On Scars

“Ugly” truth time: we all have scars. They can range from big to small, noticeable to not, mental to physical. They’re not going away. Scars are like glitter- that shit sticks for life.

Anyway, in life, we typically have two choices when we encounter something we can’t control. Either a) we get angry about not having the control and let it influence our thoughts and behavior, or b) we observe it objectively and accept it for what it is, good or bad, and then we take the high road and go on about our lives.

Personally, I’m a fan of option b. But you know, it doesn’t always work! I still get pissy sometimes about things people said or did, or things that have happened that were beyond my control and somehow influenced the way my life is now. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. But I’m aware of it, and that counts for something.

This brings me back to scars. Since scars are there for good and they’re something you can’t control, you may as well learn to accept them for what they are.

I’ll tell you a story about my scars.

I have a lot of them, for one. You have the typical scraped knee scars, a scar from surgery, the restaurant business battle scars, and even one scar from that time I was making s’mores and a marshmallow that had caught on fire melted onto my arm. But, there’s one scar in particular I’d like to talk about, and that is the one under my nose that extends through my lip.

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I got this scar in January. Apparently, and I don’t remember this, my entire lip was torn open up to my nose. The doctors in Costa Rica did what they could, but they basically Frankenstein-ed the thing. I don’t want to post the picture, so you’ll just have to believe me that it was awful. It wasn’t even clean. I can’t believe I can use the phrase “my plastic surgeon” but my plastic surgeon is a miracle worker.

Treatment was discussed, especially because I had a wedding coming up in a couple short months. Initially I opted for scar cream as the wound was still too raw for reconstructive treatment, and about a month before my wedding I was able to go in for laser treatment. It sucked. I hated it. The pain wasn’t that bad, but I wasn’t comfortable having a laser shot into my face. Plus, I kind of liked my scar.

“Are you sure?” the nurse asked me when I cancelled my remaining appointments. “You’re getting married…”

Yeah, it’s there. But it didn’t matter to me. One, it’s not even that noticeable when covered with makeup. And two, it’s part of my story. To look me in the face is to look at my scars.

(Plus, about the married thing? I came back looking like Frankenstein’s monster and my husband wanted to move up our wedding date to marry me sooner. I wasn’t worried about what he was going to think when I walked down the aisle, and that was way more important to me than any picture.)

Scars are like proof of strength on skin. It’s like a way of saying without words “I can survive.” Accepting them for what they are means accepting your own strength. You can even draw strength from them- all it takes is a glance at a scar to remind you of the pain you endured and survived.

It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort. It took me a long time to accept my new face, and some days I still get down about it (again, I’m not perfect) but now instead of looking in the mirror and seeing someone I don’t recognize, I see a survivor.

Do you have any interesting scars? How do you feel about them? Feel free to share in the comments!

Until next time, namasté.

PS: of-freaking-course I was going to use Harry Potter to represent my post on scars. #always

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