I have a lot of self harm scars. They are pretty extensive. To the point I have had comments in public bathrooms as I am rolling up my sleeves to wash my hands, being told that “no body wants to see that” or how I should be more careful since there are “children around”. I hate having to grab something just out of reach as the fear of my sleeve rolling up too far and my scars being revealed to anyone who steals themselves a glance. This might sound superficial and maybe I shouldn’t worry about my appearance as much as I do. But what you should know is that wearing short sleeves will grant me several things; Feeling peoples gaze fixated on my arms. Double takes and turning heads. Seeing people nudge there friend slightly so they can stare together at some of my darkest moments that will forever be etched on my skin. Some people (strangers I must add) have even gone to the effort of lightly touching my skin to feel the scar tissue, in a similar way I would have watched them place there hands on an expectant mothers stomach. I don’t know if they have the same thought process behind both of these actions but I can’t help thinking that maybe they think my scars are something I have ‘grown’ or a mark of pride? I hope one day that I will look at my scars and feel proud of the journey I have faced. But quite honestly this is going to be a very personal and key part of my recovery that will never tally up with the way my scars are ageing or the way that other people see them from the outside looking in. My scars will fade, they will attract less attention as the months go by but the meaning will not fade. Those nights will never be un-done. It is hard to know that the link between the emotions and the hundreds of scars I have is almost irrelevant. How I put self harm on a pedestal, it was my world and I wanted my scars to show that- but they never truly will. It’s the same with other peoples perception of my scars, they will not understand the reasons behind them. My scars do not define me in the same way cutting once did. They are a souvenir of my struggles, from a trip that gave me a lot of baggage.