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Rolling Up the Sleeves

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She was having a staring contest with her reflection in the mirror. Her lips curled up in disgust and her reflection did the same.
Reaching out, she slowly rubbed the specks of dirt and dust off the mirror.
Perhaps, she thought, perhaps that is why there is a big, dark spot on my cheek. It’s just dirt and dust on my reflection.
But she knew it was not so.
For even though she wiped off all the grim off the mirror with the sleeve of her sweatshirt, there was still a big, ugly birthmark upon her left cheek. It was not dirt on the mirror no matter how much she wished it was.
Once more she was having a staring contest with herself. She quickly lost as her eyes compulsively snapped back to her birthmark. She couldn’t stop looking at it.
But of course her eyes wandered back to it. How could they not?
It wanted her attention
Look at me! It said. Look how ugly I have made you!
Her fingers went up to touch it. She poked and prodded at it, alas. It would not rub off like a smudge would have.
She turned her body to the side so her left cheek could no longer be seen.
Maybe she could have passed for pretty.
Her hair was too frizzy for her liking, though it was not ugly.
Her eyes were a nice shade of blue; blue that looked like an ocean. And endless ocean. Maybe they could pass as the type of eyes someone could get lost in forever.
Her nose was what was considered a good size. She was small, but portioned.
But even though as these physical characteristics could have defined her as beautiful, she was not beautiful to anyone including herself because of the big birthmark that covered a little more than half her cheek.
No one would ever notice her. They all had eyes for her birthmark.
She tried to cover it up. Make-up that didn’t do the job. Having a hairdresser style her hair so her bangs covered her left cheek and eye.
No matter what she tried, it would eventually be revealed.
Even if her hair covered her cheek, many people already knew of it. So why even bother hiding it?
She no longer did.
It sat out in the open screaming at people to notice it.
And people did.
Whenever people show her birthmark, whether it be the first time or the umpteenth time, they always stared and gawked. Whispers son filled the hallways of school. Fingers pointed at her.
She was used to all those things, but, on particularly bad days, the feelings the gestures gave her felt like a big, ugly animal sitting on her chest, suffocating her.
Most of the time se would push away the feelings. Some days she couldn’t.
Today was one of those days she couldn’t. She let the whispers and stares get to her. She couldn’t handle the depression weighting her down.
She was sinking.
So she stood in front of the mirror, picking out all her flaws, her eyes filled with self-hate.
She hated herself.
It was as simple as that. She hated ever fiber of her being because of the ugly birthmark that lay on her cheek.
It ruined her life- or so she thought.
And now because of it, she stood in front of the mirror, six, gleaming, seemly innocent razors sitting on the bathroom counter.
The light hit them and they shined.
They were the cheap razor blades- the ones that you can easily cut yourself on if you’re not careful- that she asked her mother to pick up for her.
They sat in front of her, mocking her.
You’re a coward, they said. Letting a few words hurt you, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” You’re weak. Taking the easy way out.
“But it won’t get any better,” she softly said aloud.
She picked up a razor then dropped it.
They were right. She was a coward. She was weak. A completely and utterly worthless human being.
All the whispers, the stares, the comments crept into her mind.
“Kill yourself.” A boy said.
“No boy will ever like you with that ugly thing on your face.” A girl had once said.
“Don’t listen to them.” One kinder girl said.
“No one likes you.”
“Ugly whore.”
“You’re worthless.”
“Please die already.”
“Commit. No one will care. You’re like that one character in a horror film the audience is rooting for to die.”
So many negative comments. They overwhelmed the one positive one.
She believed all the comments.
She deserved to die.
She would die.
But what about your family?
A small, extremely small, tiny, voice whispered in the back of her mind.
Them? They don’t love me as much as they love my sister, she thought. She’s pretty. She’s popular. She’s funny. She has good grades. They care for her more than they care for me. She’s the perfect daughter.
I’m just an imperfection. An unwanted nuisance. I was a mistake.
She let each and every negative comment overflow her mind.
Do it! Do it! The razors said.
Do it! Do it! Her birthmark chanted.
Do it! Do it! Her mind encouraged.
She took a deep breath, then another and another.
She rolled up the sleeves of her sweatshirt.
She picked up one of the razors.
She sighed.
She had made her decision.



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