"Listen to the words that others can't speak; speak the words that others can't hear."

Thursday, January 3, 2013


    Climbing a tree as a kid, falling off your bike or skateboard, burning yourself while cooking or getting wounded in war... Scars are symbols of hardships and overcoming. They are a symbol of strength. They signify certain stages of life coming to an end and for some people they are a source of pride. On the other hand, they could symbolize weakness. A moment in time where something went wrong and one was deeply wounded.
     Unfortunately for me, scars are all too common on my body. In fact, I have probably close to 50 scars on my body right now. Some are big and others small; I needed stitches for some of them while for others a simple band-aid did the trick. They are a constant reminder of how I gave in during a moment of weakness.

     Being a swim instructor now, scars are very difficult to hide. When I'm out of the water it's easy to wear long sleeves or pants, but in the water there's nothing that'll hide them. While I was doing my training the other day, I began to feel uncomfortable with my body when I realized one of the girls was staring at me. Immediately thoughts about being fat and ugly ran through my head. I wanted to run out of there. I began to think with my wise mind and told myself that it wasn't my body, it had to be something else. I followed her gaze and when I looked down I remembered that I have four big scars right smack in the middle of my thigh and she was staring right at them.

     I felt so embarrassed. 

     I could feel my face burning red and I was afraid someone was going to ask me what was going on. I wanted to cry but was trying to pull myself together. I told myself it didn't matter, they're a part of who I am. I got in the pool as fast as possible and engaged in conversation to get my mind off things. 

     When I got home I allowed myself to think about it some more. Was it really that bad? I didn't care when I had open wounds there, why should I care now? Did it make me worse than everyone else? Did it make me less of a person?


     I am not less of a person for being weak at one point or another. I am no different from anyone else. My scars are meaningful to me and I shouldn't care what anyone else thinks. I've realized that I may look different from other people, but who doesn't? I am not less of a person and I deserve to feel good and comfortable with myself. 

     I am proud of my scars. Sure, sometimes I wish I didn't have so many of them, but I can't change that now. My scars no longer symbolize weakness. They are a reminder of how weak I've been in the past, but most importantly, they signify how strong I was to overcome my weakness. They're a reminder of how forgiving my God and my body is. For so long I caused harm to myself and my body pretending like it didn't matter, but I no longer have to do that. My God watched over me every single time I did that and he left a sign behind letting me know that He cares. If He didn't care He could have stopped my wounds from healing. I could have gotten an infection; I could have died. Instead, my body, God's wonderful creation, did what it was made to do and covered my wounds with new skin. I couldn't be more grateful than I am now. 

     Over time, I know most of my scars will fade. When that time comes I will be ready to see them go but will always remember each and every one of them; they all have a different story to tell. Scars aren't always visible and I think the biggest one of all is inside me. I'll always carry it on me, but even that one, the most painful of them all, is new skin. 

Like me, each scar has a story, but a new beginning as well. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tradition, Tradition!

     We celebrated the new year last night with an old Puerto Rican tradition. Back home friends get together and build what's called an "Año Viejo". They take a mop and put jeans and a t-shirt and stuff it with newspaper. They add a head and a face that's supposed to look like an old man. After all that is done, they write a note with what they want the past year to take with it, what they want to change.

     At midnight, everyone goes outside and light the Año Viejo on fire symbolizing an end to all the negative in the past year. Last night we made a mini Año Viejo of our own and burned it in our backyard. Knowing that it was illegal made it even more exciting! ;)

     It's the first day of the new year and I can't help but smile at the fact that 2012 is over. The new year symbolizes new beginnings and God knows I need that right now.

     Last night my parents said that they would want to erase this past year altogether, that they wanted it gone. I can understand why they would want that, it's been a difficult year for all of us, but to be honest, I wouldn't change a thing. Last year I learned more about myself than most people do in their entire lifetime, and I met some of the most amazing, loving and understanding people. I learned what it really means to "support our troops" and that trouble comes in all shapes and sizes, but one is never worse than the other. It's equivalent depending on each person and where they are in their life.

     God has a plan for each of us and I truly believe that last year was a part of the Plan. If I wouldn't have gone through the things I went through I wouldn't know the true value of life. All in all I am thankful for last year, but I wouldn't ever want to repeat it. 

     This year, if you're going through a rough time, keep your head up, keep smiling and remember that it's all part of the Plan. 

     Here's a little of what went on last night...