Here I am, lying on a beautiful beach on the island of Majorca. The sun is blazing down on me as I’m lying on my sun bed feeling somewhat relaxed and very happy. I can hear the waves gentle splashing just meters away from me and the sound of happy kids and adults playing in the sea.
Perfect! Only it’s not quite as perfect and relaxing as I’d like. I know, there’s no pleasing some people.
Why would this picture-perfect moment not be so great for me, and for many others?
After years of self-harm, my body is covered in scars upon scars. Many people will say or think “so what? It’s nobody elses business”. I wish I could feel that. Of course, I agree with that statement, but it is not so easy to feel that and behave in that way. It is far too hot to wear anything but a bikini or swimming costume at the moment. I havr managed to be brave enough to lie here with my arms and legs out in the sun. But most of the time I am worrying about who can see my scars and what they are thinking. I try to make sure I am lay in a certain position so as to minimise the risk of my right leg (the most severely scarred) being seen by too many. I so wish I didn’t care about what others think. I wish I could ignore my deep-set insecurities and just forget about the scars and judgements. But I can’t, and no matter what you may say to me, I will not be able to forget they’re there.
I look around and wonder how many other people on this beach feel self-conscious about something. I wonder if it’s human nature to care so much about how other people perceive us. Are others here worried about how big or small they are. Or worried about the spots or scars they have?
It’s easy enough for people to say ignore what others think. It’s easy enough to say I’ll be back in the UK soon and won’t see any of these people again. But it is not so easy to sit here with such personal memories on display for everyone to see.
Some may think I only have myself to blame. I just wish I’d listened when people would ask me to think about my future… if I knew how much these scars would affect me now maybe it would have helped me back then.
It’s all well and good pondering the what-ifs. I can’t undo the past; I have to live with it. Who knows; maybe it will get easier in time. One thing I do know is that being uncomfortable with any part of your body is a horrible feeling; but I think it’s so common too. If I had the magic answer you’d be first to know. Maybe I’ll work it out at some point, but for now, I just need to accept that this is how it is and I cannot change it.