I had surgery this last week. My gallbladder decided to stage a revolt and had to be removed posthaste. It was the first surgery I’ve had, and I was a bit leery about the whole thing. I imagined all of the worst case scenarios; the improbable and unlikely things that only happen to one in several thousand cases. I would be that one case. My luck is just that terrible. So for a few weeks I ruminated over the possible things that could befall me in the hospital, a place I hate above all things. I worried. I fretted. I may have cried once or twice.
And then it was over. I went in, fell asleep, and awoke without my pesky gallbladder to give me any more issues. A couple of weeks of recovery, and I’ll be almost good as new. Maybe even better. A whole new me.
The day after my surgery, it occurred to me that I would have scars where they cut me open; five marks they left behind as they removed the offending organ. Five scars on my skin. Five more imperfections I wouldn’t be able to undo.
But scars are sexy right?
I didn’t feel sexy. Standing in the bathroom, the light glaring on the body I’ve rarely loved the way I ought, I saw only more reasons for a man to think me not beautiful. I saw more reasons for me to avoid looking at my own body. I saw five reasons to cover myself with layers and excuses, hiding scars that I was embarrassed about.
And I know it sounds trivial. I see the words typed out for you and I to read, and I can hear the petulance in them. But as a woman who feels uncomfortable in her own skin, knowing there are five new marks on me only heightens those feelings. I feel self conscious. Perhaps even unworthy.
Then I think about the other scars, the ones tattooed on my soul. I think about the thoughts and actions that have left their mark on me. I think about the struggles I’ve endured, the storms I’ve encountered that leave me battered and broken. I think of how many times I’ve had to put myself back together. I think about the jagged scars on my heart, left behind as I’ve tried to stitch it into some semblance of what it once was though pieces seem to be missing.
I look in the mirror and see a woman who isn’t whole. Who is broken. Who needs to be healed.
I see a woman who will always carry scars.
I see a woman who is better for them.
Everyone carries their own marks; scars on their heart, body, and soul. We see them, often, as something that mars our perfection rather than a thing of beauty. We see them as something to hide. We are embarrassed by them and the past they imply. We look at our scars and wish them away. We tell ourselves it is unfair that we have to carry them with us always.
But there is beauty in imperfection. We are, after all, the gorgeous sum of our flaws.
Scars mean we have endured.
They set us apart. They are our stories, written on us to be read by those who are a bit broken themselves. The scars show that we have survived; that we’ve fought and wrestled our way through. Our scars prove that we are healed, touched by a loving Father who loves us because of the lives we’ve lead, in spite of the mistakes and because of the risks.
Our scars make us who we are. They make us sexy, gorgeous, and breathtakingly beautiful. They make us a person worth knowing and loving. Our scars are nothing to be ashamed of.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.