I have scars from years of self-harming. I have scars in places that are always covered, I also have scars in other places that are almost impossible to hide. My body is covered in these red, purple, pink lines. Some are fat, some are thin. Some I can remember the exact moment when it happened, others have just disappeared into the blur of an adolescence filled to the brim with depression and self-hatred.
I don’t like having scars. It’s horrible. It isn’t beautiful and it isn’t romantic. It’s a shitty reality of attempting to reclaim my body in the worst possible way. Splitting the skin open to wash everything away, to get back what someone else took from me. To prove that it’s mine to love, but mine to destroy.
Except, it still isn’t mine. It still doesn’t feel like it’s mine. People think that because I have these marks on my skin, they can tell me what to do with my body. That I am suddenly weighed down with this responsibility to cater to everyone else’s expectations. That it’s not socially acceptable for my skin, my skin, to be acknowledged in public. If they don’t see it, they can pretend that it doesn’t exist.
It’s understandably difficult for some people to understand why someone would self-harm. It’s also difficult for those who have struggled, to see the marks on someone else’s skin and be reminded of their own suffering. It’s alright to be upset by scars. It is confusing and distressing to try to comprehend. But it’s not alright to inflict your own upset or confusion right back at someone.
My life isn’t an Instagram post. My body doesn’t come with a trigger warning. I have an illness and these are the marks that my illness have left on me. To cover up or not, it’s my own choice.