I always wear long sleeves, whatever the weather, so I don’t see my own skin a lot. But I just looked down at my arms and reeled in shock. They are at their least shocking ever, because I haven’t self harmed (apart from a few tiny-calm-down scratches during the summer’s high that didn’t even leave a mark) in such a long time. Two years ago, I posted photos of where my scars were at that point. They are much better than that now. But it’s not just my arms. My face, my legs, my chest, my neck. Everywhere.
Sometimes I struggle to remember why I did it. I often gave reasons I’d read about, rather than my own reasons, when discussing it with doctors. I have never liked talking about it, or even acknowledging it. I was secretive, evasive. For the most part, I guess, it was to be calmer. I rarely self harmed when I was depressed- it was usually when I was agitated. I did it too because I hated my appearance. That was difficult to explain. Why disfigure yourself when you already feel ugly? I butchered myself. I treated my own body- the only one I will ever get, however unreliable it is, however ugly I find it- like it was a piece of meat.
I can’t imagine doing it again. The urge died in me a long time ago, I guess when I started to believe more in my own worth. I still don’t like my appearance- I don’t think I ever will- but I know people love me for more than my appearance, know my body is just a vessel. Still. I wish it were a more beautiful one. I wish I hadn’t wilfully made it uglier and that, no matter how well I am, I have that reminder to carry with me. And, unless I continue hiding as I do, it is for other people to see, and to judge me by. Not just strangers, and friends. But doctors, too. I still have to pull my sleeves up when I go to my GP. Despite the fact I haven’t self harmed in years, and despite the fact I have never sought medical attention for it, I’m still treated as a self harmer. Still-wrongly- seen as someone impulsive and self destructive. I may as well have branded the words into my skin.
It is good, in a way, that my scars finally have the power to shock me, as they have shocked so many other people over the years. People have always winced and I failed to see what the fuss was about.
Now I see.
And with it is the sad, immensely sad, realisation that I am going to be living in this scar suit for the rest of my life. I will be buried in it, too.
Filed under: self harm