I read an article recently from Ashley McDonald on the HuffPost, titled How My Scars Changed The Way I See Beauty and it struck a chord with me. There was one quote in particular she wrote which stood out.
“I wish I could go back and tell myself that even the best oil in the world won’t make my scars ever go away, but more importantly, that sporting these scars is something of an honour. To try to rub them out is like trying to erase my history.”
I’ve had my scar, whack bang in the middle of my neck, for over five years now but I still remember how worried I was over getting it. You see we’re brought up thinking that a scar is an imperfection on the body, when in fact a scar is what makes you unique. It gives you a story. It makes you different to everyone else. And why wouldn’t you want that. Why should that ever be seen as a bad or negative thing?
I’m proud of my scar. It took me a while to get to this point but I’m there. To me my scar symbolises a pretty shitty time in my life but also a courageous time. It was a long journey from working out what the hell this giant lump was growing out of my throat, a million different scans, injections, medication, one operation to remove what was now a humongous growth, a daunting hospital appointment where I waited nervously to find out whether it was cancerous – it wasn’t and I appreciate how lucky I am – one extra operation to redo my thick lumpy scar that was still pushing on my windpipe and then a course of steroid injections to help the scar heal. It was a lengthy and tough time both for me and my family. In that time frame I split up with a douche of an ex and fell for my current boyfriend, Al. It was an emotional chapter that I couldn’t wait to close and see the back of but yet am still reminded of every time I look in the mirror.
For me my scar symbolises that journey and reminds me that I’m lucky it wasn’t worse. I’ve lost half my thyroid and have to have yearly blood tests to check my hormone levels are still stable, but I’m not on any medication for it and it could have been a lot worse. From everything I went through I think I’m pretty lucky to just have a scar. That definitely puts things into perspective.
I know friends who have minor scars that unless you knew they had them, you’d never notice them but that they’re paranoid about. They see them as an ugly feature and something they should be ashamed of. It makes me wonder why. Sometimes I like to point out mine and say I can never hide this and why should I?
To start with I was very self aware of my scar. I applied Kelo-cote gel twice daily to help speed up the healing process and I’d then attempt to hide it behind scarves. If anything the scarves probably drew more attention to it. It took time but I got over it and started embracing it. Back in my single days it was the start of some hilarious conversations with guys on nights out. We’d try to create the most unrealistic story ever, or if they had a scar too – one guy had a bullet shot through his shoulder in the army – we’d try to out-do each other. It became almost a positive thing over night.
I still hate when people stare obnoxiously. I’m talking about those people who clock my scar but continue walking while still staring. If you’re going to stare and wonder, I’d rather you just ask, I’m always happy to share my story.
This post feels quite cathartic in a way and also emotional. I know my scar will always be there, whether it fades or not, and I’m cool with that. And I want you to be too.
Got a scar? Join the club and share your story below.