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.
Scars have meaning.
History left its mark upon my flesh and 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. It faded away! Many of them have been snatched in the night and 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 two-by-four. He sanded the edges to make it look authentic.
Without any parental supervision, pads, or 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 don’t remember skateboarding down that huge hill again. 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.
And an update in 2017.
Since writing this post years ago, scars have been added across my chest after double boobectomies and one down my knee and thigh from partial knee replacement. The irony? I used the same Katniss Everdeen photo for pulling myself out of depression after going off oxycontin a week after knee surgery. Would I miss those scars? They could be a bit smaller, but I don’t mind the reminder of not only surviving but thriving.
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 in 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
Becoming New and Improved Bionically in 2015
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!
I don’t mind my physical scars, but I’d be fine having the invisible ones disappear.
At least they both fade over time.
Brilliant! I like my scars too. Same reason.
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!
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.
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…
I would not part with my scars, nor with what they represent.
I am so glad you agree! I may have felt differently about some on my legs when I was younger, but now I cherish them and their stories!
Thanks for stopping by and reading!
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!
Most of mine are small, and tell a story I’m proud to own. But.
I have a few on and near my left eye, where I was mauled by our neighbors’ dog when I was little. These scars are tiny and old; no one else can even see them, honestly. But my left eye droops a little compared to my right, and there’s a spot on the outside of my left eyelid where eyeshadows won’t blend properly and liquid shadow won’t ever stick, because Scar Tissue. Even my dermatologist has to look closely to see the problem, and we’ve all agreed that there’s no solution at this point other than to keep on living with it, but these are the scars I hate because they are a daily frustration. And every time I apply or check my makeup, I’m reminded that I hate dalmations (I don’t blame other breeds, but I nurture a deep grudge against the spotty bastards who can’t be trusted around children). I’d wave a magic wand and disappear those in a heartbeat.
I don’t blame you! I have one on below my brow from a rose bush. Now I wear sunglasses when I prune! The brown mark is also becoming a wrinkle. Gah! That’s the wear and tear we endure through living. After going through a few nasty health battles, I accept mine as a badge of thriving despite them!
LikeLiked by 1 person