I started writing this post a while ago. And it’s now kind of a post of 2 halves.
Who do I show my scars to?
There’s no lying. I’m saying this is me. The dark part of me.
So how do I choose who to show?
I wear no sleeves when it’s hot, and push my sleeves up when I need to when I’m out and about. In these moments strangers who see, don’t/won’t know me, so why should I care what they might think? . I used to show them when I worked in A&E. We had many self harm patients, who may never have actually noticed my scars, but if they did, I wanted them to know it’s ok, you can be ok, and I am not judging you. Now at my current job, when meeting new clients I hide them. My close friends and family know, and there is no need to cover up at all. Some family members however, want me to cover my arms all the time, god forbid someone would know. They buy me scar improvers. It’s nice they care, but come on, these scars are not going to be dramatically improved. I am not an embarrassment.
I’d love to not care about them in any situation. I’d love to not have to worry what a customer might think. But I do, so I choose every day who to show my dark side to, even if I don’t realise I’m doing it.
Over Christmas my In laws have made me think about my scars more. I caught my brother in law blatantly staring, which is understandable I know. But how should I react? How do you react? I used to feel embarrassed and if talking I would shut up fast and avoid eye contact. Now I’m tempted to say a stupid remark, such as ‘oh, is there something on my arm?!?’ I don’t do that though. In this instance, I carried on talking but was looking at him the whole time so when he looked at me he might realise I saw him staring. It might have made him uncomfortable. And maybe I’m wrong to do that. But it makes me feel more in control about being stared at if I can acknowledge it in some small way and not act or be ashamed.
My Mother in law stared at the newer scars, she hasn’t seen before. I actually enjoyed her staring. My mental health is embarrassing for my parents in law. They refuse to talk about it with me or my husband, despite our best efforts, being open, and giving them the opportunity to ask any questions they want (we gave them time to think about this, so it wasn’t on the spot!). They do try to engage by telling me about TV shows with bipolar, but when I mention how my experience is and how it differs from the people on the show, they panic and shut me down asap. So I was oddly pleased when I saw her stare. It made me proud of the hell hole of a psychotic episode I survived after our 3rd miscarriage. It made me proud of me and my husbands partnership. It made me proud of my husband for being the supportive and amazing man and father he is, that they sadly can’t realise. It also made me happy that I have it written on my body how hard that time was for her to see. It is written that when my husband rang them up to tell them things were bad, really bad, he was being honest. That when he could have really used support and a caring ear to unload to, they didn’t listen and couldn’t provide that. It is also written that we survived, and we made it through. And most importantly we are good and we are happy. So thank you mother in law for staring today. I hope you learned something too.