Saturday, June 11, 2016

I Stand Unashamed

I Stand Unashamed
I do not apologize for my scars anymore. I refuse to.
Most of them are small, discreet. Some you would have to look for to find, but I have one set on my arm that is easily be spotted by those I come into contact with every day. I have agonized over these small white lines for almost two years.
I was not mentally “present” in my body when I made those marks, yet the first thing I said to my mom was, “I’m sorry.” I tried every possible means to hide them that I could think of from make-up, to different kinds of bandages, to long sleeved clothing.
I hid them out of shame and embarrassment. I hid them out of fear. I was afraid of the negative reactions that would come with having scars on my body. But hiding is difficult, some days I forgot the band aid, some days they just wouldn’t stick. Slowly as I grew confidence in myself I began covering my arm less and less.
This is when I really had to learn to fight for myself. I had to be ready to accept negative feedback when it came in. And boy did it come in.
From most people it was just a small look, or maybe a whisper that wasn’t quiet enough. Other times people would take it upon themselves, whether I knew them or not, to tell me their opinion on the matter. As if they had all of the answers I lacked. I look back at certain encounters and wish I could run a do-over with all the information I know today. I wish I could have stayed cool under pressure when I was berated at Walmart by a mom I had never seen before. I wish I could have stood up to the mean girls at YW Camp who spoke not far enough behind my back, or who told me I was going to hell and that I had a devil inside of me. I wish I would have educated and informed, instead of running away. But there is no use dwelling in what could have been.
I prefer to celebrate the now. In a few days’ time on June 16, 2016 I will celebrate one year free of self-harm. If I were running the AA program it would be considered my first birthday. So now I do what I could not a year ago and Stand Unashamed.
Do not misunderstand; I do not condone injuring one’s self in any way. I consider those who find it “beautifully tragic” to be either ignorant or in need of help, probably both.
But I will never apologize for my scars.
I view them as a part of me and my story. I have sustained many injuries to my body that cannot be seen, these just happen to be on the outside. They tell the story of the girl I used to be. More importantly, my scars show me the person I am now. They show the healed white lines of an old mark that has been aged with time. They show the battle I fought and survived. They show the girl who has left them behind.
I go through the majority of my days without noticing them anymore. Only sometimes will they catch my eye and I’ll find myself thinking of a world I used to live in. Then I take a breath I remind myself of the strength the healing shows.
There was a time I would have become angry when someone stared a little too long or asked a probing question but now I am confident in my answer, “They are from another lifetime.”