Tag Archives: Scars

CHD | Growing up scarred

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Scars are Beautiful

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I’ve been meaning to take part in the Scars are Beautiful Campaign for such a long time now, but it has not been until today that I have plucked up the courage to take this photo. It’s not just a case of snapping a picture of your scar, there is a more spiritual and deeper meaning towards it. Taking this photo is an acknowledgement that Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Is always going to be a part of me. Even though myself and my family have been through so much with this, if I had to change one thing in my life it would definitely not be being born with this heart condition. It sounds crazy, I know, but it has played such a big part in my life and has completely shaped who I am today that without having been through the operations and hospital appointments, I would be a totally different person.

But it wasn’t me who I was doing this for today. When taking this picture I was thinking of someone extremely close to me who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She got the all clear the other week and is doing amazingly well, but to get to where she is now, she had to go through a mastectomy. To me this is braver than anything I have ever been through. As with all operations, she has been left with a scar and now has to come to terms with this. I am sure she will eventually, but I really can’t imagine what she is going through now. My thoughts are with her every second of every day.

Everything my family have been through have made us such a close unit. They are all absolutely amazing and I can honestly say that they are some of the strongest people I have ever met. I have no idea what I would do without them, they are utterly the most precious thing I have.

If you’d like to find out more about the Scars are Beautiful Campaign visit their Facebook page here.

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TopShop’s Temporary Scar Tattoos

If you don’t know already, I was born with a Congenital Heart Disease called Fallot’s Tetralogy. This means there were three things wrong with my heart which needed to be fixed. I’m not going into the gory details, but I have had two operations which have left me with two prominent scars. One runs down the centre of my chest, and the other runs under my arm to the centre of my back. Then just under two years ago now, I had my appendix taken out which again resulted in a scar above my belly button, another slightly under it and one on each of my hips. If you joined them together they’d make a perfect kite! Overall, I do have my fair share of scars.

When I saw TopShop’s new release my first reaction was something along the lines of: ‘What the hell have they done that for?!’ They have brought out Gold Temporary Scar Tattoos. First of all let me say that they look NOTHING like scars in the slightest. One of them looks like a glamorous Wolverine mark and the others take on a kind of henna design form but none of them actually look like scars.

Secondly, what made me angrier about this idea is that the designer, Lucie Davis, called scars, ‘imperfections’. Now from someone who has battled with self-confidence issues about their scars, hearing a stranger call them imperfections is quite insulting. I get the idea that she wants to make scars look glamorous, but this is definitely not the way to go about it. There is not one thing about these designs that is real about scars. They’re not red or bumpy or oddly shaped. No. They are thin lines with pretty little dots, evenly spread out on either side of them. There is nothing natural at all about these designs.

I really don’t like the image that Lucie Davis is putting out either. Scars are NOT temporary. You cannot just wash them off if you don’t like them. You can’t wash off all that sadness and pain that you went through getting those scars. Scars are not just marks on your body, they hold vivid memories and intense stories that stay with you forever. So making something that significant and that meaningful into some kind of superficial money making design, really is self-centred and offensive. Lucie Davis has obviously not thought about what having a scar actually means.

I am actually quite surprised that TopShop has allowed these to be modelled, as I know a lot of modelling agencies do not like the idea of taking on girls with so called ‘flaws’. However, even though the models are pictured with these tattoos on, their actual flaws have been photoshopped out. To me this is not a way of rejoicing scars. If it was that important to TopShop to show off how they want to celebrate scars, then they should hire models that actually have real scars to be pictured in their new fashion lines instead of taking on fresh faced ‘perfect’ models.

I don’t know what you make of these scars. Please let me know in the comments. I just believe that these tattoos are extremely insincere and fake.

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Modeling with scars

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I’ve been doing a lot of online clothes browsing recently – I think it has helped me procrastinate a lot through the exam period but hasn’t been so kind to my bank account.

When looking at the models on these sites I’ve noticed that none of them have visible scars which made me think, do you actually have to be that perfect in order to become a model.

When growing up a part of me has always wanted to try the modeling life. Whether or not it’s the pretty clothes you get put in, or the glamorous hairstyles that get tried out on you, there is something very appealing about the modeling world. I know it’s not all as nice as it is made out, and there’s a lot of competition and stress placed on models these days, but still… it does look fun!

However, a big question is… if I ever made a go of becoming a model, would my scars be holding me back?

I’ve been doing a little bit of research and what I found is quite upsetting.

Many sites have said that having a scar doesn’t ruin your chances of becoming a model. This made me happy and gave me hope that the modelling world might not actually be as hard on  ‘perfection’ as people think it is.

However, I read on throughout these articles and these three key points were mentioned in each one:

 

1. Technology is so advanced that it is easy for scars to be edited out of pictures.

2. Make up artists do their best to hide your scars.

3. You could be dressed in something that doesn’t reveal your scars.

 

When reading these, I began to lose hope. To me these three statements are completely ridiculous, it seems as though the world has gone insane.

Having scars myself, it is safe to say they can make you feel vulnerable and insecure. So it makes me mad when the media makes out that having scars is a bad thing and they should be hidden or covered up. I know a lot of the attention is focused around on how slim a model should look. Just like size, a scar or two should not be made out to taint someone’s beauty.

We should see scars as adding dimension to a person, it gives them a history and a story. They should be celebrated not hidden or ‘edited’ away.

