What better way to enter February than by sharing a story of healing, rediscovery, and self-love? Read below as survivor, Jonathan DeCastro, shares a powerful testimony of his journey through depression, abuse, and finding the strength to find the beauty in his scars.
The scars on my soul may not be visible like the ones on my skin. However, they tell a deeper story than the ones on the surface. I’m not sure if anyone has said this before me, however; I know it to be true. I’ve always been one to suffer from depression and body dysmorphia. Officially I’ve been diagnosed with the depression aspect of it, never the body-dysmorphia part of it. But I know it to be true. I’ve struggled with self-love and acceptance my whole life. Critiquing my appearance all the time. Always comparing myself to the next, wondering “how could I be like them?” It caused an internal battle. A scar was made.
When I was younger I dealt with my fair share of being bullied. I’ve been that awkward kid that struggled to make friends. I’m a shy person by nature and I feel struggle with the idea of if I was truly accepted by someone or a group of friends. A scar was made. I’ve dealt with internalized homophobia (as hard as it is to admit), even though I’ve come out at an early point in life, not wanting to broadcast my sexuality and try to “act heterosexually” so I wouldn’t face any discrimination. A scar was made.
I’ve dealt with an emotionally and mentally abusive partner that ended up stalking and harassing me. Making me feel small when all I tried to be as best of a boyfriend as I possibly could have been. A scar was made. I was abandoned by a partner whom I thought I was going to spend my life with. Someone I thought would always be there for me and who said they would. Someone I loved more than any other previous to him and still have yet to come across someone to surpass it. A scar was made.
I’ve felt the abandoned, alone, helpless, used, fearful, and at my wits end. Scars were made and unfortunately I could go on. However, what is a scar before it has healed? A wound, as we all know. The pain we endure and the experiences of course add to trauma and weight on our shoulders. I wish we lived in a perfect world, where we didn’t have to get hurt. But, there’s a beauty in healing. A magic that we can’t really explain, but are grateful for. You see, healing brings upon strength and resilience. No, we won’t truly “get over” what has once affected us. But we can use it to grow and turn these past experiences to shape a better future for ourselves. These scars do not define us. They are one part of the many that make us who we are. “One of your biggest sources of happiness, should be the love you have for yourself.” My journey toward self love is far from over and it for sure hasn’t been easy. But I’m looking forward to reaching that milestone. Being able to give myself the love that I deserve. All while, learning from my past and these scars that I wear.
Things don’t stay dark forever. Through certain experiences and meeting certain people, we can see that all isn’t a lost cause. I for one, would love to be able to help anyone and everyone who are going through or even have gone through what I have gone through. We have a lot more to offer than the scars we have. A deeper understanding to what it means to build back up and a heart that bears kindness like no other. Those scars are nothing to be ashamed of. They are a beacon of your power. And let me tell you, my friend, those scars help what makes you beautiful.