It’s not what you think… Or is it.

I used my epilator on my arms yesterday, because I wanted to test it out. After doing the one, I realized why I keep hair on my arms–it hides the scars.

For years, I was taught to be ashamed of these because self mutilation is not social acceptable. I am not advocating for it, but I want those who have fought through it to know you don’t have to hide your scars.

We fought the good fight, we did our best to cope. We all had vices growing up, some turned inward while others turned outward and yet others do both.

I was blessed with friends who were fighting the same fight with me, friends who would listen and try to understand and reassure me they were there if I needed the next time. Friends and a support group that helped me find different outlets. A family who loved me and did everything they could to help. A husband who looks past all that and loves every part of me.

But, the world is not always like that. My life was also filled with “friends” who would yell at me when I struggled, call me names, and say I was doing it for attention. I had people in my life who were so judgmental and close minded that they wouldn’t even bother trying to understand what was going on, but I was weak and stupid for doing what I did.

Life for everyone has its ups and downs, but when you feel like you gave absolutely no control over what is happening, when you’re getting hurt, who is hurting you–basically anything in life… You try to cope. For some it’s alcohol, drugs, or sex. Yet others turn to self mutilation. Most people don’t do it for attention. They don’t want anyone to know or want to talk about it. Unless they slip up or you’re really close, chances are you wouldn’t suspect it.

It’s done as a coping mechanism, a way to try and survive the hurt inside. Some people do it because they truly see no reason to keep living. Again, I am not saying do it. I’d rather see someone listen to music, paint, draw, go for a run, smash a plate–whatever healthy way you need to use to cope.

Those who don’t understand it, you don’t have to. But don’t judge or name call, it makes it so much worse. It only adds gasoline to the fire.

Those who are fighting or fought, don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone. It happens to even the strongest people. Much like any addiction, you have good days and bad days. Celebrate the good and keep fighting the bad ones. Wear them as your stripes that remind you how far you have come. Do not be ashamed. I am not proud of them, but I am proud of where I am now.

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