When My Skin Tells A Different Story Than Yours: How to Respond to Self-Harm Scars


Warrior Lines, with me always

My Relationship with My Self-Harm Scars

My scars from ten years of self-harm are the only visible sign I bear of the immense pain & terrors I have survived during the past two decades.

I am a survivor. I feel no shame in claiming that word. It is immensely appropriate considering I did not overcome; I endured. I did not stand without ever falling; I rose again even though it cost a piece of my soul every time. I have survived, but barely; after all I’ve lost, it barely feels like I’m even still here. “Survivor” is a term that validates my painful journey.

I will live with the internal scars whether or not they be externally visible. Self-harm scars are validation of my journey.

They are my battle scars, my warrior lines, my tiger stripes of relentless fury — for when the fires of hell threatened to destroy my very being, I found a way to survive, even though it cost me pieces of my own literal flesh & blood.

I wear the lines upon my skin boldly, proud of surviving something so indescribably horrifying; not only that, but I survived with grace & style, stepping into my power now in ways I never would have imagined before.

These scars are a reminder that I will never forget where I’ve been. I will always honour the survivor within me; she will always be there, lurking in the dark shadows of my soul. I choose to own her beauty rather than fear it simply because it’s different & misunderstood by most.

Ideal Response to Self-Harm Scars

“Nice tiger stripes!”

“Sup, warrior?” *gestures towards visible scars*

“You are clearly stronger than whatever darkness threatened to destroy you, & I’m so proud of your warrior spirit.”

Do not condemn me. Cheer me on.

Do not judge my pain simply because you cannot fathom it.

Do not dismiss my scars just because they make you uncomfortable.

Do not fear my scars; they have became / are a piece of my beauty. They are a piece of my entirety.

Do not shame my scars just because of the way they add character to the story my skin tells.

Without the reliable coping tool of self-harm for the past ten years, I genuinely doubt I could have dealt with the darkness without drowning to death in it.

At one point, these scars were my best friends that kept me alive. I will never shame them for sticking around even when they’re no longer needed; they have become a beautiful addition to the artistry of my flesh.

Watch me unleash my magic as I heal internally.

These external scars will only make me that much more proud when I am truly victorious.