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The Story My Scars Tell

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I am my scars.

I used to hate my scars. I found them embarrassing because they are blemishes on my skin, because they draw attention to specific parts of my body, because they lead to questions about what happened and because they force me to admit that I am imperfect in appearance and in action.

Today I looked at my thigh. I saw the wrinkled skin that looks like a fat slug. I remembered all the ways I used to try to hide it. And I suddenly realized that my scars are my story. They are like tattoos; permanent reminders and celebrations of where I’ve been and what has made me who I am. My scars are my life story told in flesh.

I am my scars.

I am the cartwheels on a shard of broken class in Newfoundland. The sharp knife in the dish water. The shattering glass of the screen door. The scissors I used to cut leather. The jagged metal on the hearth. I am the small lines on my elbows and knees from playing in the woods. I am clam shell cuts and fish hook pokes. I am calluses from crocheting, knitting, constant pencil holding, bare feet summer hikes, Birkenstocks and flip flops. I am my finger tips on my first steel string guitar. I am sharp pebbles in red jelly shoes.

I am I-don’t-know-what-happened and where-did-that-come-from. I am falling off bikes, slipping in ballet slippers, leaping before looking, tree climbing and unprepared balancing acts. I am chickenpox and everyone else has it too so we have to go to school anyway. I am surgery and too many IVs.

I am tears and snot and pain. I am joy and laughter til my belly hurts. I am adventures and risks. I am warning tales and funny stories.

This body has carried me and allowed me to do, to play, to create, to try, to feel pleasure, to love. This body is marked by moments in life that shaped me. It tells the stories I’ve tried to hide, the stories of things I’ve forgotten and the stories shared over endless cups of tea.

This body has been tortured by me and yet it is still here. Still waiting to be loved. Still waiting to be taken care of. Still willing to let me keep trying. To keep living.

This body is how I came to be, where I have been, who I am now and where I am going. This body is my home. This skin is my story. These scars are me. Unapologetic, imperfect, blemished, me.

Getty image via belovodchenko

Originally published: January 26, 2019
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