The thing about bodies is, we often think of ourselves in one body. After having four kids, I didn’t have the body I had as a 23 year-old. But when I thought of myself, when I imagined myself in some scene, it was always in that 23 year-old body. And in some ways, it was a goal. I could get back there. I could be a size four again. But now, I could never have that body back. I had a scar. I was a scar.
My first clear memory after surgery is looking down at my marred body. It was big. It was ugly. I was the monster of Frankenstein, pieced back together with large staples that ran from two inches above my belly button down to my pubic bone.
I couldn’t be beautiful again. And everyone would see it, unless I covered it up. Protected myself from the looks people would give me. Protected myself from my own disgust.
So instead of taking time to rest, I took time to feverishly look up tattoos to cover the scar. To cover it with something beautiful. To make me forget how ugly I was.
It would have to be large. It would be a long and painful process to cover it. Pain covering my pain. I would need an artist to make my body beautiful again.
I didn’t cover that scar. It’s one of the things I love most about my body now. It is beautiful. It’s come with me through very dark places. It was there when I spent a year with constant flashbacks. It was there when I learned to be vulnerable. It was there when I realized that I wasn’t the only one with a beautiful scar that hid beneath my clothes, hid inside my soul. It was there when my heart was heavy and when I wore my heart of my sleeve.
If I ever write a fantasy novel, my hero’s super power will be to read scars. She’d touch a person’s scar and know the story, the pain, the feelings that left that mark. An intimate experience. Feeling that scar that runs down the side of their head, slices through their body, wraps down into their shoe. The pain, the connectedness, the beauty.