should I continue to cover my entire body in summer?(10 Posts)
A bit of explanation- I used to self harm many many many years ago, so have severe, but old therefore white, scarring.
Summer is hell for me. Before I had kids I'd wear short sleeves (when not at work- always sleeves for work) and think fuck it, but when the eldest started going to school I only got my arms out if it was roasting hot. I know kids can be cruel and I was worried about them getting bullied. I knew that people saw my scars as I would get comments on the bus etc- mainly positive like 'well done on giving it up' or tales about family members, but it made me aware that they are obvious. I've tried camouflage make-up but all that happens is that I end up getting it all over my clothes and it doesn't really make that much of a difference.
I moved to a new area a couple of years ago and my arms and legs now only come out when I'm running. Last summer was really hot, and hellish for me. I'm dreading this summer. I'm fed up of looking like a frump, especially when the shape of my body is actually quite neat. My sleeves always end up slipping up etc so I'm pretty sure anyone who has spent any time with me must have seen some scars, and lots of people know I've got MH issues anyway as I've been in hospital. I'm toying with the idea of maybe not wearing long sleeves all the time- e.g. if really hot, but I am concerned that I run the risk of people judging me- even if they've been ok with me so far. So I'm not asking on MH board as they'd all say "go ahead". So, the question is- seriously, would you judge? Is it better that I'm sweaty and frumpy on the hottest days but unoffensive, or looking a bit more stylish/well presented but with scars?
Firstly, well done on not self-harming anymore!
I would say go for it. You have worn short sleeves before, so you can do it again. I'm sure you will find it quite liberating. I very much doubt your kids would be bullied. I would not judge you, although I might look, trying to work out why you have scars.
Trying to think about what I'd actually think if I saw someone with scars. Firstly I certainly wouldn't judge you in a negative way. I would probably have a look but make an effort not to stare as I would presume that they wouldn't like that.
However, the fact that someone openly shows their scars would make me think they were brave and confident and that they had overcome their harming. I wouldn't comment, even if they were a good friend. I'd take their lead and only mention it if they brought it up and were happy to discuss it.
Scars are not offensive (as you describe your covered-up self as inoffensive in contrast). You should not have to feel uncomfortable (hot, sweaty, frumpy) to 'spare' other people.
I won't say that I just simply don't notice if I see someone with what are clearly self harm scars; I do notice but I don't judge them (what is there to judge, really?). I think there's something quite confident and self-assured about just wearing what you want.
I'd never judge. And as someone who has very big, obvious surgical scars from above my elbow to my knuckles on one arm, plus a pretty deformed arm, I've been surprised at how much people don't notice tbh.
Do whatever you are comfortable with
i'm coming from the angle that i too have self harm scars, hundreds of them, all over my arms, legs, neck, shoulders, anywhere i could reach basically.
I wouldn't make myself uncomfortable to spare other people, if they judge, that's on them NOT you. I wear short sleeves if it's hot and damn anyone who stares or judges. You shouldn't hide yourself away for fear of other people's reactions. I know from experience that friends will have seen more of your scars than you realise, sleeves slip, clothes ride up etc
Do what makes YOU comfortable, don't make yourself ill at ease for others perceived benefit. You deserve to be comfortable and at ease as much as anyone else. Perhaps you could have some stock phrases or replies on hand IF anyone comments.
I know how hard it is to stop self harming and you are doing so so well to be at the point you are now, managing without it. don't knock your achievement
Scars, from whatever cause, are totally not offensive. You should do whatever suits you best and dress in a way that you please. Other people's issues and lack of manners are their problem alone.
BTW you don't need to be sweaty either way - you can cover up in cool loose clothing if that's what you want. I wear longish dresses in the Mediterranean summer instead of the fashionable tight denim shorts and a cropped sun top as I find the latter very hot and uncomfortable.
I don't think many people would judge you if they saw the scars and if they did then they're not the kind of people you need in your life anyway. If you feel more comfortable baring your skin, (emotionally and heat wise) than you would covering up then I say get those arms out! You can never guarantee what people's reaction would be so go for what you feel most comfortable with. And if that's covering up, then so be it. Do what feels right for you.
I'm sure you will know that actor Amanda Redman has extensive scarring on her arms( from a burn as a toddler ) and she doesn't cover them.
I'm guessing that your scars from cutting must be MUCH less noticeable than hers. And it's obviously not held her back in her career.
thank you for all your supportive messages. I know people will notice, I think it's more the thinking I'm crazy or dangerous that I worry about! Perhaps those fears weren't really warranted. My kids are now settled in their friendship groups, and confident in who they are so I'm not so worried about bullying now. Maybe it would be ok to experiment with less than full length sleeves on occasion and see how things go.
And I never knew about Amanda Redman!
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