For the last couple years, I have always worn long sleeves and hoodies. It’s not like I dislike them, but sometimes in the summer and spring it can be a challenge considering how hot it gets. For some reason, just about two months ago, I’ve broken out of my shell and started wearing short sleeves again.
Interestingly enough, covering my arms became such a usual thing because I was trying to cover my scars that I almost never thought about it. As time went on, I never had to think about doing it; I just did. But for some reason, starting about two months ago, I suddenly started wearing short sleeve shirts again. And to my surprise, I barely even realized I was doing it.
When I noticed, I got worried. Could people see my scars? Could they see that I used to self-harm? The concern went away after about a week and I’ve been doing it more often. Of course, some people think I’m doing it for attention, when in actuality, I’m not. I’ve grown as a person over the last two years, and even within the last two months, I’ve grown. I’m learning to accept it, and that scars are something I’ll always have to deal with. I can’t glamorize it and say that I’m a “tiger who earned my stripes,” but I can see where the saying comes from. In a strange way, it shows just how far I’ve come. I am no longer doing that to myself. The fact that I almost forgot they existed is a very good sign.
If I could go back in time, I’d definitely not self-harm. Unfortunately, I can’t rewind time, but I can say this: If you’re self-harming, trust me when I say this. You’re going to regret it someday. It can be hard to adjust once the regret kicks in, but hopefully you’ll be able to move forward. Don’t be ashamed of who you used to be. Be motivated to move forward and be a better you. Your scars and your past doesn’t define you.
Your present defines you. And I’m going to continue looking to the future while living in the present, proudly wearing short sleeves in the summer. I am no longer ashamed. And you shouldn’t be either.
Love yourself. Be strong.