“I could make up a story to cover the last eight years, but the scars on my arms told the
truth. So did my ankles, the skin between my toes, even the veins that had burst on my
breasts. Did my battle wounds really prove I was a survivor? Or was I too damaged to be glued back together?”
Nicole had only one skyline to remind her of the freedom she’d lost—a tattoo of inked
buildings dotting the skies of Boston, crisscrossed by scars. Heroin had owned her,
replaced everyone and everything she’d once loved. The past was supposed to be behind
her. It wasn’t, but that was the price of addiction.
Two men love her; one fills a void, and the other gives her hope of a future. Will love
find a way to help her sing a lullaby to addiction, or will her scars be her final good-bye?
When my story began, I was 19-years-old, a college dropout, living on my parents’ couch in Maine. I was…lost. There was pain gnawing inside me; memories I wanted to forget. My parents nagged me to meet with a therapist. They didn’t get it. I wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to listen. And I sure as hell didn’t want to meet with a counselor who held a notebook and wrote as I talked, pretending like she cared or understood. So I didn’t. I convinced my best friend to move away from that hole of a town and we landed in Boston.
Heroin was my air and the silence between my breaths. It had a hold of me; it was like we were chained together. And those shackles weren’t just around my wrists—they were tied around my brain too.
I thought Boston would stop the nightmares that woke me in the middle of the night; smoking weed would take away that dirtiness I felt; drinking wouldn’t let me remember the dreams. Nothing helped. I was aimlessly wandering from one haze to another, letting the wind pull my feet, and place them where they needed to be. What was I looking for? I didn’t know. I didn’t know much of anything until I found something. Something that only wanted my attention. Something that wouldn’t hurt me. And touch me.
I could make up a story to cover the last eight years, but the scars on my arms told the truth. So did my ankles, the skin between my toes, even the veins that had burst on my breasts. I was like that board my dad used to tack papers to in his office. Eventually, the cork fell apart because it had too many holes, and my dad got a new one. Did my battle wounds really prove I was a survivor? Or was I too damaged to be glued back together?
I’d tasted drugs before. I had smoked my way through high school and sampled the harder stuff in college. Coke gave me energy. Ecstasy made me dance. Shrooms made me hallucinate. But heroin…shit, heroin was kind. It didn’t trip me out like acid or bring me into a dark hole like PCP. It showed me the quietness of the waves.
The dragon was back, loud and begging, clogging my mind. He missed the old Nicole, the one who sacrificed her body and morals to be with him. I rolled to my side and pulled a pillow over my open ear. It didn’t help. His screaming was on the inside, and he demanded I go downstairs, take a pill, crush it with a hammer, and sniff every speck. He lived inside that powder, and his touch could rub all my spots at once. He could show me the beauty behind the sun, the depth of water, the soft petals of a flower tickling up my arms. His words would be my lullaby. My body would shudder for hours.
I remember the D.A.R.E program at school, the posters they showed, and the consequences they listed. I remember when my parents and I had “the talk” about sex and drugs. I obviously didn’t listen. Someone should have made me listen. They should have taken me to the morgue and showed me the face of an addict who had died from an overdose. They should have taken me to the streets, made me eat out of a garbage can, and sell my body to complete strangers because that’s exactly what was waiting for me once heroin entered my body. I’m the reason addiction awareness is important. I’m the example. I’m the junkie who was given a second chance. But did I get clean?
My memoir is no damn fairytale.
When I met Marni Mann, I knew, through her eyes and her words, the world would be. It wasn’t long after she welcomed me as a writer into her community – it was hers, not mine, but it belonged to greats like Mann, Denmon, and Chester - and showed me the way of that world. It wasn’t two dimensional, white, framed by a thick black line, like so many of us trick ourselves into believing, but gray, with fine lines cutting into its core. Everything is a gray area, as Marni tells me in her stories, simultaneously beautiful and hideous, dark and way too damn bright, heartbreaking, and heart-making. This is what makes Marni Mann one of my favorite writers. She tells it like it is. And as a reader, you feel it… like it is.
Personally, I can’t wait to lose myself in Scars from a Memoir as I did in Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales. Once Marni has touched you with her stories, (I know from experience) she’d love to chat with you on Twitter, her website, Facebook, or on Goodreads.
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. A writer of literary fiction, she taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark, harrowing, and gritty journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children. Scars from a Memoir is her second book, a sequel to the highly regarded Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction.