Scars are usually a touchy subject for a lot of people, given that the majority of us have one or two. I remember when I was younger and I tried to talk to a friend about scars and she laughed and said “oh yeah! I think I have one of those”. Until that point I hadn’t quite realised how abnormal it was to have more than “just a few”. This talk had happened just before I turned 18 and at that point I was pretty damned pleased with myself that I would turn into an adult without a 3 figure number of scars. Sure 97 wasn’t that different to 100 but at the time it felt like it was a world of difference.Now my number is over 120, and at that point I relatively gave up on counting them. I keep a rough tab for no particular reason.

The main thing I have learned with talking to people about my scars when they have asked is that, well people seem to place a certain hierarchy on scars. “That’s tiny, that doesn’t count”, “That’s only a white one, I am sure that didn’t even hurt” or “You did that to yourself”, “oh god how did that happen to you”. People only want to take certain sizes, colours and causes seriously, they only have sympathy for something they deem to be worthy. If it was an accident, doesn’t count. If its self inflicted, its your own stupid fault. Surgery and animal related scars I have found tend to get the kindest reactions from people, but even then everyone has to put their own value on it.

The majority of my scars sit on my arms and hands, these ones are odd little shapes and most of them are white. I found out at the age of 12 a friend had avoided touching my hands because she thought I had a skin condition because of how they looked. These ones came from my brother mostly. He has severe autism and developmental delays and when he was younger it was hard for him to express his anger when upset so he lashed out. I have plenty of other scars on my legs from pure clumsiness and dyspraxia. Those ones are purple and bigger, mostly from falling over or slipping while shaving.Anyone with dyspraxia or hand tremors will know that shaving your legs quickly becomes a daunting task, getting through it without a single cut or graze becomes a huge personal success. After these I have my medium shaped scars, some on my arms one on my hand. Those are from my panic disorder. When I first had daily panic attacks I couldn’t cope, without noticing most of the time I would just start scratching myself until I calmed down. It was soothing weird as that sounds. Then there are my surgery scars, most people will never see those as they are pretty low on my pelvis.

All of these scars look different, feel different and have different stories behind them, and people will react differently to each of them. Some people will insult me, or pity me or completely misunderstand me based on these small coloured patches on my body. None of them are particularly big or noticeable but still people want to judge me by them sometimes, and that use to get to me. I use to wonder about which ones were valid, which ones aren’t, which ones should I be honest about or lie about and shouldn’t I just try to cover them? But what ever value other people put to a scar, or you put to it, its going to be there. Odds are it will fade with time but that can take years, so its much easier on yourself to learn to accept it rather than to fight it.

All scars have different meanings and stories behind them, and honestly there is nothing wrong with any scar.A scar means something bad happened and you made it, nothing more. There is nothing wrong with you just because your skin healed a slightly different colour, and that’s all it is, a different colour. If it has to mean anything let it mean you are interesting, that you have a story however big or small. Scars don’t have to have the huge negative connotations society and other people want to give them. My favourite reaction to any of my scars was my 4 year old cousin. When she was 3 she took my arm and twisted it around to look at them and after a while announced ” they are pinks?” and I just said “yes, pretty cool right?” Because that’s all they need to be, if you will let them. Pretty colours on skin, nothing more nothing less.


Trying to find normalcy

Normal isn’t a word that I have ever much related to. As a child I never felt this need to fit in that I know is hard for so many other children. I got picked on and called weird but honestly that never bothered me. I would much rather be me and didn’t see the appeal of trying to be just like everyone else when what everyone else was doing was,well, boring.

It was only recently I have wanted to “blend in”. There gets a point where being yourself is all well and good but you wish someone understood. I felt that a lot over Christmas and the new year. Its hard to open up to your friends and family when you know they don’t fully understand what you are going through much as they try, or when blatantly don’t want to try. I think we all have that relative that looks at us in such a way you know they are thinking “why can’t you just be normal?” and its heart breaking. As someone who has always been unapologetic to be myself it was strange to feel so isolated and not for anything I ever expected. I was use to it when it was because of how I dressed or how I acted or even my mental health.

When people hated me for the things I loved or accepted about myself I couldn’t have cared less. Its when the things we hate about ourselves isolate us when it really becomes difficult. Over Christmas I hated my body for making me feel so rotten. Over Christmas you want to be with your friends and family and to be happy and take a break from the usual issues you face, but for me they just got worse, I found myself just wanting to fit in with the fun, to not be in pain or struggle socially or be unsure in what to say. Its hard when the people you love are asking how it feels to be better now when you know odds are you are never going to be better.

I got back to university this week and was prepared for this to just get worse.I thought being surrounded by my peers would just remind me how wrong and broken I felt, until my housemate got home. She asked how I had been and I am a pretty open person so I just said “well they gave me anti depressants”. She smiled and said “Ooo which ones?” and we proceeded to swap notes on side effects and dosage as though we were discussing food or a TV show. It was such a small thing but moments like that just help to remind you that there’s always someone out there who gets it, and sometimes that just makes it all feel normal. And boring as normal is, it feels good sometimes.