It took wild courage for me to post this picture.
If you can’t figure it out, it’s a photo of the scar on my left leg. I have spent much of my life hiding my scars, particularly this train track on my shin. This mark is visible whenever I wear a skirt so I have worn pants for decades. My scars used to tell me that I wasn’t like everyone else. They made me feel unattractive, an oddity, a bit of a freak.
There are two kinds of scars, visible and invisible. Like many of us, I bear both. Each has been difficult. Each has elements of shame. Each carries its own pain. This post is about my visible scars; the next is about my invisible ones.
Some people are proud of their scars: they speak of courage. They show others what they’ve endured. But for me, with scars covering both my legs, they were not medals to wear, proclaiming my bravery. They were rather deficiencies to hide, reminding me daily of my flaws. Reminding me I was damaged.
As a teenager, I desperately wanted a perfect body, hoping that would have made me feel accepted. But instead I saw in the mirror a body deformed by polio and further marked by the 21 ensuing operations. In a world filled with images of flawlessly airbrushed models, it was a challenge to believe that my physical imperfections were beautiful.
So hiding my scars was natural. That way, no one could see how imperfect I was. That way, I could look more normal. That way, I wouldn’t be humiliated.
My scars were simply jagged reminders of my pain. View full post »