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Why Summertime Is Hard for Me as Someone With Self-Harm Scars

It happens every year. During the winter, long sleeves and long pants hide the scars that tell a story of a darker time in my life. I don’t even think about my scars. Out of sight, out of mind. No questions from others, no explanations needed. It’s like they don’t exist.

But every summer, I am faced once again with the reality that since I was fourteen years old, I have struggled off and on with self-harm.

When the short sleeves come out, I can see the scars on my arms. When I put on the first dress of the warm season, I see the scarred lines across my leg. In the summer, I can’t hide away my past the way I can in the wintertime. It’s right there, for everyone to see.

Most people don’t even notice my scars. They’re subtle, and only noticeable when you’re looking for them. And even if someone were to ask, I have a million plausible excuses for why they are there. The issue with the visibility of my scars isn’t in the reactions of other people — the issue is myself.

When I am faced with my scars every single day, I have to contend with extra baggage and feelings. I have to contend with the shame that comes from that part of my life. I have to contend with the judgment I inflict on myself. I have to contend with the reality that my body will be marked with the story of my past for years to come.

It’s daunting. But my scars tell another story as well. My scars tell the story of how I fought and won. I didn’t win every battle every time, but I am in a place now where I am stronger than ever. I am more equipped now to face negative thoughts and feelings and come out victorious. My scars tell the story of how I am growing and learning every day and becoming the best person I can be.

My scars are victory.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Unsplash photo via Jake Young.