This does not mean that I am happy that in the past I turned to self-harm as a coping mechanism. If I could turn back time and take the razor out of my younger self’s hand, I would. However, I can’t, and there is no point in dwelling on that. What I mean is that my scars are a physical manifestation of my survival. They reflect that, despite my weaknesses and my battles, I am still here. I am still standing, independent, and truly healthy for the first time in years. Today, I looked down at my scars and realized how truly beautiful they are. I looked at those wounds that marked up my insides – those terrible mental scars – and I saw the beauty in them as well. I recognized, finally, that these marks make up my story. They are who I was, who I am, and who I can become. I am stronger because of them.
I am no longer ashamed to wear short sleeves, nor to answer the inevitable questions. Does it cause discomfort for some? Yes, I am sure it does. I know my father will never be able to really see the beauty in the lines on my arm. He will always see the hurt and the personal betrayal. He will feel concern and perhaps wonder what more he could have done. You know what? That’s okay. He doesn’t have to see it. No one does, except for me.
I don’t know what it is specifically that you are struggling with. Whether it be self-harm, PTSD, bipolar, OCD, etc., I want you to look at those scars. Regard them with open eyes – both those on the outside and the inside. Now, feel the heart beating in your chest. You are alive, despite the marks. You have made it this far. Why would you give up? You are still you, even if you’re exhausted, irritable, feeling hopeless… Whatever it is, you are still you and you are still worth it. Look at your battle scars and take pride in the fact that you are a survivor. That makes you my hero.
Is your head above water? Good. Keep kicking. You’ve got this.