I’ve been thinking lately that, well, maybe scars aren’t so bad. Ya know, they’re just lines (in my case). Maybe they don’t need to be hidden so often. Not that I want to show them off either, but I think I can drop the shame I have about it.
I self-harm… three months free this time, but I’ve made nearly a year before. I’m trying to stop. Maybe I should say “I used to self-harm”? I have started self-harming when I was around sixteen or seventeen. Life was very chaotic then. Home was horrible. I spent many, many hours locked or barricaded (yeah, desk against the door so my parents couldn’t come in) in my bedroom. My mind was a living hell. I felt constantly tormented by different voices (long before I knew I had DID) telling me to do different (destructive) things.
Self-harm was a way of evening things out with these “voices”. If I ate I needed to be punished so, even back then, self-harm was a way to do that. I have no clear memories of why else I self-harmed back then. My guess is the overwhelming emotions… the anxiety, the intense self-hatred, the complete and utter uncertainty about where my life was going.
I remember, at one point, trying to count the scars. I had a lot, even back then. Most were small and faint, and those, I think, have completely faded now. In the years since then more have been added – not something I am proud of. My thighs, my stomach, my arms, my hands. My arms and hands aren’t particularly noticeable which I am grateful for. I wear short sleeves now without any concerns.
My thighs though – different story. My thighs are more of a “mess” than my arms. There are more recent scars. They haven’t faded to white. They stand out… although no one, except my GP, sees them. I am ashamed. I won’t wear anything shorter than just above my knee for fear of the scars showing.
Recently though, it’s been hot. I had new pyjamas that came with some little shorts – not something I’d ever wear. Ever. I bought the pyjamas for the top and the top only. It’s been hot though and sleeping at night in pyjama pants sucks. It’s too hot. The shorts are comfy… and when I stand I can pull them down enough that the more visible scars don’t show.
I have a new housemate and she’s seen me in the morning, in my pj’s. We’ve sat in each other’s rooms and chatted… in pj’s. I am certain she’s seen the scars but has said nothing. She knows I have some mental health issues, so self-harm would fall in to that. I still think that for people who haven’t been around it, well, it must be rather confronting.
So I’ve been thinking… well, maybe I don’t need to hide the scars so much. Not that I want to flaunt them either… but if I find clothes I like, that I feel comfortable in, but do show some scars – buy them anyway!
People, it seems, tend not to notice my arms. I’ve talked about how self-conscious I used to feel about it and people have said that they just didn’t notice. It does help that they’re weren’t deep, they healed well and they’ve faded a lot.
I worry about my niece and nephews asking about them. So far, my older niece and nephew (six and nine) haven’t said anything… at all. Nothing. I’ve sat with them, held them, played with them.. and nothing. I don’t know if they haven’t noticed or if they somehow know not to ask. I don’t understand. I worry about when they might ask. How I’d tell them that Aunty Rach used to hurt herself because she felt really bad. I wouldn’t want them to think it’s ever okay to hurt yourself.. I want them to know that talking is okay.
In saying that, what they ever know about my self-harm, until they’re adults, will be decided by their parents. I asked my sister, before I visited what to tell the six and nine year old if they asked – scratches. Simple…. and they didn’t ask anyway. As for little S, he is turning one soon, so I have a while before he’ll ask questions.