always listen to your mother!
I don't like those stories either, though.
Maybe the scars tell the stories that others invent about us. "Desperate for attention." "Chemically imbalanced." "Weirdo."
I guess at some point I started trying to forget. No pictures that include scars, then. Not even if I draw something cool on myself in a fit of boredom, or if I want to show off my new bracelet, or if a salamander crawls along my arm, along my scars, leaving tiny wet footprints. And if someone asks me about what the salamander looked like, I'll just have to try to bring to mind the translucent red skin and the minute movements of its chest as it breathed in and out.
Because if there was a picture of my arm, I'd feel compelled to tell a story about a girl who was sad, and who might even still be sad -- and if you're looking for an ending to that story, you'll just have to keep looking.