Have you ever had one of those moments when something brilliant popped into your head, but by the time you go to write it down…it’s gone? That sort of happened to me with this post. I had a wonderful point to make, and the perfect words for it, but my computer was already off so I had to write by hand (imagine!), and by the time my battered wrists got to the end I had forgotten those perfect words. I tried to salvage it, sorry if it sort of fizzles out.
I did something really fascinating last night. I took a good look at something that’s been a part of me for two years, but that I’ve never actually SEEN before.
Two years ago, my beautiful baby girl decided that floating around in my belly with her butt in the air simply wasn’t for her. She sat upright in me, proud and determined, and calmly declared, “to hell with what I SHOULD do, I like this better.” So my stubborn girl was cut from me, to arrive defiantly bum first into the cold sterile air of the operating room.
I was terrified of the cesarean. I was afraid I would end up with this horrible disfiguring scar, hidden numbly under an apron of skin, refusing to show its face. What I got surprised me. Smooth. Light. All but invisible but for one thing.
Before my cesarean they shaved the top inch or so of my pubic hair off. It allowed for a lower incision, one that wouldn’t be visible in a bikini (as if I wear them, damn overrated pieces of not-clothing!). But as my incision healed, the hair grew back. By the time the pain was gone and only the smooth line on my skin remained as a testament to my daughter’s obstinacy, the scar was covered completely. Or as completely as it ever would be: the hair did not grow back in exactly the same pattern. It had to rearrange itself around this new line, this scar I had earned. The growth pattern was the only thing that made my invisible scar, visible.
Or so I thought, until last night when I decided to shave off one end and see what the scar actually looks like. (I wanted to do the whole thing but I was afraid of the itching. I’m sure it itched the first time, but who can feel something so trivial compared to a six inch GASH?) For the first time in two years I could actually SEE the physical result of something that has ruled my thoughts for all that time…and it was not quite what I expected.
The smooth new skin of my scar undulates, waxing and waning like a seismograph recording aftershocks. The scar itself is straight enough, but in some places it is only a line and in others it widens to nearly a quarter inch. I can only see a fraction of it and I’m fascinated.
I have other scars on my body. The line of my knee from a car window as a child. The two tiny lines on my chin as a souvenir of my first—and only—game of flag football in high school P.E. A line across my upper arm where I misjudged the distance between a hot cookie sheet and my tender flesh. But none of these accidental marks are nearly as complex as the one that was put there on purpose, the one that nobody ever sees—including me.
For more than two years my scar has defined a part of me. It has become the basis of my interests, of my obsessions. It is such a huge part of “me”, and yet nobody ever sees it. So many people base their self-worth on looks, but it is what is invisible—or at least hidden—that really defines us. Nobody can see what’s in your heart, and that is where beauty truly matters.
I wanted to write about how intriguing scars are. Everybody has them and every scar has it’s story. But the phrases that got me so excited to sit down and write have now gone clear out of my head. All I can say is that every scar on my body is a part of my story. Maybe a big part, maybe not. But major or insignificant, each one has changed me in some way, defined some piece of my life and some piece of the uniqueness that is my body.
What do your scars say about you? Do you hide them from the world or from yourself? Do you embrace them and say, “this is me, I am unique”? Do you value the scars and marks on your heart as a definition of your SELF, or do you focus on the façade that is out there for the world to see?
I have written about my scar before, on SOAM.
I am 27 years old. I am a mother to one little girl (so far…), she is 2 years and 2 months old. The cesarean was my first major surgery. Sorry if the picture is awkward, there’s really no classy way to take a close-up of pubic hair! It was taken just last week.