I Feel Ridiculous

So this just happened…

Woman: What’s that on your arm? *Points at one of my more prominent scars*

Me: Oh that… That happened when I was a kid. (Lie)

Woman: Were you in an accident or something?

Me: Uh yeah, well I was in my dad’s garage and yeah… (Lie)

Woman: What happened? It must have been pretty serious?

Me: I was running and um my dad had lots of tools out and… uh metal… I ran and I fell. (Lie)

Woman: Oh okay, it must have been pretty bad…

Me: It was so long ago, I can’t really remember. (Lie)

Firstly, of all of the unbelievable lies to come up with, why did I have to come up with that? My scars don’t match up with that story. My scars don’t match up with any story apart from self-harm. I’ve never been able to come up with a story beyond, “It was an accident.” Usually people stop asking questions after that. Actually, most people don’t even ask me about my scars, they just stare at them and make up their own mind.

Secondly, why is it any of her business? Why did she have to ask so many questions? Why did I have to answer them? What if that made up story had been true and really traumatic? I’ll probably never see that woman again, why did I feel compelled to lie? Why is it so hard to talk about self-harm? The woman obviously didn’t believe my story so I looked like a liar and a messed up self-harmer. What would she have said if I had told her the truth?

I feel really icky after that conversation. My scars are obvious but they feel even more obvious now. It’s really hot today so I can’t walk around in long sleeves. I don’t want to walk around in long sleeves. They’re my arms. It’s my business. Why do I care so much about what just happened?


13 thoughts on “I Feel Ridiculous

  1. I think you shouldn’t feel bad for it. In a strange way it’s good for people to be curious, because it might our culture is slowing moving towards being okay with hearing the truth. On the other hand it really wasn’t any of her business, so you have no reason to feel bad about lying to her either.

    I’m always curious how people who have more prominent scars handle that sort of thing. I (and maybe it sounds weird) actually like the look of scars. Of course I try not to be rude about it if I see someone with scars, so I don’t strike of conversations with people about them, but when someone wears them out in the open I like to make a point to smile at that person. Especially if they look like self-harm scars, because you never know when someone needs a smile.

    If you’d like a lie which is based on a true story, I welcome you to use the story of one of my most prominent scars which looks like self harm and totally wasn’t. It also looks like it was serious and it totally wasn’t.
    Really simple story too so it can work easily: A dog jumped up on me and scratched me.
    I’m not sure why but maybe because of some germs under his claws when he scratched me it healed funny.

    I was holding my kitten when that happened, it was a really big dog, like an irish wolfhound or something, and I had scratches on my upper arms and lower arms on both sides.
    For some reason only one of the little over a dozen scratches healed as a scar. And a really prominent one at that. The scratches were really shallow, literally no reason for it to scar so obviously, but it looks like I had a serious gash. (it’s keloided, something most of my other scars are not [exception: on my hand where I had needed stitches due to a really stupid accident involving a shampoo bottle and a pair of scissors.)
    I laugh when I get asked about it.

    So yeah, feel free to use dog attack. It might not initially seem more believable, but here I am with this scar to prove it happens sometimes. 🙂

    Other possible explanation: cuts from running past trees with sharp branches, and brambles.
    (seriously, my friend has crazy obvious scars that could be mistaken for self harm, though she and I know they aren’t. All over her lower-legs and forearms just from my taking her through a ravine once – Just once!. They weren’t even deep cuts! Some people scar easily.)

  2. Thank you for your comment and for letting me borrow your story if I need it. I think the only problem is my scars don’t look random enough to look like an accident and there are older and newer scars. I think it’s so nice that you smile at people with scars, particularly self-harmers. It can be so off-putting when people stare and have shocked or disgusted faces.
    Were you and your kitten okay after the dog attack?
    Cuts from running past trees makes me think of camping and bushwalking. There are leaves here that have zig-zag edges and so are basically like serrated knives when you walk or run past them.
    It is good for people to be curious, I guess but that particular conversation seemed more like nosiness than a genuine wanting to know and understand.

  3. Once I was sat in a restaurant with my partner and at the table opposite me, probably not even three feet away two women were having a very loud conversation about my scars and how “disgusting” they were and how awful it was that I wasn’t covering them up. I left the restaurant and cried, and afterwards I thought of all the badass things I could have and should have done and said instead.
    I totally understand the need to lie. People are curious and rude and it’s so easy to say “I’ll never see her again I don’t care what anybody thinks” but when it comes to it it’s ok to feel like this and it’s ok to want to lie and not want to talk about it. Don’t feel ridiculous and please don’t beat yourself up! Lots of people understand and those that don’t aren’t worth the time of day.
    I hope you’re feeling better

    • Oh my gosh, those women were such assholes to you! They might have thought your scars were disgusting but they are disgusting people! You’re right, people like that aren’t worth the time of day, nor are they worth a an explanation or a lie. Thank you, I am feeling better today.

  4. I think she was just showing concern for something that happened to you. Likely she knows nothing about SH, saw the marks and maybe felt some empathy Double S. The story you were given is good. I know on a bus, train or in a mall you don’t want to explain in depth where the marks came from, tis better to brush it off and change the topic.


    *big hugs*

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