Like a bad habit, I rubbed my left forearm and the scar there. A scar I’d put there when hopelessness had swallowed me whole.
When I wrote this short story, I wanted to connect with the narrator, Leon. So, I decided to give him a piece of my past.
I don’t like to touch it, or even look at it most days, but on my left arm there’s a scar I had put there when fear and hopelessness had swallowed me whole.
For Leon, it was when he was still in high school, but for me I was days (if not a couple of weeks) from turning nineteen. In the story, Leon never says why he did it. In this post, I won’t get into the events that led up to my suicide attempt.
Even now it is hard to talk about.
For Leon, it has been only a few years. It’s been fifteen years for me. And we’re both still fighting the darkness. But, my darkness is further away and its ugliest depth have a harder time reaching me. The good news is I’m a lot better than I used to be.
And even though I changed details, it was scary to write this bit about him. During draft two I almost cut it. I panicked someone would claim it was too unrealistic. I worried people would judge me. I got scared that people would not talk to me anymore once they knew how dark my dark got.
But, I realized it was all fear. I decided to see how I felt when I went onto draft three. It survived draft three and all other edits.
More fear came when I went to submit it. I hesitated. I considered deleting those bits yet again. Would I be rejected because I spoke of suicide? How would I feel if they rejected this story with this sensitive part of me? Were my previous fears going to come true? It took half an hour to hit send.
I cried when I got the contract for ALICIA. The scar is just a small part of the story, but it is the biggest part of me in it. I hope you’ll buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline