“People who make throw away comments about cutting oneself ‘like an emo’ make me want to yell at them.”

**trigger warning for self harm, depression***

“Don’t cry and cut yourself.”

“Cut yourself like some emo/goth.”

“I hated it so much it made me want to slit my wrists.”

Half remembered, throw away comments that I hear on the regular.

I hear a variation on them I would say probably once a week, sometimes from friends, or colleagues, often strangers.
I work in a bar, it’s very easy to overhear conversations.

I have many scars, of various shapes and sizes on the top half of my right arm.
I cut myself there because I was still in secondary school when I did it, and if I did it there they were easy to hide with my school polo shirts.
I’m left handed, and it just seemed natural to hold the blade with my left hand.
I also cut my wrists a little, but it proved hard to hide them with bracelets.
I cut the inside of my thighs a couple of times too, but that was difficult to hide in the communal changing rooms.
An arm was much easier to make sure I had turned to the wall.

What I didn’t know at the time but have since been told by my doctor is that I over-produce scar tissue.
Even if I were to go for laser removal surgery, I would still have scars.

It is harder to write about this than I thought it would be.
It has been around 8 years since I self harmed, but it’s still difficult to remind myself of how I felt when I did.

People who make throw away comments about cutting oneself “like an emo.” make me want to yell at them.

People who ask me about the scars on my arm, which I do not make a lot of effort to hide because I shouldn’t have to, generally also piss me off.

I do not mind people that I know well, asking me respectfully, in private, about the scars.

I don’t really understand the need, because it’s obvious what they’re from. You can fairly safely assume that the answer to your questions will be: “I have depression, I used to self harm.”
But fine, if you feel some need to have me explain, whatever, I can do that.

But I would like to caution you against asking people.
If they want to talk about it, they will.

If not, please feel free to draw the intelligent conclusion that it’s none of your damned business; silently salute them for being able to brave the stares that not hiding your scars foster.

The whispered comments behind hands, and the brazen (usually drunk) assholes who ask you about the darkest period of your life and the constant reminder that you are stuck with on your body in the form of scars which represent a pain so all-consuming that you did not know how to process it.

These assholes will ask me casually.
As if they are entitled to ask me.
It often happens when I am on a night out, being brave, not hiding them, not hiding something that is inexorably a part of me, trying to have a good time.

Smooth.
Thanks stud.

Fortunately these outrageous dickheads are fairly few and far between, and fortunately for them, I have a good handle on my temper, and usually I’m able to make them leave me the fuck alone with a few words and a look.

I am strong, I am confident, a lot of people are not.

I’m stuck with these scars, there’s nothing I can do about that.

What I can do though is ask this of you; I would ask you to take a second to think the next time your curiosity tries to get the better of you, to think about what the scars on someone else’s body mean to them, and whether you have any right to ask about them.

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2 thoughts on ““People who make throw away comments about cutting oneself ‘like an emo’ make me want to yell at them.”

  1. I really enjoyed your post. Unfortunately, some people really have no idea about this thing called privacy. I have scars all over me, from being chronically overweight, many years ago. I over ate, due to Depression and abuse. Actually, I was on my way to eating myself to death.

    There are just some areas that show off my past, more than others. I came to accept my
    journey, including my scars. I found a saying, “Turn your scars, into stars”. I put it over on mirror and over time, I became comfortable with myself, including my scars. I get around in sleeveless tops, when it’s warm, which is something I would have never done before. I hated my arms, for years. What a total waste of time and life is too short.

    I found strangers who ask questions, snigger, stare or make comments to their friends, really have no place in my life. I think to myself, how shallow are strangers, who need to point out the imperfections of others, to make themselves feel better? They’ve obliviously got some issues; because if it were “normal”, everyone would do it and they don’t.

    So, hold your head up high; you are strong and confident. You’re a survivor and your scars are your battle wounds.

  2. I agree about this post. Many people could be SO ignorant, it is nauseating. People can be so insensitive. Don’t take their ignorance personal, they don’t know better. I know it is not easy to not be irked by such comments, but what I really am trying to tell you is not to let THEM disturb YOUR vital peace. Stay strong. ❤

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