Stories of Speckled Skin | Teen Ink

Stories of Speckled Skin

October 2, 2019
By lilmcgill BRONZE, Austin, Texas
lilmcgill BRONZE, Austin, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My body is covered in scars. A graffiti park if you will, of distorted skin, discolored scratches, and delicate spots. My childhood was littered with accidents and clumsiness, as usual for all children, yet I still carry them with me, displaying my misfortunes across the bottoms of my knees and along my shins. Games of kickball and tag were deadly to my outer surface, and bloodshed became usual, practically anticipated. Dirt, Gravel, and lots of tears. Stings of chemical liquids and white knuckles yearning for the pain to end. Bandaids placed and displaced by walking motions, the edges curled and grey from picks by little fingers. A never-ending repeat of scar-producing wounds, yet perhaps a hopeful symbol of my childhood. The fact that the chubby girl in 3rd grade thrived, a battle-wound to beat all others, a sign of life.

As a young child, I was extremely curious, and often stupidity braided itself into this wondering to create small misfortunes that dotted my path of knowledge. If something looked intriguing, I was drawn to it, and many times I was burned from these experiences. Literally. One autumn night, a metal panhandle called my name and teased me with its unpredictable temperature. My forehead drew close, and at the moment of contact, flesh burned and screams escaped. Sensations of pain spread over my skin in waves, and a perfectly centered parallelogram now taunts me with its darkened self. Other times of intrigue, such as a heightened chase or the tight clench of a cat, always concluded with a scar. My tender acts of curiosity ultimately showed all that I was excited about in the world. 

Other scars from a time before now speckle my skin in tiny red dots, outlined by pink squares and peach fuzz leg hair. They remind me of a continuing problem, my never-ending mosquito bites and itching addiction. Summers full of x’s lining my legs and ankles, temporarily cured the annoying sensation. Eventually, as my strength collapsed, I scraped nails against bites until little bubbles of blood seeped out. Evenings were later spent dabbing bits of ointment onto each one, my mother circling her fingers around every spot, chemical smells suffocating my nostrils. The nights became routine, and as seasons passed and the number of bites faded, each bug’s mark became a permanent feature of mine.

With every arrival of a new scar, my self-confidence plummeted. I dreamed of flawless, airbrushed skin, with images of legs wearing tights that smoothed every extremity and discoloration out of place. Instead, I saw constellations of purple streaks and spots in my own reflection, a disheartening image to say the least. My immediate tears after a misfortune came from pain, but ones following developed into pitiful sobs for the ever-lasting, new additions to my exterior. These feelings of sorrow weren’t shared though, and my father took each incident with great delight, commenting on how distinct my “battle wounds” would look and the intimidation I would cause. The little girl nodding in return from the comments didn’t want an intimidation tactic though, no, she wanted to be flawless.

This idea continued to be broken with the arrival of acne. Pimples dotted cheek and chin with my new stage of puberty, and irresistible pops lead to little scars that seemed to multiply daily. I looked at my face with dismay, almost disgust, an anger of my appearance that was impossible to ignore. My thoughts towards my own body got stronger, more intense and driven; I couldn’t appreciate the flaws which made me unique. I instead saw them as an obstacle, marks that made me want to cover every inch of skin. This affected my view on all of the scars, from head to toe, that speckled my body. My own negativity intensified each one of them, and the darkness that I saw on my skin demanded a necessary change for the better. 

Although, for the majority of my life, I viewed my uniqueness with hate-filled negativity, I decided to change this into appreciation, perhaps even a sense of confidence and pride. These marks, though very well hidden to the eyes of others, made me feel like a walking mistake throughout my youth, a clumsy fool who drew all attention to her speckled skin. Though I still can't accept them fully, I now try to admire them for documenting my journey, just with purple marks instead of ink. They represent my spirit, liveliness, mistakes and my comebacks. Maybe they really are my battle wounds, the symbolic marks of the hardships I've experienced. The pain I've suffered and how i’ve persevered in these times of trouble. My emotional spirit has now strengthened ten times due to my little marks, and I have finally realized the positivity and love behind every single blemish.

The author's comments:

In my piece, I reflected on the physical aspects of myself that have affected my self-view and the way I 've lived my life. I reflected on the small characteristic and realized while writing my essay, their true meaning to me and their importance to my emotional strength, personality, and uniqueness.

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