There is not a time that I can’t remember having a raised, silver line running down the center of my chest. It’s as though I was born with it. It is as much as a part of me as my arms and legs are.
Throughout my time I have acquired quite the collection of scars. The majority of them are from having open heart surgery. I have a scar running right down the middle of my chest. Then another starting on my boob, trailing under my right arm and almost reaching my spine. Along with these I have smaller scars scattered across my chest where the doctors inserted drains after my operation. They’re not the prettiest of things, but I do recall my mum telling me it was where I was ‘Kissed better’ in order to make my younger self accept them more.
Whilst growing up I managed to gather all of the childhood scars. From gashes in my knee from falling over in the playground. Scratches on my arms from my pet guinea pigs and scars along my forehead that happened when I ran into a birdbath and had to have my head stitched back together – along with numerous other ones that don’t have stories to them or are from the dreaded chicken pox.
To add to the assortment, two years ago I had my appendix removed which again, decorated my body with another four silver lines around my stomach. If you joined them up like a dot to dot game, they’d create the perfect kite shape.
I think you can agree that I have my fair share of battle wounds.
My scars didn’t really bother me until I started to hit the puberty age. I’d say I began to notice I was different than everyone else at around the age of ten. I remember being in Primary school and people would ask me what it was, why I had them, what they meant… They made their own assumptions and told me what they thought my scars looked like. One comment that has stuck with me for all this time is when someone compared them to the likes of bird muck. It was a great simile, especially for someone so young, but it was such a great simile that it hurt so much and is something that I’ve never forgotten.
Then came high school. This is when it really struck that I had scars and the majority of other people didn’t. I used to hate getting changed for PE. Partly because of the fact I’d have footballs thrown at my head and snide comments thrown in my direction (yeah, I was the nerd at the butt of everyone’s jokes), but having to get into my kit meant having to reveal my scars. And this terrified me.
Again I’d have curious comments asking why I have them. But no one was too brutal. I have no idea why, but I just felt so self conscious and different, which drove me to hating my scars (something I’ll never forgive myself for).
I remember times where I would get so upset and cry about the way I looked. I’d use make up to try and cover them up… but because the top part of my scar healed quickly, it has left it bumpy and raised, which meant makeup only drew more attention to them.
There were days I felt so low that I would consider having plastic surgery to make them smaller.
Social events such as prom were on the horizon and honestly, choosing the dress and trying to be happy with the way I looked felt like torture. It wasn’t just the way my scars looked, but if you have a scar you will know how strange it is to touch them. It is numb and weird and I just really hate the way it feels. So to have someone prodding around with pins and fitting my dress was not the most pleasant experience.
Prom is supposed to be the time when you dance with your high school sweetheart and forget all of your worries. But I never had a high school sweetheart and prom made we question whether I could ever be loved when my body is covered in scars. It made me sad and feel extremely unattractive.
When going to college I swore that I wouldn’t let me scars get me down, but oh how I broke this promise to myself. Everything was fine until I was asked out by some boy – of which I declined – and his best friend decided to use my operation against me. He called me ‘heartless’ and named my scar a ‘demon wound’. I get that he was standing up for his friend, but I feel as though I’d be more heartless leading him on than going on a date with him. All this is behind us, and the guy who asked me out is probably one of my closest friends right now and has been in a relationship with another girl for almost two years. I don’t talk to the other guy though, there comes a time in your life when you realise what kind of people you should surround yourself with, and someone who called my scar a ‘demon wound’ is not one of them.
I still get down about my scars from time to time, even last night I didn’t wear this top because it showed off too much of one. I guess I’ll always have good days and bad days with them, that is only natural, but I am learning to love my scars more and more. They are what have kept me alive and so are the greatest gift I have ever received. I doubt I would be the person I am today without them, they have made me stronger and braver than ever. My scars are what makes me, me, and even though it has taken time, I’m starting to see how beautiful they really are.