You think that I don’t notice you staring at my scars, but I notice your eyes darting to my arms within minutes of our conversation starting.
You think its not obvious but it is, and while I put on a brave face, continue looking you in the eye I’m hurting on the inside because I know the look you are giving me. I’ve seen it many times before, the look of judgment, disgust, sympathy and the overwhelming lack of trust crossing your face, of fear, of wonder, you ask yourself “why would she show her arms like that?” telling yourself “she must be crazy to do something like that to herself” I see it day in and day out, I face judgment, silent judgment. I don’t go out of my way to cover or hide my scars; in certain situations I make the personal choice to cover them to protect myself more than to protect those around me.
I have scars littering my arms, from shoulders to wrists and hands too. I have scars covering my thighs, from hip to knee and indeed some on my calf too. I have scars across my chest and down my stomach. These scars, once a sight which symbolised strength are now beginning to loose their meaning and the love/hate relationship I once had with them is slowly developing into a relationship full of hate and yet full of acceptance. You see my scars and you cast judgment, you may not say it directly to my face but I can see it in your eyes, in your expression and in your silence. But you don’t understand, you don’t understand the war that I fought for many years, the war that I’m sill fighting, the war within my mind.
I may have days without self-harm, weeks, months even but that doesn’t mean my temptations have been weakened, the urge to silence my thoughts have disappeared but it means I am coming out on top, fighting fit and desperately trying to win the battle. My healing scars don’t excite me any longer, they don’t give me relief any longer but they do remind me that I am strong, strong enough to keep battling through. For every scar I have made it means I have not taken things a step further and ended it all, they remind me that I have got through some pretty rough times.
I have given many years of my life to self-harm and indeed to depression and BPD. I’ve pretended to be someone I wasn’t, acting as if everything was fine, putting a smile on my face and reassuring people I was fine when in fact I wasn’t. You look at my scars and wonder “how could she do that to herself?” I look at my scars and I think the same thing, how could I destroy my body as much as I have? How could I have done that to myself? I’m 21 and I’m covered in scars, some may fade, many will not. At times it disgusts me, looking in the mirror seeing what I have done to my body, regretting it but unable to change it. This disgust only fuels the urges and the desires to do it again, because what else do I have to loose? What difference will one more scare make?
If I could go back to when this all began I wouldn’t make the first cut! If the 13 year old me could see me know she would be shocked, like many of you who see my scars. She would be ashamed, like many of you feel I should me. You might think that your just staring, like your not conveying your thoughts or feelings but when you stare your eyes speak a thousand words, and each word sticks in my mind like superglue. Your eyes are the windows to your mind, showing your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
When you stare, when you look and stare I can see that you think I’m looking for attention, I can see that you think I should cover my arms, I can see more than you think I can. Self-harm is hard to talk about and I understand how some people may not want their children exposed to it, and so I try where possible to keep it hidden, and if it is still in sight I will never tell a child I cut myself because they wont understand it and I know its not my place to do it.
These scars belong to me, the show the battles I have faced but these battles are mine. These scars are part of me whether I like it or not. I’m working to fight self-harm, I’m working to get control of it and make it a thing of the past for good but your silent judgment, you untrusting eyes and you disgusted expression make it that much harder. Your whispers to the person next to you, your stares and your sympathy make me feel worthless, isolated and increase the disgust I feel towards myself.
For anyone who is staring at my scars, please don’t. I know they are there and they are not on show because I want you to notice them, they are simple visible because sometimes I get too warm in a jumper just like you. Don’t stare because I have a hard enough time loving myself that I don’t need others to make me feel self-conscious. Don’t stare because even though you don’t realise it, your eyes are showing your thoughts and your judgments. Don’t stare because I know they are there, I know they are part of me and I know they make me somewhat different, I don’t need to be reminded of that. Don’t stare because you can see my scars because you never know who might be hiding there’s, don’t stare because you don’t know that my scars might empower someone to seek help. I’m sorry if my scars make you uncomfortable but your staring makes me uncomfortable and I just have to deal with it or cover up to suit you.
Don’t stare because it does more damage than you realise.