I was sat in the autumn sunshine at the weekend. I was feeling happy. It’s a rare feeling for me, any happy I have usually has a small undercurrent of my ever present anxiety running through it. But the sun was shining, I had a pint in my hand, was in great company and I felt relaxed and happy. Carefree almost.
I sipped my drink as I listened to my companions chatting away, it was warm and I was wearing a t-shirt. I’m not so self conscious of my scars these days, they’re part of me and my history and whilst I regret one or two of them, I don’t hate them so much.
The sun lit up the silvery lines of my scars and made them shimmer slightly in the bright light. For a moment I ran my hand across them, trying to hide them or rub them out so the others wouldn’t see, but I can’t erase them, so I paused and made a conscious choice to admire their beauty rather than be ashamed of them. I looked at the shimmering silver on my arms, like rivulets of precious metal running over my flesh and I was reminded of Kintsugi.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold, silver or platinum. It literally means “golden joinery”. It’s a beautiful thing and rather plain and ordinary bowls and dishes become breathtaking and rather astonishing works of art when they are repaired in this way. I am Kintsugi. I am an ordinary thing made beautiful by my scars; the rivulets my of scars in shades of silver and platinum show the world my recovery. They tell everyone how I am healed and that I am stronger because of these shimmering silver lines, not in spite of them.
I am covered in scars. Sign of a life well lived or recklessly lived I don’t know. I only really regret one scar and I’m working on learning to live with and accept the rest. What is the story behind my scars and what do I really think of them?
I’ve got a number of scars on my wrist from when a glass panel fell out of a door when I was 6. I was lucky not to be cut to ribbons, but the scars are bad and I clearly remember seeing the white of the bone. For the record, bones are very white.
I have a cesarean section scar which is a reminder of my boy. I don’t regret that one bit. At the time, it was the only way for him to get out as he was stuck and we were both in trouble.
I have my back surgery scars. Twice this year I’ve been sliced and diced, so the scar is a very ugly one but hopefully will fade in time. A necessary scar because without it I’d likely be in agony and paralysed. I don’t regret that.
I have had many and various skin conditions so my legs are scarred. To figure out what was wrong I had a biopsy, so I’ve got that scar too which looks like a strange dimple in my calf, as well as marks from the skin conditions which are horrible.
My feet are in a shocking state. Years of secret self harming and picking at the scars have taken their toll. Look at the soles of my feet and you’d be shocked.
But the only scar that bothers me is the one on my hand. I cut it with the blade of some scissors, running the blade repeatedly over my flesh until it opened up. I wanted a visible reminder of my pain. Of that moment in my life which was both beautiful and terrifying. I cut it in June and the scar is still obvious and unlikely to ever really go away. I want it to fade because of what it represents but equally I want it to stay forever as a reminder.
I look at my scars and I don’t think they’re ugly. I think they’re me. Others might think they’re ugly or disgusting or shocking but they are part of who I am. They are the map of my progress through life.