My Physical Scars, the Ugly, AND the Beauty

Andrea-Scars-3IScar have to be honest, revealing my scar is very hard.  I have lived with the shame of its presence, embarrassed by the fact that my body was indeed ugly. It was a painful reminder of my childhood, the surgeries, and the scorn.  The tattoo that covers my scar today has given me liberty I never knew I could have, both emotionally and even spiritually.  It has allowed me to look at my body, open my eyes, and for the first time feel beautiful.

As hard as this may be, I think it is important that I reveal my scars and not just my recent tattooed version, but the actual scar that I have lived with; because it too is part of my story, part of my truth and part of my beauty.

As a woman, you want to be loved, to feel adored. Yet, I hated myself and even tried to take my life. Hiding my truth, petrified of being exposed and living in humiliation when revealed, is how I existed. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would love me as I was. I lived in fear that my scars would be revealed, safeguarding and protecting myself from the rejection I knew that would come if they were.

Yet I survived. The surgeries that caused these scars were given to me to extend my life… a life I lived. In spite of myself, I lived, I loved and even found that I could be loved in return. I am who I am, with my scars, finding that I was still worth loving.

In truth, they consumed me, how I saw myself. They marked me physically, spiritually and emotionally. Yet, I have learned that these scars are really not what defines me. I am more than my scars. I am a daughter, a wife, a friend, a mother. I am a woman who knows the love of a man, who saw this scar and didn’t leave or turn away, but reached down and kissed it… because he loved me, all of me.

I am a woman who has loved so deeply, beyond what I thought my heart could hold, transformed by the moment I first held my children. Each day they grow, my heart grows with them.

Scars, they mar us. They effect everything we do, how we interact with people, and more importantly how we feel about our self. Yet, I have learned that it was me who labeled myself ugly. It was me who rejected myself before I ever was rejected by anyone else.

I have learned that I could be loved not in spite of my scars, but with my scars, and even because of my scars. I have learned that I could love myself and see that my scars reveal not my shame, but that I survived, I lived and I am beautiful. My beauty is my heart, my faith, my resilience, my failures and my victories. My beauty is my perfection and my imperfection, because each is part of that authentic me.

I wish I could go back and tell that fourteen year old me, that she is beautiful. I wish I could give her a true picture of who she really is, because all she was able to see then was that scar.

I know I am not the only person who has wounds. It is that reason I share my story. Each of us battle scars. They can score us, change us, damage us, and even describe us… but we can also see them as having lived, survived, show that we grew, we loved, and have been loved.

I am scarred beautiful. My back to me now is no longer a vision of the hurt of painful procedures and shame of being disfigured from infancy, but a beautiful symbol of my life. I have scars, physical, emotional and spiritual. But I can honestly say, God has taken my ugly and angry and transformed its canvas with His own artistic hand into something beautiful… I am grateful for each stroke of His hand, for each scar that was a catapult to my humility and victory, for every failure that taught me to get back up and try again, each lesson and changed perspective. Ultimately I have learned to love me, to appreciate the unique and unmatchable me. When I can love myself, I allow others to love me too and more importantly I can receive their love. Are you scarred beautiful too?  #scarredbeautiful

(Dr. Goldberg at Pima Dermatology in Tucson, Arizona, performed many laser treatments on my scar.  Through and because of those treatments my scars texture and color was softened, making the tattoo possible.  Keely Tacket was the artist who provided me the tattoo cover.  Her artistry and sensitivity to my situation has changed my life.  She has a studio in Tucson, Arizona, and a studio in Costa Rica.  I will make available more information on the type of treatments I received and additional before and after photographs in the near future.  Please feel free to contact me or comment if you have any questions in the mean time.  If you suffer with physical scars, treatment is available.  Our scars are more than physical, they change us.  We all can use help with our scars and I am grateful for the people in my life who gave me that help.)