They’re a natural part of a human body and the modeling world should come to acknowledge this.

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Scars | My summer challenge

It’s getting to that time of year where everything is coming to an end. First year of uni is almost over for me, the holidays are quickly approaching and it’s always this time of year where I seem to find myself in a bit of a rut.

Exams are on the horizon, which is a very scary and very stressful thing. And it’s the time of deadlines and late nights revising which just kind of gets you bogged down anyway. But all of this just seems to be a way of life now.

The seasons are changing, and the weather is getting hotter. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love summer, but summer seems to bring my self-esteem down quite a lot.

I’ve noticed it in more recent years than I have in the past that I seem to get down quite a bit about my scars from various operations. Summer is a time when they are always on show and they’re always on my mind when planning an outfit.

In the winter you can get away with disguising them and hiding them under jumpers and roll necks, but in the summer when you’re wearing little low cut things and floaty tops, they always seem to be there.

It’s not that I don’t want people to see them, it’s just when they do I find people staring at them if they don’t know your history. Or in the past people have said cruel things about them, which hopefully wont happen now I’m not in high school but it still makes you a bit scared of having your scars on display.

Summer is also a time for crop tops and because of having my appendix out, my belly button still looks a little bit worse for wear even though it’s a year on from the op.

I also have three other scars situated around my belly button from the keyhole surgery which I must say, am a little bit self conscious about. Because it’s only a year, they’re still slightly raised and haven’t properly yet faded as much as they will hopefully do. But I’m kind of getting around this by wearing high waisted jeans, which sometimes leaves the scar on my belly button peeping out over the top.

Because of this, this summer I’m going to revamp my wardrobe a bit and force myself to be brave. I’m going to wear more girly things and try and not worry about what others might think or say about my scars.

It is a bit of a daunting thought but I’m going to set myself this challenge to try and overcome my fear of what other people might say to me. Because to be honest, they probably wont say anything at all. I just can’t help but feel scared and self conscious.

I do get down about them from time to time, and I just think this is one of those times.

If you also have scars, I think you should learn to love them. I’m not quite there yet, but without them I wouldn’t be here, so I wouldn’t really want it any other way.

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Scars | There’s Beauty behind the Beast

It’s not like me to open up to the world about this. But if I help at least one person then I guess it’s worth it, right?

When I was born I suffered from Fallot’s Tetralogy which in simpler terms means I was born with a hole in my heart. No one really knows why this happens and people have holes in their hearts without even realising, but I guess mine was more of a serious case. Not only was there a hole, but one of my arteries was quite small which meant my heart was finding it hard to pump blood around my body at the right speed. This means the left side of my heart was working wayyy too hard making the muscle bigger than it should have been.

To cut a long story short, at the age of two I had to have an operation to fix my heart (I was too small to operate on when I was born!)

Luckily everything went amazingly well and I am healthy and fit and loving life. However, having major surgery like this leaves you with scars – scars on the surface for everyone to see, but also emotional scars too. I know I was only two years old, but it still gets me to think of what my family and myself must have been through. To live through such a time and tell the story is a miracle and you have to look at the positives when facing a situation like this.

I’m not going to lie. Having scars from surgery does get me down from time to time. I have two main scars. One that runs from the top of my chest all the way down to the bottom of my rib cage and another that runs from under my arm onto my back. The one under my arm isn’t so bad, you can hide it with a T-shirt. However, the one on my chest is always on display. Because I’ve lived with it for 16 years, I tend to forget about it on a day to day basis, but when coming up to an event or planning an outfit to go out I always take into consideration having a scar.

When it was my prom I was terrified of showing my scar. People will have seen it every day and wouldn’t have even taken a second look, but I was so self conscious and to me it was a pretty big thing. I felt different and angry, as though life wasn’t fair. I wanted to look pretty, but how could I look pretty when I was baring scars? In the evening of prom I was conscious of my scar and it did taint my night. From that point on I swore to myself not to let it get in the way and instead of getting down about my scars, I should embrace them. I mean they are beautiful really, without them I wouldn’t be here today.

As cheesy as it sounds, I feel as though they have made me who I am. I grab every opportunity in life and thrive off every day as I’m so thankful just to be living and seeing each sunrise. I’ve decided to wear what I want instead of trying to cover up my scars because if people are going to see it, they’re more likely to be concerned rather than judge.

I’m not saying that I’ve not experienced comments on it before. Even recently my friend’s boyfriend took one look and said ‘’eww what is that?’’, but surely that just shows his true colours and ignorance to the situation rather than putting down the way I look.

I’ve also had my appendix out which has left scars. Thankfully these are just little keyhole ones but they’re still scars none the less. My torso is practically covered! I also have around six scars dotted nicely on my chest where drains from my heart surgery used to be. I try and tell myself that they don’t affect me, but they still do a little bit, as this summer I don’t think I’ll be wearing any crop tops!

However, I may make it my aim to.

Overcoming the fear of what others may think and say is a big thing, and I hope that I’m almost there.  Yes, I will get down about them, but I think this is only natural.

I believe that you have to be proud of who you are and embrace the fact that you’re still here today, living and breathing and enjoying this wonderful world.

If you’re down about scars and want to talk to someone who is going through the same thing then drop me an email, but throughout this ramble, my message really is to just accept who you are and don’t get down from something that has made your life so much better.

At the end of the day your scars are part of you. They add to your body and tell a story. They represent the wars that you have been through and you should wear them like medals.

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