**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.
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.