Lately I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of women, who’ve stumbled upon my blog, about body image. It’s been great to chat with these women and hear their stories about becoming the women they are today.
A recurring theme that seems to come up in these conversations is scars. Whether visible physical scars or life changing experiences that have forever left their mark, scars are present in all of us. What saddens me is that many of these women (including myself) have thought of these scars as flaws, as an imperfection that they wish they could fix or change.
While I have many invisible scars, today I’m going to share with you my most visible scar. When I was three I was attacked by a golden lab. I had 27 stitches and plastic surgery, but the right side of my face has always had what looks like a giant crease, and a raised bump. I’ve had my scar so long I can’t remember when my face didn’t have this imperfection.
Since I grew up with it I don’t mind when people ask me about it, but it has come with a few negative experiences. A particularly memorable moment was in high school, when a teacher accused me of sleeping during his class, and then accused me of lying about having a scar. He thought it was actually a crease from sleeping on my desk. It took my mother calling the school and bringing picture evidence for the teacher to believe that it was actually a scar.
I could have plastic surgery to hide the scar, but the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve grown to love it. Sometimes I still try to hide it in pictures, but for the most part I really don’t care and I really don’t think about it. In college I had a professor tell me that my scar was awesome and that it would be so cool when I got older because it would get all “leathery.”
Now, I’m not sure I want a leathery face, but I do love applying this to those invisible scars that life has left on each and everyone us. When our scars are fresh and raw, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, they are visible, and they can define us. But as we come to terms with whatever battles we’re fighting, we learn to grow and accept our scars as a part of who we are. Our skin gets tougher and we get leathery.
While my example is a physical scar, emotional scars are important in shaping who we are and it’s best to accept and embrace our scars rather than be ashamed of them.
I for one am proud of my leathery scar.