Showing your Cuts...

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by Rachel123, May 16, 2009.

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  1. Rachel123

    Rachel123 Well-Known Member

    Hey guys....

    I recently moved to a new city. My full time job is working with my parents in another city and I still wear long sleeves there since neither of them know about my cutting yet.

    My part time job is at a tanning salon in the city I live in. I decided that I would just wear short sleeves since I don't know anyone anyway and it's WAY too friggin hot in there to wear long sleeves.

    Anyway..a co-worker and a customer both approached the owner (with concern) and now because of this.... I've been asked to wear long sleeves because she doesn't want to make the customers feel uncomfortable.

    Has anyone else shown their scars/cuts in public/at the work place? What type of reaction did you get?

    I'm pretty bummed out about it. I feel like I'm being discriminated. If I had cancer and had lost all of my hair.....Would they ask me to wear a wig? If I was burned in a fire..Would I be asked to cover THOSE scars?

    I just feel pretty pathetic and down.....Looking to hear about your experiences and thoughts.
  2. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    That's bullshit Rachel.

    You're right, you shouldn't have to cover your scars. And if you want to, you should tell your boss how you feel. The concept that self-injury is a byproduct of decision making like tattoos is inaccurate. And it's due to the social taboo and ignorance of self-injury that promotes that. The fact is you can tell them straight up.

    You get shit from scars. And if you choose to say what's going on, then people are less aggressive wit it. At the end of the day it's up to your boss, unless you want to make a case of it (literally), but talk to her and tell her that it's not fair because its something you deal with.

    Now if you have an open cut, then it's a slightly different case. Just make sure those are properly cared for. Whenever I get crap for my scars I just tell the truth and make the other person shut up by sheer awkwardness. They don't like it, and I tell them that since they don't have to deal with flashbacks or suicide it's not as if they can judge. Cause they have never been in that situation:tongue:

    Curiosity is one thing, concern is another thing. Both are good normal qualities in people. But aggression and a taboo reaction where you alienate that person is not fair, and it's not good, and it shouldn't be acceptable. It makes people uncomfortable, but you don't have to be punished for that. Talk to your boss and get it through her head that some people do this and that some people have bad lives. I'm sure she just naively believes that putting it out of sight out of mind works.

    For your own health its best to be candid with her. Tell her how it makes you feel when she's treated like a leper for your cuts. Tell her how destructive it is in your life when people react that way. It'll make you feel better, though she may react badly. Of course, I'm in academia and I'm a writer, both of which allow more erratic self-destructive behaviors.

    Sorry to hear you're having trouble. If you'd like you could put your work number down and we could all call and complain on behalf of self injurers everywhere.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2009
  3. *dilligaf*

    *dilligaf* Staff Alumni

    I show my scars all the time now.

    The majority of people don't say anything.

    I think I've been asked about them about 2/3 times and I've just said honestly "they are old self harm scars" and they usually just accept that and move on.

    Sorry to hear that your work is so unsupportive

  4. Rachel123

    Rachel123 Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys. I think I should be upfront with her. The only problem is Im SO emotionally fragile right now that I'd probably end up getting super upset if I tried to tell her how it made me feel. It's just a part time extra job for extra cash. I actually work 7 days a week. I've only been there a few weeks so if I refuse to cover them she could always fire me for something else. I'm honestly not that worried about it.... It's just sucks

    My cuts are thin and narrow...Never huge gaping cracks....I would probably cover those.

    Ugh.... It just makes me feel so shitty. I have to work tonight. I'm just going to wear what I want... I dress nicely so she can't complain a bit about that.
  5. SweetSurrender

    SweetSurrender Well-Known Member

    Hmm...this situation made me think! Firstly, as you and the others have already pointed out, I think there is a difference between cuts and scars. I personally wouldn't feel okay about my cuts being readily seen, but i'm less bothered about my scars.

