When I look at my arm I hate it, it doesn’t feel a part of my body, the scars are a constant reminder that I went through a dark time and it’s something that makes me feel angry and ashamed. Living with this is something I’m struggling with at the moment. I hate having to keep my arm covered all the time it’s frustrating since I really don’t like having my forearms covered at all.
I’ve been exploring the reasons behind why I feel like this and come to the conclusion that it’s the narrative that is the problem. When you see someone for the first time you automatically form an opinion on that person it all happens in a split second. In that moment you’ve already gathered as much information to form your view of that person, this includes body image, posture and facial expressions. So from my perspective me showing my arm now effects that initial narrative.
The stigma behind self harm forces people into a certain way of thinking. I can’t control that and that’s the issue, my inability to project the appearance I want. I’ve been running through scenarios in my head on how situation will go and I feel that any respect and authority I have is eroded by the scars on my arm. Think for a second if you were in my shoes, you enter a meeting clients who are expecting you to be the expert and authoritative figure on what your discussing. For me my confidence is gone the second people might see my arm. This could be applied to so many different situations.
Changing the narrative is something I’m trying to figure out at the moment, it’s really difficult. At the moment I’m trying to reduce the scarring using Bio Oil but I’ve had to stop because I’ve aggravated it. I’m trying to work up the guts to get a tattoo but even though I did cut my arm I’m actually petrified of any pain. I think a tattoo is the right route to go but I’m not sure I’m ready for it yet. With a tattoo I can have something that I’m happy to show people. That shameful feeling will be replaced by pride, the feeling that I’ve come through the other side and have this image that means something (current ideas float between a wolf or badger). The scars will still be visible but with a tattoo I can change the narrative when I see people, I think that’s my next step in recovering.