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.
"Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.” ~Leonard Cohen