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3 Reasons I Won't Cover My Self-Harm Scar

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

On my left arm, two inches below my elbow joint, rests a gaping scar stretching 1.7 inches long and a half inch wide. It is the result of a tumultuous time in my life, when I faced abuse and harassment.

At the hospital, over a year ago now, the doctor refused to stitch it because it was self-inflicted. As a result, I am left with an ugly, huge, repulsive scar, accentuated because of its contradiction to my otherwise fine features.

I’m often asked if I’ll cover up my scar, and my answer is simple: no. I’m not against people getting tattoos to cover up their self-injury marks, but here are three reasons I won’t, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll consider leaving yours, too.

Why not?

1. Because my scar tells a story. I believe it tells a story not only of pain — although that is true also — but of victory. I struggled and I overcame my challenges. I was down, but not out. Death had its grip on me, but I was able to free myself from those destructive thoughts and lies. I refuse to cover my mark of strength. It may not be beautiful, but I feel the strength of enduring through incredible pain is.

2. My scar doesn’t define me, but it is part of who I am. It is part of the scaffolding that makes up my body: a body capable of so many amazing and intricate things.

3. My scar is a daily reminder of my body’s ability to repair itself. Of a once gaping hole leading deep into my arm, the remnants are nothing more than a pink patch of collagen. It is a daily reminder that no matter how deep my pain runs, my body can recover. Like my scar, hard experiences may leave a mark, but they won’t destroy me. Wounds can heal. They may change our make-up, but I believe we can use pain to mold us into strong, fierce people.

Image via Thinkstock.

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

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Originally published: December 28, 2016
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