I have two job interviews this week, so yesterday I went shopping for new clothes. Though it’s early in the year, every shop seemed to be selling short or mid-length sleeved tops. After a bold start last year and a continued dedication to being Sleeveless, this week I suddenly, for the first time in ages, felt scared. What will people think of me? How will they react? Will my scars impact negatively upon whether or not I even get the jobs? It’s led me into a whole spiral of negativity about my body in general, and the scars in particular. I am really struggling with this at the moment, and for all I’ve said that people are no less bold, no less honest, no less brave, if they choose not to show their scars- and I truly believe that- I do feel a bit like I’m letting myself/ other people down by deciding to stay covered up this week (and possibly for the foreseeable future).
For all that I’m feeling down about this, I like to end these posts on a positive note, so here, have…
A Note on Perseverance
A few weeks ago, M and I went on a long walk through the forest. Bear in mind two things.
- I am more of a runner than a walker, largely due to impatience and;
- I am really scared of dogs.
We encountered several dogs on our walk (I think I counted 8) and each time I had to overcome a fair amount of fear. We also walked for about three and a half hours, which is extremely long for me. We had a lovely time along the way, looking at various trees and streams and interesting things, and lost in conversation. But impatience and dogs did occasionally mar the experience.
The journey with self-harm and recovery is similar. It has moments of intense fear, along with moments of impatience- and when I say moments, I may even mean months. I was always so impatient with myself when I self-harmed that it would inspire a whole new bout of shame, self-hatred and probably more self-harm. Later on, I wanted to drag myself through recovery by the wrists. With time I learned that perseverance doesn’t have to mean “fighting through everything no matter what the barriers.” It can mean simply carrying on, whether that be by opening your eyes in the morning, or by running a marathon.
I suppose this is the most roundabout way of saying: if you are struggling, you can persevere. There will be moments of terror amidst moments of irritation. Probably frustration and boredom, too. But there will be beautiful moments mixed in with all that, and maybe more are waiting in the trees. Just stick with it. Keep going. You have it in you.
This is part of the Sleeveless journey too. I am having to learn (again) to persevere, even at times like this where I feel angry and frustrated with myself, fed up with other people and simultaneously terrified of what they might think. Whether I buy short-sleeved tops or long, whatever choices I make, I am persevering with this journey, building up my resilience as I go.