    However in regards to showing scars at work, although i do feel for you, i think perhaps your manager is actually correct. Of course you shouldn't HAVE to do anything but you HAVE been employed as a professional in this tanning salon (be it part time) and there are certain things that can make a person look unprofessional. Kinda like why they say you cant wear tshirts with slogans on to work or wear really revealing clothers etc etc. You are there in the capacity of a member of staff and are representing the salon. In your own personal time i'd say do what the heck you want but within work....yeh i think there should be limits and guidelines. I don't think your manager is discriminating against your mental illness, she's not said to you that you can't do your job properly because of it etc but is aware of the negative stigma self harm has and is protecting her business. I don't think it is about being made to feel ashamed, but about the difference between personal and work lives.

    At work i always ensure my scars are covered, not because i'm ashamed of it or because i'm worried about what the people i work with will say but because i'm there to do a job and give advice and instill confidence in my patients/clients. I guess working in a tanning salon is the same, its a job based on promoting 'beauty' and scars are seen as not attractive in that environment.
  6. Pad

    Pad Well-Known Member

    That's really unfair, I'm pretty sure they aren't allowed to descriminate like that.

    I let the scars on my arms show, although I still don't feel 100% comfortable about it (I kind of try to angle my arm so it's not noticable as much sometimes). The scars on my arm aren't too bad and nobody has asked me about them yet. I also have scars on my legs which are much worse, and I am not ready to show them. I would hope nobody would say anything because I wouldn't know what to say if someone asked.
  7. Little_me

    Little_me Well-Known Member

    If you want to wear short sleeves, then do it. I wish I was as brave as you guys... I don't show my scars as I don't want people to judge me, but I know it's bad to have to feel that way... But I'm a weak person.. When I'm stronger, then I won't allow other people to let me down just because of how I look.
    You are the person you are, you are not your scars- I wish people could get that.
  8. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    But under that argument, you promote the notion that establishments that profit on selling aesthetic beauty should be allowed to ban overweight people from working on their premises. That may be the de facto rule, but its not the morally correct one. In addition, the notion that self-injury scars are different from burn scars or accidental cut scars is silly. Unless you go about telling your life story and why you self injure, they should be ignored like a mole on your cheek or a lazy eye.
  9. Rachel123

    Rachel123 Well-Known Member

    One day you will feel like you can show them. Don't force it. Wait until you're ready. Summer is coming up and my work at the hardware store gets sweaty. I'm dreading having to tell my mom and stepdad about my cuts. If they were to ask me to cover them up.... I honestly don't know how I would react.

    I completely agree. I wish it could be that way. I feel so ridiculously alienated and alone right now. I realize I'm not the only one but I'm the only person I know that does it and unfortunately the response from the public isn't good.
  10. SweetSurrender

    SweetSurrender Well-Known Member

    That is not my arguement at all. What i was trying to point out is that there is usually a good/valid reason why a manager would ask staff to behave a specific way, wear specific clothes etc. It sounds to me this issue is simply about maintaining professional standards and not about denying someone their human rights!

    My intent in my last post was not to give a moral stance but give the perspective/understanding of a consumer/manager. But, and I apologise if my feelings sound really shallow to you, yeh it is ridiculous to think that, (whether morally or immorally correct!), aesthetics play no part in the beauty business! As silly as it sounds, i actually like that my hairdresser has a good haircut herself, it offers me confidence in her/the establishments abilities. And if i were to ever go to a tanning salon, then i'd like to see people with a nice healthy glow. If i were to go to a weight-slimming class, i'd prefer it if the instructor were of a reasonable weight because it would inspires confidence in the whole diet process.

    I don't think that suggesting that SH scars may appear different from normal scars is silly at all. My scars look nothing like cat scratches or an accidental fall or whatever, they are quite obviously SH scars even to the most ignorant eye! If it were just the odd scar then yeh i'd agree with you that it could appear to be a accidental cut/burn and wouldn't/shouldn't be an issue. But in this case Rachel's collegues quite obviously knew that these scars weren't accidental even though Rachel kept quiet. If all cuts were so easily explained away or easy to mistake for an accident, then there would not be a culture of hiding SH.
  11. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry I didn't mean to imply that you were being insensitive at all! Thanks for expanding on what you wrote, I feel like I have more understanding where you're coming from.

