Scarred for Life


In the book The Hunger Games, the protagonist, Katniss, wakes up and finds all of her scars have been removed. My reaction surprised me. Parting with some of mine, would be like losing old friends.

I want to keep my scars.


The other side of me relishes the thought of having perfect skin, especially as I approach another birthday. Having an unblemished epidermis does appeal to me, for a fleeting moment.

Susie Lindau self-portrait

Somehow, scars are different. They have meaning. History left its mark upon my flesh and with history there is a story to tell. Believe me, this Wild Rider has more than a few.

I just looked for my oldest and favorite scar and it’s gone! It seems many have been snatched in the night, replaced by zombie freckles. In the right light, I can see a shadow of where it remained for so many years, but I am probably imagining it. I still remember its story.

When I was five years old, my family lived in an apartment. Skateboarders loved our street because of the hill and lack of traffic. Some of my friends didn’t appreciate the teenagers that descended on our quiet neighborhood.

We made up a chant and hid behind the bushes. Then we shouted out to the older boys, “Hey you skateboarders, think you’re so big! We don’t like you, so get off Ascot Lane!”

They laughed and ignored us.


Later, I watched them from the picture window. It looked like fun. My dad came home from work and offered his help. He built a skateboard out of metal roller skates and a 2×4. He sanded the edges to make it look authentic.

Without any parental supervision or a helmet, non-existent back in the day, I carried my new skateboard to the top of the hill.

I am sure that I took a deep breath and said, “I can do this!” One of the teenagers held the board for me. He pointed it downhill and gave me instructions. While balancing on top with my arms outstretched, he let go. I’m not sure how far I rolled on the board, but I do remember being airborne for several feet before landing on my left knee.

After limping back home, my mom applied a huge bandage. I bet I yapped about my misadventure for weeks!

Many of my surface scars have stories to go with them: A fingernail scratch across the cheek from an impatient and very young friend, a kite string across the bridge of my nose, several puncture wounds and stitches. Each is like a page from my life. The wounds may have been painful and others limited me for a while, but somehow they made me stronger. They also remind me that I will never be perfect and that’s okay.

When I think of the scars on one’s soul, I can see where some would want them removed. The pain of the worst memories can haunt at the oddest of times. Thinking back, I have learned and been shaped by all of them. I am the sum total of all the recollections of my life. It’s what makes me, me.

Many years ago, a friend of mine suffered a head-on automobile collision and survived after being in a coma for weeks. He lost much of his memory and was never the same person again. His cocky confidence was replaced by an introverted stranger. I realized so much of who we are is stored in our memories.

Katniss didn’t have a choice in her scars’ removal. I would be reluctant to part with mine whether they are on the surface or on my soul. They all have a story to tell. No one is perfect. When I look at my body and its scars, I smile.

Would you part with yours?

Photos from Wikimedia Commons

Self-portrait illustration by Susie Lindau

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Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games

132 thoughts on “Scarred for Life

  1. I think there might be an exception to all this: burn victims. I truly think they do deserve cosmetic surgery if it helps them.

    I don’t have scars from accidents yet….and hopefully won’t. Not that I dislike scars, I just don’t want incidents that would disable me.

    You wouldn’t know it from meeting me but I was hit by a car as a pedestrian when I was a teen and have fallen a few times from cycling over ice over the past years.

    No my scars, are from having imperfect skin ( I had bad acne as a teen and that was a huge deal since it meant dermatologist visits, medication, etc.) I have found meeting other women who had bad acne as a teen, are different in their perspective how they become more easily comfortable in their natural physicality as a women as they age. Just my opinion. Their scars are still abit on their face, but they never take their other good physical features /good health for granted.

    Getting scarred when you’re a teenager can change a person by giving them a bit more perspective.


    • Huh! That is so enlightening. I had acne when growing up. Luckily I don’t have too many scars, but I think you may be right about what we accept of our appearance. Pretty cool really!
      I agree about burn victims. Oh man. That has to be the worst of all.
      Cycling over ice! Wow! I grew up in Wisconsin and lucked out with that kind of accident…
      Thanks for stopping by!


    • Thanks Nia! I guess most of them are going to stay around for a while, but I do miss the ones that have faded… It’s funny how since I wrote the post, I have found a few others with stories I had forgotten!


  2. If I were to see someone without physical or emotional scars, I’d think either that person is very young or has been completely sheltered. Either way, they haven’t lived.

    Great post, Susie. I like that illustration, too.


    • Hey Thanks!
      I agree and believe that it is through the tough times that we grow. I remember reading that sentiment a really long time ago and thinking, “I can do without them,” but now I am glad for all of the experiences, good and bad! I will have to post about the emotional scars – in a light way – some other time…


  3. Pingback: Susie Strong | Alarna Rose Gray

  4. I do think remembering where we’ve been helps us get where we’re going. I was disappointed that Katniss’ hearing got restored after her Hunger Games ordeal (not sure if that was only in the book or the movie too). I actually thought having that loss would make her a stronger and more interesting character. Glad I found you through the Pitch Party!


    • Wow! This is a post from waaaay back! I agree about her scars and hearing loss. That threw me when her skin was restored.
      Thanks for coming! I just got home and will check out your blog and others tomorrow!


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