It’s great when I don’t even have to think of an excuse for the scars I have from self harming. Instead, people come up with them for me! “Did you burn yourself with an iron?” my auntie asked me of the couple of scars on my arm, before she found out about my mentalness. Taken by surprise, I gave a vague “mmmmm” in response. More recently in Indonesia, I was again questioned on my scars. This time by my uncle, asking if I got burnt by a frying pan. “Nope, by an iron,” I told him, using my auntie’s ready made explanation.

When I was in the private mental health unit in May, I met another patient who was about the same age as me. She had scars all up and down both arms yet she still wears t-shirts and singlet tops same as everybody else. We got talking about self harm and scars one day. “People aren’t actually that bad,” she told me. “There was one person who stared,” she said, “But other than that most people are fine.”

The two coupled together, and I think I may be a little bit braver. This summer season I bought shorts.  Prior to this season, last time I did was way back in 2008. And as long as I don’t have recent wounds on the show, I wear them too. The shorter ones I only wear with stockings. The slightly longer one I wear by itself. It covers most scars when I’m stood upright, but rides up to reveal scars when I’m sat down. I think I’m okay with that. Others don’t have to be. I’ll never be able to wear the denim underwear that is so popular with 15 year old girls these days. But then again, why would I want to? I’m just happy to be back out in non knee-length shorts, the first time in about three years.

15 thoughts on “Shorts

  1. I wear short sleeves despite the scars on my arms, never really caused me any problems although I would probably cover them for a job interview or similar. If people have a problem with it, that’s their look out not mine. Although equally I respect why some people prefer to keep them covered all the time.

  2. I never wear short sleeves or shorts. I want to someday in the future but atm, I’m too scared. My parents say start out with them, and then gradually the rest of the world. But even my parents is a “OMG” moment. I’m too ashamed and scared I guess.

    This summer I do want to wear shorts as the scars on my legs are no way near as bad as the ones on my arms. I aim to start with my legs. Hopefully!

    Congratulations on not caring. I want to be at that stage sometimes soon!

  3. Yay! It’s great you’re wearing what you want. I don’t cover scars anymore and the girl is right, most people aren’t that bad. In fact in my experience the only people who comment are some of the mentally ill homeless folk. And they’re nice about it 🙂

    In the end though, it’s really nobodies business. You (or anyone) shouldn’t feel forced to where certain clothes just because you have a mental illness, and if people do have a problem with it then that’s their own issue.

  4. I don’t care what people think of my scars. I wear t’shirts all the time and my scars are hardly noticed because I don’t draw attention to them by acting in a way that is unusual, like turning my arm over all the time when someone comes too close. I just pretend they aren’t there and most people do the same. I have only been asked once too about them and I just brushed it off and kept on my way. I am happy for you that you can wear shorts you like. Good for you to be brave enough!

  5. I was thinking about this the other night when I was at the beach and I was the only girl wearing board shorts and was feeling quite self conscious about it. I guess I’m lucky that I’ve got a bit of space above my knees before it starts (that sounds weird :p) so I can wear mid length shorts if I feel up to it. But I think you’re definitely right, people don’t tend to notice or give a shit if they do notice and it’s a waste of time to stress about it.

  6. I’ve been thinking about this a bit this week, as when I was in the library I noticed the librarian had (long-healed) scars on her arms. It occurred to me that I look for self harm scars more than the average person does…

    MOst of mine are upper arm and upper leg, but there are some that are visible most of the time. I only tend to fully cover up if I’m out somewhere for work or seeing The Boyfriend’s family!

    Like the others said – it’s your choice, and it’s nice to hear that you feel able to wear shorts again.

  7. I’m finding this post and all the comments really encouraging! My daughter has pretty bad scars all over her legs and some on her arms, and I have wondered what to do in future. All you brave people! But I can see what you mean: most people don’t care enough to comment, and if they do that’s their problem.

  8. Found reading this very interesting. I kept my scars hidden for ages, then one day a few months back it was warm. I wore a tshirt so a few tiny scars were visible & 3/4 leggins and one scar was visible on my leg. It was only my mum & step dad around that day. I felt quite confident until I found out my mum spoke to my friend and told her I’m ‘showing off my scars’. Since then ive kept them covered up. I admire you doing this. Good luck.

  9. I frequently have the debate with myself whether to cover or show, esp in hot weather. Most of the time I’ll wear short sleeves when its hot (uk, so no tthat often!!!) and I want to bare my arms. My legs stay covered, I don’t do shorts! But like anickdaler I cover all scars at job interviews etc, ie when I don’t want someone to judge me on appearances without knowing me.

    I was really worried before going out on placement in hospitals etc, as my uniform is short sleeved. but i braved it. and ironically the only comments I got were from other healthcare staff…… and when they asked what had happened, they quickly shut up and looked really embarressed/uncomfortable when I said “self-harm” in a very matter-of-fact voice.

    and as others have said, a lot of people don’t notice. Incidentally on a beach holiday me and a friend, both of us with scars on show, ended up getting on really well with the couple in the next apartment cos the bloke asked about scars – in an ok way, cos his daughter had used self-harm to cope. We ended up all getting on really well – so not covering up scars actually benefited our holiday!!!

    btw can u send some of ur warm weather to uk please???

  10. I have worn short sleeves in public since I was fifteen. I’m 21 now… I suffer from social anxiety disorder, so I HATE drawing attention to my self. My scars are very visible…they cover my entire left arm.

  11. congrats for being confident enough to wear shorts, and to everyone else thats found that confidence. I hope those that arent quite there will be soon, I avoided even seeing people with covered arms to beguin with but its not about other people and what they think anymore 😀 (most of the time)
    Alice x

  12. I’m still wearing long-sleeve shirts, especially at work. Working with people who have been in the mental health system for so much of their lives (both the residents in the adult foster care home and the workers), I’m afraid the immediate assumption about my often parallel scars up and down my arms will be correct–that I’m a self-harmer, have psychiatric problems of my own. What will be the judgment that follows? That my advice and “redirection” is invalid? That I’m not suited to doing that kind of work? That’s all untrue, but I’m still afraid of the judgment. Perhaps someday I’ll be as brave as you.

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