    I agree with you that professionals need their employees to be professional and with cosmetics, appearance is key because the business is selling an authority. You pay your hairdresser twenty quid because she knows the difference between bad hair and good hair. You wouldn't get a tattoo from somebody with a bad tattoo, and you wouldn't pay 50 quid a month to enroll in an exercise program lead by an unhealthy person.

    But tanning is just for the glow of the skin, not the scars the on the skin.

    I don't believe that it's healthy to alienate people who self-injure. It's not good when other people do it, but it's really really unhealthy when the person who self injures alienates themselves. It's really easy to be made uncomfortable by your scars, especially when there are lots. I have them all over my body from my neck down, and people ask.

    Self injury is a coping method so if that method, which is destructive, is made more destructive by social alienation...then it's just shitty. I firmly believe it's better to self-injure with another person present. Ideally you won't self-injure at all, but remaining isolated just makes it worse.

    I don't think its a tanning salon's business if you have scars or not. I don't agree that people who suffer should suffer in silence. I think its totally your right to present your struggles in life. If you deal with suicide, depression, and self injury you should be able to talk about it. It makes others uncomfortable, but in Rachel's case they pointed it out, not her.

    If you see a guy with burn scars over his body you can be curious about it, and you can ask about it. But if he responds and says his entire family burnt to death in a fire, he being the only survivor...well that's on you for asking about it.

    Anyhow, that's how I see it :)
  12. Rachel123

    Rachel123 Well-Known Member

    I appreciate everyones imput...

    I have an amazing tan by the way. I have american indian in my background so I have olive skin that tans like crazy.

    I guess the reason I'm so upset about it is because I took that first step to NOT wear long sleeves....and then I was made to feel like I should have never done that...You know?
    I understand if they're open cuts...Thats a whole different ball game.....I usually cut at night and my cuts are thin so they've usually closed up by the morning time...
    I have cuts ALL over my hands......There is NO way I'm going to wear gloves....LOL
  13. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

  14. The_8th_Wonder

    The_8th_Wonder senior Member

    I don't know if I would call this discrimination... customers would probably freak out at something like that and so I can see where your boss might be coming from. That being said I still think it's unfair but I am able to see both sides of the story.
  15. Rachel123

    Rachel123 Well-Known Member

    ^^ Thank you. It's nice to know some people can see my side.
    Unfortunately no one around me can :( Oh well!! lol
  16. SweetSurrender

    SweetSurrender Well-Known Member


    Sorry i know you just wanted support and i obviously didn't offer that to you.

    You are obviously a good, kind person. You should do whatever feels right to you and damn the consequences, they're just ignorent.

    Sorry, really angry and depressed this wk, sorry if i took it out on your thread.

  17. blade

    blade Well-Known Member

    i so agree thats crap people shouldnt stop others being themselves, hiding up who they are. if i got told to do that i wouldnt wear the sleves down id say i feel comfortable wearing them up. and im not putting them down.
  18. Rachel123

    Rachel123 Well-Known Member

    Aww No need to apologize! You are entitled to your own personal opinion and I respect that!

    I've actually not been wearing sleeves.... I took a black knee high stocking and cut the bottem off and have been wearing tank tops with the stocking on one arm. lol Who knows.....Maybe I'll start a new fashion trend.
    It doesn't cover the cuts on my hand...But I'm not michael jackson.. I'm not going to wear a friggin glove!
  19. The_8th_Wonder

    The_8th_Wonder senior Member

    Well I actually decided to try this out. Self harm is not something that I really got addicted to but I do it every now and then. Anyways I decided to wear shorts and show my very faded away cuts from weeks ago. I wondered what the reaction would be and the only thing that happened was a girl was looking at my legs. Other than that nothing really happened. It's actually interesting to me that your boss thought that your cuts might frighten customers. Personally, I would like that they don't care, like the majority of people.
  20. blade

    blade Well-Known Member

    haha that sounds hot. never know it might be the next big thing! :)
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