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How Jesse Marimat Learned to Embrace His Scars

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Jesse Marimat doesn’t think much about the scars that cover his body. “I often forget I have visible scarring on my body,” the 29-year-old said. “I definitely feel them, but I don’t actively see them.”

While Marimat, who lives with congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type II, may not notice his scars, it’s not uncommon for strangers to point them out. “I forget people see things differently,” he explained. “I have been pointed at and teased for the way my body looks.”

Marimat tries not to dwell on the negative comments he has received, but one particular moment stands out. “I remember being at the water park when I was 20 years old. I was getting into the pool and someone made a comment about the scars on my chest from my mediport.” Marimat was taken aback. He wasn’t thinking about his scars when he removed his shirt at the pool that day. Like everyone else, he was just trying to beat the heat.

“I constantly feel pressure to conform to societal norms,” he said. “It’s far less discussed among men, however, body dysmorphia affects us as well.” Marimat, who lives in San Francisco, went through a stage where he tried to sculpt his body in a way that resembled what he felt society’s “ideal” was. After several months of working out, Marimat was healthier and stronger, but his body wasn’t any more defined. “At this point I came to realize health is more important than appearance,” he said.

Nowadays, Marimat is proud of the body he has. “I’ve done something for myself and now have tattoos reflecting my condition,” he said. “I am more open to wearing loose clothing now that I have some body art to show off as well.”

Read More: This Is What It Looks Like When You Feature Disabled and Chronically Ill People in Magazines

Next: Kristen DeAndrade Has ‘Tiny Legs and a Big Heart’

Originally published: August 1, 2016
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