Every time spring rolls back around and the sun compels me to roll my sleeves back up, I feel a certain sense of panic. People are going to see. People are going to know what I have done to myself. I am always overcome with dread, with embarrassment, with shame.
The thing is, I understand your concern (and I’m also grateful for it). I also understand your fear. I understand it when you don’t understand.
And I want you to know: I see you when you see. It’s alright. You don’t have to do the awkward double take when you think I’m not looking. You don’t have to apologize for the shocked wide-eyed glances nor for the worried or grossed out looks either. They make sense. I’m sorry for making you uncomfortable. You know, discomfort is one of the feelings that lead me to this. We can probably talk about that. (Ooh, bonding!)
My comfort zone is hiding. It is second nature for me to pull my sleeve over my hand and always keep it held tight with a finger or two. But how many bold and powerful things grow when buried beneath a comfort zone?
I want to be bold. I strive for powerful.
The goal is to be soft and strong at the same time, to coexist with the good and the bad parts of myself.
So here it is, spring time, and you’re probably going to see. I want you to remember this: I’m still me. I still love to doodle, I drink my tea with too much milk, and I never know what to do with my hands. I love unicorns and Snow White and the moon. I’m working on loving myself, and God, aren’t we all? I was hurt, and sometimes, I am still hurting. I am the aching wounds of a girl whose soul has felt broken, and I am the resilience of the scars that stitched her skin back together. I am healing.
I am healing.
There is no shame in the process.
I am choosing unashamed.
I am choosing transparent.
I am choosing authentic.
I am choosing myself, in every form, in every season.
(If you have questions, please feel free to ask me! I am not a mental health professional, but I have lived with my particular brain and it’s disorders for a long time now, and I am happy to share my experiences. I love the opportunity to shine a light on issues that have been so darkened for so long. One of the things that has comforted me most is the knowledge that other people have felt this way too. Other people do what I do. We are all more alike than we think sometimes. Simply, we all do things. We all have our stuff. And talking about the stuff, starting the hard conversations, sitting with a friend in a place of pain – it is so important. That’s how we fight back. That’s how we learn recovery.)
(Here’s a portion of a blog that I love, a narrative about self-harm scars that feels like it came from my own heart. I’ll link the whole blog below. ❤️)
“Please don’t be afraid of the marks that you see. It is OK to ask for my story. It’s OK to acknowledge you see what is going on. I don’t mind. Please don’t look away with embarrassment or discomfort. Only through honesty and openness can we beat the stigma of this disease. This is an illness of great shame and secrecy. Please don’t continue to let it exist in silence. It is OK that this has happened to me.”