Tuesday, April 21, 2009

scar stories

Sid and I were watching tv last night when this stupid commercial for some scar lightening cream came on. The woman in the commercial was "so ashamed" of her scars, and this cream was able to make her feel good about herself again. You know, the typical gimmicky line of BS.

Why be ashamed of a scar? Why try to hide it, or lie about it? I don't understand.

My mother got burned pretty badly on her arm about ten years ago, and it got infected, and left a pretty funky scar. It's barely noticeable, but if you know what to look for, it's a patch of slightly lighter, bumpy skin on her forearm. And she was so ashamed of it, it bothered her so much. One day I walked in on her complaining about it, how it was going to "mark her for the rest of her life." And I was gobsmacked. I'd never considered it like that.

When I was four, I fell off a swing and broke my arm. Really badly. We're talking bones sticking out, arm twisted around broke my arm. Where the bones stuck out, where the doctors cut it open to try and repair the damage, I have a pretty spectacular zig-zag scar on my forearm, about five inches long. Stupid people have seen it and asked appropriately stupid questions (DID YOU TRY TO CUT YOUR WRIST?). But I have never been ashamed of it. I don't try to hide it, and therefore, people don't really notice it. It is just part of who I am, and most people will not mention it, indeed, will not even see it until I specifically point it out.

I told my mother that scars were nothing to be ashamed of, that it was merely something that meant we have healed from physical trauma. If anything, we should be proud of our scars, because if you believe they "mark us for life" they mark us as people who have hurt, who have been scared, who bled and cried. They are testaments to pain, and to healing.

She looked at me cockeyed, but she never really complained about her scars again. Maybe she just thought I was crazy.


Celia said...

I have never minded my scar. It's pretty faded now. I spilled a ten gallon pot of boiling water and it hit my stomach and dripped down. So for a while it was pretty...eye catching. But it never bothered me. I still did stuff. After almost ten years you really have to hunt for it.

I think mine just reminded me of the price I paid for being too proud to ask for help lifting something.

Queermo said...

Crazy: you and me, sweetie. If the world does not like it, too bad.

Although we're not really crazy. We just wish we were. ;)

Guera! said...

This was a great post. You are so right about scars. I hope your mom took your words to heart.
Here for ICLW

Kristin said...

Fabulous post and a really fabulous outlook on things.

BTW, I read your last post and have to say that spelling and grammatical errors drive me crazy too. And, some internet shorthand drives me nuts. Why type prolly instead of probably? It is ridiculous not rediculous!

BTW, its good to find another North Carolinian blogger.


Gina said...

I have a pretty giant scar on my left shin. I got it when I was little and I was jumping from bed to bed with a friend of mine. Well, I missed the bed once and hit the metal frame.

I've always liked it, it's kinda bad ass, but I will always remember how and when it happened even though you can barely see it anymore.


Jill said...

I never really understood how someone could be ashamed of a scar, either. I think they show strength of character. Great post!


Gina said...

Thanks so much for the comment :o)

P.S.- I <3 NIN too

Mrs. Gamgee said...

I've always been rather proud of my scars (I have a lot of little ones being that I'm excessively klutzy), but it was my mom's attitude about scars that really defined the issue for me. My mom is a five time cancer survivor... and her biggest scar is almost a foot long. She looks at her scars as badges of honour. They are victories won!