I Love My Scarred Body

Photo: Minerva Bloom, Creative Commons

[Guest Post by Lindsay Kathleen] – If you would have asked me as a teen if I loved my scarred body, I would have told you a big fat NO!

The last question a parent wants to answer is,

“Would you like us to make the incision vertically down her chest or horizontally across your daughters chest?”

Stunned that they even had the option, my parents sought advice from the cardiac surgeon.

“Usually, when a person undergoes open heart surgery, we make an incision vertically. The preferred method is a vertical incision because we are able to have direct access to her sternum. And since her heart is protected by her rib cage, we have to break her sternum and pull it apart vertically. This is the safer option however; her scar will be visible, unless she is wearing a high neck shirt. If we do the incision horizontally, Lindsay will be in the operating room longer because we are pulling the skin opposite of how we have to break her sternum. However, her scar will be under her breast line and it wont be visible on a daily basis.”

My parents decided to have the cardiac surgeon make an incision horizontally, hoping to spare me the future pain of peers staring, pointing and asking why I had a scar on my chest.

I am extremely grateful for their decision because I didn’t have the constant pointing and staring.

But having undergone three open-heart surgeries, before the age of six, I had more than one scar and having a horizontal incision verses a vertically incision didn’t eliminate the insecurities about my body that accompanied a scarred up torso.

I didn’t start noticing my scars until I was an adolescent.

As I started getting older, suddenly a one-piece bathing suit (that covered my imperfections) was no longer cool. My friends would invite me to the beach and frolic around with their little bikinis, while I was wearing a one piece.

I felt ashamed of my body and unable to keep up with them.

I didn’t have the confidence to wear a bikini because I was fearful of what people would think, say or do.

I decided it was more important to hide who I was than to be confident in my scars. For years, I resented my body.

I let my insecurities stop me from enjoying life.

But as time went on, I started to embrace my body.

I never had an ah-ha moment that changed the way I viewed my scars. It was merely a journey of learned acceptance.

I was tired of having my scars be the reason why I didn’t enjoy everything life had to offer, like the beach. I was tired of how much power my scars held over how I viewed myself. So I began to look at my scars not as something that made me weak but something that made me strong.

My scars are my battle wounds that I get to rejoice in because it means God is not through with me–and has a plan for me.

When I look in the mirror now, I don’t wish for a perfect torso because to me, I see the fighter God made me through my scarred body.

I choose daily to accept my body–and by accepting–I have more peace and freedom to live the life God has called me to live.

Lindsay Kathleen is an outreach coordinator, country music lover, University of Oregon fanatic and future author. Lindsay currently lives in North County San Diego, but will always hold a special place in her heart for the Pacific Northwest. Lindsay hopes that her writing will inspire people to find their intentional purpose. You can find her blogging at http://www.lindsaykathleen.com.