“I am not my scars”

I suppose I’ve had these scars for a little less than ten years now. It seems crazy to think about it, but I think it’s more crazy when I remember the doctor told me they would be gone some day. I believed him then, and I suppose I still know that that is true. Scars fade, times change.

For instance, I remember I always used to apologize ahead of time. The first time I ever took my shirt off in front of my girlfriend in high school, I warned her. I forewarned her that when she touched me, that I would feel ragged.

Much to my disbelief, she said that sort of thing didn’t bother her. And in spite of the fact that she really did not seem bothered, I don’t think I believed her for a long time. After all, every time I had ever thought about having sex before, I had accepted as fact that either they would not accept me, or it would be long after my scars had faded.

My scars had ruined my abilities to think about other people romantically for several years before that point. How could she be accepting of something that up to that point had caused me so much pain? I had to live with me. I was used to it in a way. How could she be ok with anything with no prior time to prepare? It didn’t make sense.

Since then I stopped apologizing.

It wasn’t because I felt like I shouldn’t have to. It was that I felt like if I said nothing, they might not either; a strategy that kind of seems to have worked.

But every time I’m with someone, even when they say nothing I keep thinking the same things when they touch me.

“Don’t think about it.”
“Don’t ask about it.”
“Just forget about it.”
“I’m not wrong, I’m different.
“I’m not deformed, I’m ‘textured.'”

Even when I find someone to spend time with, even when I know they don’t care, I think I always will. I think it will always be at the back of my mind.

My friends will always ask why I don’t take my shirt off at the beach, why I have to dress after my shower/before leaving the bathroom, why when they hug me my “shirt feels weird.”

I’m not concerned that they’ll reject me anymore. But I can’t just walk it off.