When I was younger, I had pretty bad acne that took about five years to fade because my face was so badly ignited. It healed up pretty well, the only scars left are on my forehead from when I manically scratched and cut my skin open because I hated my face back then. I used to be ashamed of them because they´re so noticeable amd deep, but now I´m proud of them. They´re a reminder that I´ve overcome my past and they belong to me like freckles belong to others
I have lots of scars. From various things. One I have on my chin from when I fell out of a swing as a baby, a few from playing sports over the years. And also self harm. Those are the majority I guess. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can be proud yet, but I’m getting there. Cause to me they represent battles lost, but I won the war. The war against myself. And that’s something to be proud of.
Some of them are noticeable and others not so much. Each one has a story. A reason why it is there. I wear mine with timidity right now, but I hope in the future I’ll be able to be proud of them.
I’d like to apologise for the lack of activity on this blog, I know I haven’t posted much in the past few weeks. But I haven’t received any submissions, and though a few people seem interested in the blog, it’s hard to keep it going when I’m not getting anything back (and that’s what the blog was intended to be… I don’t want all the posts to be about fictional people with scars and quotes and poems. Primarily, I want it to be about you).
So if you have any thoughts, suggestions or submissions, please send them my way…
(I know it’s not Monday, but I feel the need to post this now. Dedicated to anyone and everyone who has self harmed…)
Yes, I have scars, as you may have seen
Scars on the outside, and scars you can’t see
Some are old, and some… not so much
You may not like them, but they’re a part of me
These aren’t my failures
They’re not a plight
These are the stories
Of how I survived
I was in a war
A battle that just wouldn’t end
A fight against myself
Fought over and over again
I was injured in these fights
More times than I care to think
But I’m still standing, I’m alive
I lived, I survive, I win!
So laugh if you want! Go ahead and make fun
Cos inside I know that I’m free
I fought! I survived! I WON!
And no one can take that from me!
I’ve got scars on my wrists
And scars on my arms
I’ve got scars on my legs
And more on my heart
This is the day he was taken from me
This … this is the time I was abused
These aren’t just marks, if you look close enough
These are (my) battle wounds!
They’re self inflicted
All the depression, the hurt!
But I’m still here
They’re signs of my worth
I fought against the dark and desperation
I carried on when I wished I was gone
So your insults are falling onto skin made of stone
I don’t care how I look, my battle is done!
Wounds on my flesh, wounds on my heart
Signs of the struggle inside
These are my battle scars
And I wear them with pride!
The Phantom of the Opera is an iconic figure from a popular musical, whose story has always intrigued me. As the story goes, he obsesses over and stalks one of the dancers from the Opera house – Christine – and teaches her to sing. When, out of curiousity, she unmasks him, he explodes in anger, and when she shows interest in another man, his obsession turns an ugly shade of green and he nearly murders Raoul – Christine’s lover.
But what is most interesting about this character to me, is the tragic past that he holds, and the motives behind his vicious and possessive actions. As the iconic poster for the musical is simply the mask that the Phantom wears, and up until the very end when Christine unmasks him, part of his face is always covered, clearly his facial deformities are a large part of who he is and how he sees himself, and they’ve had a detrimental effect on his life.
One of the Phantom’s own lines – “This face which earned a mother’s fear and loathing, a mask; my first unfeeling scrap of clothing” leaves you with no other choice but to feel for him. Born, with a facial deformity which covers a little over half of his face, in late 19th century France, he was never going to be accepted into society.
It’s unclear what his early childhood entailed, but clearly his mother remained unaffectionate towards him due to his deformity and somehow, he ended up in a circus-like environment where he was beaten for having an ugly face, and called the ‘Devil Child’.
It’s from this rejection by everyone in society, and the continued abuse during his childhood that his dark and somewhat unstable psyche stems. For the Phantom his scar, his deformity is a curse, and even with the woman he loves – Christine – he will not allow her to see his real face. Possibly because he’s afraid she will despise him for it as everyone else has, probably because he both loathes and is ashamed of his own appearance.
It’s such a tragic story; that being born with an unusual face drove him underground – literally, and he was forced to live as a shadow, as a ghost, a phantom of the Opera House. He was a genius, an incredible composer, a magician and illusionist; a wonderful man in many respects. But although he was also a madman with a murderous obsession and obscure beliefs, he was never a devil child. It was his mistreatment, his unsavory circumstances that drove him to his dark insanity…
Imagine the possibilities had he been treated as everyone else, despite his appearance – the incredible composer allowed to live in the limelight, allowed and able to love a woman without his great insecurities about rejection.
But what makes the story a true tragedy is that Erik, the Phantom, is so convinced that his deformity makes him unworthy of all these things he lusts after, namely, Christine. And yet that is the thing she cares about least.
