I’ve written before that someday I’d like to get a tattoo that reads “Scars are like birthmarks but with better stories”.
Scars are funny. Some are on the outside, some are on the inside. Some scars heal and lighten on their own, and some scars are dark, rippled, puckered and pronounced forever. We often don’t get a say in how these scars heal. They simply are what they are.
I’ve been thinking a lot about scars lately since I’ve recently added a new one to my skin suit. My staples and bandaging were removed Wednesday from Betty’s grand entrance. Betty is my new hip, for those who are not up to speed on my recent medical adventure. The scar is about four inches long and is right in the front of my hip, below where the skin folds when you sit, but is still hidden under most pairs of shorts. It’s a straight line with little punctures along each side from the top of the scar to the bottom where the staples held it together for two weeks while my body knitted the skin back together in the amazing, magical way the human body does.
I’ve got scars from being a dare devil when I was a kid, scars from cancer, scars from having my two beautiful babies and scars from living a well lived life. I’ve also got scars from heartbreak and betrayal. I’ve got scars from hurtful things said to me, friends who hurt me, loved ones who turned their backs on me or just didn’t stand up for me. We’ve all got those kinds of scars. Those are the scars that take the longest to heal. The scars on the inside often hurt the most and are the one’s we are often the best at hiding.
Unlike birthmarks, scars have stories attached to them. They tell where we’ve been, what we’ve been up to and sometimes the consequences we’ve paid for the life we’ve lived and the choices we’ve made. I have multiple scars under my chin from cracking my chin open numerous times and I can remember each and ever one and each time was another trip to the emergency room. I have a scar on my head from the same type of injury and remember my parents getting me McDonald’s for dinner because I’d spent the day in the emergency room after that accident in my childhood kitchen. I have a scar on my leg from a dog bite, a scar on my pinky finger from a Halloween jack-o-lantern carving incident in middle school and I have a scar on my upper chest where my chemo port sat under the skin, allowing life saving medicine to be delivered throughout my body.
Now I have a scar on my hip that has given me my life back. I feel like I’ve been given a new body with a new chance at life. I’ve got new opportunities for dates with people I never would have chosen before surgery because they were active and into hiking or physical activity and I just wouldn’t have been able to keep up with them before. Now I can. I’m still healing, of course. I still have weeks of physical therapy to complete and it’s hard work getting the range of motion back to where it’s supposed to be, but I’ve stopped using the walker and recently I’ve been using the cane only infrequently. I’m back to walking, I’m back to crossing my legs, I’m back to being able to touch my ankles together as I stand up straight with legs that are once again the same length.
I am new. I am whole. I have a brand new, shiny scar and a new story to tell to go with it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hey you! Over there! Yeah, you….Exciting life!….I’ve been waiting to join you and now I can. Life is about to get really exciting and full of new adventure. It’s completely worth the scar and I’ll wear it with pride.
Heeeeere we go!