I’m used to covering up. I do it every day for work in one specific way. The scars on my arms are always covered at work. Always. Outside of work, I couldn’t care less if they are seen. They are simply part of who I am. I have left behind the shame and the self-consciousness that I carried for so long about them. They are, along with the rest of the markings that my body carries, the telling of my story on my skin. Yet I also know the judgement that people make about them. So, for workdays, they are kept covered. It is a constant annoyance to me that I have to base my clothing choices, at work, on what can be worn so that I won’t show a part of myself that could be an issue in people’s perception of my capability and even my stability. But that’s the way it is and I have learned to accept that.
In the same manner, I take out the visible jewellry of my septum piercing on Sunday nights and replace it with a retainer. Invisible when I work so that the facial piercing is, like my scars, hidden away and not seen – so as to not cause judgement or perceptions that aren’t accurate.
This past Tuesday morning though, such a harder hit of covering up. Returning to work Tuesday morning after a weekend with my chosen family and tribe. The ferry ride, the drive, the feeling of being alone again settling in. After a long weekend of feeling so wrapped in people who understand and accept, it’s hard to hold onto that as I dive back into the need to cover up again. Walking into my house and immediately my mind goes to changing my clothes to be able to be presentable for work. Considering not only covering the scars on my arms but also choosing a shirt that covers the marks of the piercings in my chest and the slight bruising from the hooks placed there. Easy enough to find clothing but it’s the feeling of also having to cover up so much more than the physical this time that is hitting me deeply.
Not sure how to cover up and slip the mask on as I always do. Feeling it is harder this time than it has been. Feeling the cover up not just physical but on an emotional and base level that is leaving me feeling a bit sad. I am who and how I am, and I am blessed and grateful that I have so many in my life that see me and honour that.
The place, there, where I am simply exposed and unguarded, accepted.
The place, here, where I must delicately place a filter and keep some parts of me hidden discreetly.
There is an edge that is walked, between here and there and tonight it feels sharp.