In the finale song, he sings “This face, the infection that poisons our love" to Christine, telling her to face her fate - a lifetime of looking upon such a haunting face, and when Raoul begs him to show some compassion, he snarls, "The world showed no compassion to me!”. Indeed, it’s no coincidence that Raoul happens to be a very handsome man, and it’s likely that the Phantom is so jealous of his effect on Christine, because he believes it to be all for his appearance.
But Christine makes it clear that it’s not his face that has driven her away - “This haunted face holds no horror for me now. It’s in your soul that the true distortion lies." but instead, it’s his disturbing pursuit of her, and the dark drain he has on her. Because though while she’s with him she feels under his spell, when she is away, she is afraid - "Angel of music, you deceived me. I gave you my mind blindly.”
Everyone else has always regarded him as a ghost, a phantom, a demon child, but not her. No, Christine has always seen him as an Angel, and even after she sees his face, she continues to refer to him as her Angel of Music. Because she could have got used to his scars. But she will never enjoy his cruelty or possessiveness.
And it’s so sad that the one person who could have loved him despite his deformity, is the one he pushed furthest away by treating her so badly: “The tears I might have shed for your dark fate grow cold and turn to tears of hate!”
If only someone was able to say it to him sooner - “Pitiful creature of darkness, what kind of life have you known? God give me courage to show you - you are not alone.”
It’s a very short, but simply put, article that talks about a scene from ‘Cars 2’. It has some Christian overtones, but is well worth reading :)
Thank you so much!
This is me. These are my scars.
My name is Maddi, I run this blog and these are my scars. I have a few very small scars from everyday sort of accidents, you know - the chickenpox I had when I was a kid, that time I smashed my head when I fell, that one door that opened over my foot… but the vast majority of my scars - all the ones you see here are from self-harm. Every single one has a story, but given that they were made years ago, I’m hardly going to remember each one! Instead, I’ll give you a bit of a broader picture…
I was officially diagnosed with clinical depression in December 2008 after a suicide attempt on my birthday, but I was self-harming long before that. It really began when I was about 11 or 12. I remember feeling constantly down, but when I described myself as depressed, everyone would tell me I was making a big deal out of nothing. It was just scratches at first, but it was a doorway into a discovery that causing myself physical pain, leaving marks on my skin, drawing blood - it gave me release.
What follows is a pretty ordinary story that anyone who’s struggled with depression and/or self harm will know - things got worse, I really found it difficult to stop, and recovery was a very long and painful process. Those few years, particularly when I was 13/14 were by far the darkest of my life. I self-harmed because I was depressed, and it gave me some emotional release; because I loathed myself so much I wanted me dead, I wanted to hurt myself because I felt like I deserved it; because I was addicted; because it helped, it made me feel better and worse all at once, but for a moment, there was some relief. Thanks to my devoted family, to a supportive community of friends, to an absolutely wonderful therapist, and to God, I pulled through.
There is no miracle in this story, only that I pulled though. I was sick and I got better. But, more importantly - I still have these scars. And you know what? I love my scars.
I actually have a genetic condition known as hyper-mobility, which affects the soft tissue, and amongst other more notable symptoms like easy bruising and persistent joint pain, it means that scars I form are lighter in tone and also softer than ordinary tissue… I’d always assumed that was how everyone’s scars form as I have so many of my own to examine, but apparently not!
It took me a long time to like my scars - at first I hated them. I hated them because I couldn’t hide them, and I was so afraid and sick of the constant questions. I wanted to shrink away into the ground and melt under their judgmental gazes. I didn’t want people to know what a terrible person I was.
But, after years of recovering, of getting to know myself, and really coming into my own I’ve not only come to accept them, but also embrace them. I don’t romanticize scars, and I’d never encourage self-harm. But this isn’t about fetishising scars, it’s about really embracing them, because they’re a part of you. They are my stories; I consider them to be my battle-scars. Because I was in a war; one against myself, inside my own mind, and these are the injuries I sustained. These are marks of my trials and they’re reminders that I survived. I made it.
Having scars has not changed me in the way the circumstances that gave me those scars has, but I’m glad I have them all the same. And you know what? I’ve had fun with them too. I’ve gleaned so much entertainment making up the most ridiculous story I can possible find when people ask about them - one particular tale includes a bakery accident where my flesh was torn off and inadvertently added to the bread mixtures…
I’m still working on what to say to my little brother who’s started asking, but I know the only thing I can do is be honest. Tell him what happened. Tell him why I have scars. And hope he never has to go through the same thing. Because they are nothing to be ashamed of, and the story they have to tell is a personal but also an important one.
(Huge thank you to my friend Katie Webb who did these photos for me)