Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.- unknown
I’ve lived with my scars for over 10 years. Somedays I look in the mirror and think, how did I ever survive this? Somedays I look at them and say a big ole “FU” to them. Either way seeing ourselves in a different light after the surgeries, Chemo, and Radiation takes on a whole new level of self-acceptance. Coming from a pageant background makes things a little tricky for me personally because having to accept the weight I have gained and the scars that remain make you stop and look at the person inside. I have always appreciated that I was given the gift of gab, I can talk to anyone and I love being around people and making them laugh or smile.
I never thought I would try to hide from the world or become shy. I remember after my surgery, I began wearing clothes that were way too big and clothes to hide my new figure and lack of boobs. The most poignant moment was at a family function on New Year’s Day. I was 4 months out of surgery and I choose a baggy sweater and a wrap. I remember standing in the hall with all of my husband’s relatives standing behind him to hide myself. I didn’t really speak to anyone and in that moment I caught what I was doing. I had never felt so alone and out of place in my whole life. Here I was a former pageant girl that used to walk around in 5 inch heels and a bathing suit in front of hundreds of people and now I was wrapped up as if I was attending the iceberg convention in Alaska. How had I let my mind think I was so much less because I was no longer a size 4 and no longer wearing a double D bra.
Your mind is a powerful thing and when I stopped to think about my body and my scars I started to realize that my body was protecting me and my scars were a badge of courage. The scars were a reminder of the very thing that tried to kill me. I am in no way saying that my mind is always 100% aligned with this way of thinking. I have to remind myself everyday what my body has been through in 10 years and what it continues to fight every day. I am writing this article not just for Cancer Survivors but I am writing for all who suffer with finding their self-worth and acceptance. We all wish we could have the body of Heidi Klum and the hair of Jennifer Aniston, and the boobs of Sophia Vergara. Guess what? We are us. Beautiful human souls with stories to tell and amazing gifts to offer. Each one of us is unique and different in our own way. Short, tall, thin, thick, hair, no hair. None of it matters. We are all in our own fight and journey and that is what makes us beautiful. So the next time you look in the mirror I want you to look with appreciation because you are the one that has gotten through some of the roughest times and you are the one that is brilliant and miraculous in your own way. Be proud of you, be proud of the scars, be proud of your journey. There is no one like you. That is what makes you perfect.