[GUEST] Cute dresses. Sun-kissed skin. Beaches. Yacht parties. Friends. As an outdoor-loving teenager, there was everything to love about summer. But was there?
For the longest time, I dreaded it. Spent my days at home curled up in bed, shame and regret my only companion. Every morning sunlight would shine through the windows, with it's rays, like arms, beckoning me to come out. My skin would tingle in anticipation for the soft carass of its celestial warmth. Yet I couldn't.
I couldn't go out. Even if I did, I couldn't wear those cute summer outfits that lay in the bottom of my drawers. I would always opt for a long-sleeved top, always too warm for this tropical summer weather.
"Because. Just because." was my go-to answer to anyone who asked. A nonchalant answer that could mean anything yet nothing at the same time.
But here's the truth. My struggle with self harm had left me permanent scars. Scars that ran in neat lines along my arm. Raised, dented, fiery-red, white...there were all sorts.
To me then, leaving them exposed was not an option. I might as well be completely naked, putting my most private and intimate parts on public display. They were not just scars. They were train tracks, leading one into a painful journey of my past.
An online search about self harming on some local Hong Kong forums just confirmed my fears. Self harm scars were seen as weak, ugly, stupid, shameful. Even some medical professionals I've met suggested so, implying that I should get them tattooed over or surgically removed.
It took me a long time to finally come to terms with my scars and realise they were not something to be ashamed about. Having self harm scars doesn't mean I'm weak or stupid or any negative adjectives one might put to it. If anything, it is a testament to how strong I am for surviving. Sure, I might not always like them, but I can accept them. Because they dont define me, they are only a part of me, just like how the colour of my eyes or the size of my feet are a part of me.
With this, I found the courage to wear whatever I want, an action no longer dictated by the lines on my skin. For the first time in three years, I finally wore the short sleeves in the summer. At first, the journey was anything but easy. I still remember how my anxiety would shoot through the roof every time I step out of the house, my breath quickening as I walk past every single person on the street. But soon I realised people don't pay much attention to it. Aside from the occasional glances of curiosity, I was treated normally. Making conversations, buying stuff or even making new friends, it was no different. simple wedding outfits with lace
And I'm glad to say that I've reached a place where my skin could once again unashamedly bathe in the warm sunlight, my anxiety about my scars as distant as the horizon. Because at the end of the day, it is nothing to be ashamed about. And God it is liberating.