January 2020: Ivy Hall Review Features Caitlin Havens

Caitlin is a fourth-year student pursuing a degree in writing. The primary goal of her stories is to convey emotion, good or bad, and allow her audience to fall in love with the feeling. After graduation, Caitlin would like to work with entertainment writing. Script writing for TV, radio, or film have always been a dream for her. If that doesn’t work out,  she says, there’s always retail.


(of a person or part of the body) without clothes.

“he’d never seen a naked woman before”

nude, bare, in the nude, stark naked, having nothing on, stripped, unclothed, undressed

In the mirror, I am naked, with nothing around to cover up. My eyes focus on the white marks at the side of my waist. It’s something many people have. Some, the proud and happy, call them tiger stripes. But not mine. Instead, a tiger has scarred me. Clawed at my skin, trying to find anything other than what I have to offer. The person in the mirror becomes unfamiliar. This can’t be all I am.

I ache for someone to love my scars. For fingers to graze my skin and trace the shape of what the tiger left behind. To not only want to see him naked, but for him to want to see me.

In the arcade of the bowling alley back home, I thought I found him. Because he looked at me like I meant something to him. And spoke to me like I had a reason to be here and to know him.

I imagined his hands trailing down my body. Trying to remember every curve and scar his fingers touched. I wanted to lie naked with him. Feel his skin against mine, and untie all the knots making him tense.

I wanted him to want to lie naked with me. Uncover all of the lies I tell the world. The lies I tell myself. Strip me bare of my walls while I tear down his own.

He never saw me naked. He saw me clothed; as the person who avoided her mirror. My scars are still a secret, still dressed in my mind. They remain untouched.

I don’t want to be healed, I want to be loved.

I want to be naked with someone.

exposed to harm; unprotected or vulnerable.

“John looked naked and defenseless without his glasses”

vulnerable, helpless, weak, powerless, defenseless, exposed, open to attack

“I felt naked and exposed”

I am bare, emotionless. Stripped of my rights to feel. The medicine in my hand has turned me numb.  A capsule of compressed powder and a glass of water are not who I want to become.

My cry for help is silent. The shadow surrounding me is dark. I can’t see the people surrounding me, but I hear them. I remain untouched and clothed, silent and invisible

Nails dig into my arm, creating divots along the side. Uneven rows and columns slant and bend, making it hard to know where the line starts and ends. Inside my mouth, trickles of blood line the bottom of my gum. The tip of my tongue runs along my bottom lip, teeth marks indent its skin. Small pains become replacements. Because moments seem better than a life of suffering.

At night, the sheets and thick flannel blankets cover me. I am alone, and clothed. There is no one to be naked with but I pray to God I find them soon.

(of a tree, plant, or animal) without leaves, hairs, scales, shell, etc.

“the twisted trunks and naked branches of the trees”

bare, barren, denuded, stripped, uncovered

“the naked branched of the trees”

My branches are bare. Pieces of my soul fall to my feet and have become so small, the edges are impossible to read. No glue or thread could mend me back together. But, once every spring, new leaves form.

The pill bottle is closed and foreign. And the reflection in the mirror is my body, not who I am. And my scars are lightning bolts and tiger stipes. And my nails are cut short and I stock up on chewing gum. I am numb to suffering, but not to pain.

Strip the clothes from my skin and see me for all I am. The scars on my mind and waist will never heal. I have become a scar on the world, but that just means I’m here to stay.

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