Content warning: Self-harm
Due to some issues I had a few years ago with self harming (related to mental health issues which I no longer have - hurrah!), I'm left with a lot of awkward scars on my forearm. They're visible whenever I'm not wearing long sleeves.
I don't mind my scars being visible. They often are, in my day to day life. I also don't mind talking about them, but it's a discussion I prefer to have in an appropriate environment, on a one-to-one basis. There are various obvious reasons for that. People rarely ask about them.
However, there has been more than one occasion where, in a big group setting, somebody has been particularly vocal about them. Recently, at a party, somebody loudly asked "What are those marks on your forearm?", before turning a deep shade of red and looking mortified. The room promptly went silent, I made some sort of awkward joke, and conversations resumed again. It was awkward, to say the least.
I don't blame people for asking at all, and I accept that it's a possibility in these situations if I'm not going to commit to wearing long sleeves to every party I ever go to. I do accept that this is a solution to the problem, but it's not one that I want to abide by.
Is there a good way to deal with a scenario like the above, should it arise?
I'm looking for a way to ease the tension, and also make it clear that I don't think the person who's asked the question has done anything wrong. Ideally, I'd like the outcome to change. Last time this happened, I made some sort of odd joke (which didn't really make sense), and then one of my more confident friends loudly resumed his conversation and things carried on. What I'm hoping for is a way to quickly answer the question without coming off as upset or embarrassed, and without looking like I'm upset/annoyed with the person who asked the question initially.