Real Talk #1: Summertime & scarringSaturday, September 19, 2015
Any time of year can be tough for those of us with scars, but summer is especially difficult. Rising heat results in the parading of skimpier and skimpier outfits every day, and the constant pressure to fit in and appear 'normal' can cause us the curse the marks left on our bodies from both physical and mental illnesses alike.
I was inspired to write this post by a courageous lady called Michelle Elman who I actually went to primary school with in Hong Kong. She has recently released a campaign called 'Scarred not Scared' which has seen a picture of her in a bikini exposing many scars from all the operations she's gone through in her life go viral - simply googling her name will bring up pages of top websites talking about her courage.
Much like Michelle, I've spent many years looking for longer clothes to cover myself up in the summertime because I'm scared to be judged for the scars that litter my upper thighs. However, Michelle has decided that enough is enough and that she's proud of her body and all that she's gone through, which is so inspiring to see. Although I wouldn't say I'm proud, I've reached a level of acceptance and am no longer that bothered by others seeing the marks that years of mental illness has left on my body. In fact, this summer was the first when I didn't immediately rush to grab a towel when getting out the pool, because I no longer care about what people see - and after so many years of panic and insecurity, that is a big weight off of my shoulders.
The trouble I'm having is with distinction - Michelle has 'battle wounds' that were ultimately forced upon her in order to keep her healthy and happy, yet mine are essentially self-inflicted. So, can I still be proud of something I did to myself, rather than having it done to me? I don't want to make a mockery of her campaign by comparing my self-harm scars to her operation scars, because who's to say that they are equal? Despite this, seeing that I'm still alive today and have only old scars to show means that I've been fighting a battle (like so many of you out there) alongside Michelle, albeit against a different evil.
I wanted to talk about her cause today because it's a very inspiring one - no matter what you're insecure about, you should follow Michelle's lead and simply embrace it, because you simply can't change most things. So, although our scars have originated from different places, the message is the same - fuck the haters and learn to be comfortable in your skin, trust me - you'll be so much happier for it.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Have you experienced similar insecurities?