That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Acquiring a scar is an interesting proposition. It's the end of an era - the era of your body being perfect, unscathed.  Perhaps how it's obtained determines how the process of assimilating a scar will go. Where the scar lands on your body maybe makes a difference. You know what they say: location, location, location. I wonder if scars won through epic pursuits like mountain climbing, hunting on safari or sky diving feel like a badge of honor. An unintentional tattoo of a once in a lifetime experience. Proof of belief in the mantra, "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather a skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" (This saying is a favorite of mine, BTW).

What about the other kind of scars? The kind that involve accidents and surgeries. The ones we wear with less pride of ownership because they were obtained in unpleasant circumstances, often beyond our control. These are the ones that beat up our self-esteem and are harder to accept as a part of ourselves.

I've had it both ways.    

The cesarean scars won through the epic event of giving birth to my two daughters do feel like a badge of honor.  I'm sure their location helps me keep perspective since they can't really be seen. They have zero effect on my vanity or self-esteem and I am proud of them.

Last summer I had surgery to repair two herniated disks in my neck caused by a car accident.  I thought they would go through the back of my neck and my hair would cover the scar. Nope, they approach from the front, head-on. So the prize I won for someone rear-ending me is a metal plate, four screws and a 2 inch gash across the front of my neck. The surgeon told me, "no problem, I'll blend it in with the wrinkle of your neck, you'll barely notice it." EXCUSE ME! I don't have wrinkles in my neck, at least not yet.

It was noticeable alright and not just to me. I had a guy at 7-11 ask me if I was assaulted, that it looked like someone tried to cut my throat (all this opinion while I'm just trying to purchase a pack of gum). I also had the pleasure of being questioned at McDonald's by the gal ringing me up who pulled up her sleeve to show me her scar and said, "at least I can cover mine up." I already disliked McDonald's, now I swear I'm never going back!

Bottom line, it was ugly and it messed with my head. I was angry that someone's actions had caused me to be scarred and I didn't feel like myself, I felt unattractive. Intellectually, I knew that I was more than a scar on my neck and that I would have to accept it as a new part of myself. Plus I knew that it wasn't that bad, others are dealing with much worse.

Nine months and ALOT of Bio-Oil later, the scar has faded and I am used to the new me. I guess I can see it as a badge of honor, something I overcame and didn't let define me.