A synonym for the word ‘scar’ is the word ‘blemish’. The definition of the word ‘blemish’ refers to an imperfection or flaw. I disagree. You see, no scar should be given the authority to define you or challenge your beauty. No scar should be understood as a flaw. Scars suggest all kinds of possibilities: stretch marks, self-harm or surgery (to name a few) – so in my view, scars are marks of strength and in some instances; achievement.
Last year I beat skin cancer. Consequently, I had operations that left disparate sized scars engraved amongst the top quarter of my body. In the duration of this oppressive time, I gathered that my life was more important and precious than scars left on the surface of my skin. However, as I began to recover and become more mobile again, I started to doubt my beauty. Each and every outfit I sported was carefully selected on the circumstance that it covered the extensive demon scar that was imprinted on the top center of my back. One night I went clubbing and refused to take my fur coat off because the back of my top was low, showcasing the scar. Yes, I danced in a sweaty club wearing a fur coat and yes I did feel stupid. But at that point in time, I would have rather been perceived as some freak who couldn’t dress according to the climate, than have people to stare at it whilst considering all the possibilities of what could’ve caused it. I’d try everything to conceal this scar; I’d apply makeup over the top of it, unnecessarily wear a huge plaster or I would just cover it up with clothing altogether (even during summer).
Over time, I have taught myself that my scars are simply marks on my skin. They’re not flaws, they’re quite the opposite. The scars on my skin add character and depth to my being. My scar from skin cancer means a whole lot more than meets the eye. This scar defines my strength – I experienced anxiety and sleepless nights due to thinking through all the possible outcomes my diagnosis could lead me to, including the worst of course. But I kept strong for the sake of the people around me, and I’m blessed for my lucky escape, one that not everyone gets. Almost a year on, I cherish life and embrace it on another level, I once took it for granted. I only accept peace into my life as it’s too short for anything else. I have a lot less time for negative energy and negative people.
My scar is a reminder of where I have been, it does not dictate where I am going. It’s a tattoo of faith – no matter how bad things may seem, if you keep faithful then you keep the door of possibilities open and allow room for light to lift you back up. My scar is my battle wound and I’m proud of it, I’m proud of the life lessons I’ve learned and the new perspective on life I’ve gained. Scars mean the hurt is over and the wound is closed, so the next chapter can commence.
The vast population of women will encounter stretch marks at some point in life. Stretch marks often lead to women feeling ashamed of their skin and embarrassed. I say this admittedly hypocritically – why do we allow diminutive scars on our skin to control our confidence? Stretch marks are often the result of natural causes such as pregnancy and puberty – two important aspects of life and the scars developed should be embraced and admired. They’re marks of accomplishment and development.
Embrace your scars regardless of how you gained them. You can only go in one direction and that’s forward, you just have to block out your insecurities. Allow yourself to be happy in your skin. Life really is too precious, don’t waste time away.
By Hannah Goulding