Scars . . . we all have them. Some are visible, some not. Some are emotional, burned onto our soul while others are there for the world to see. Some are scars we just see. Some we hide, some we can’t. No matter, scars are reminders of where we have been, what we’ve endured and how we’ve made it out with the choice to tell our story.
It’s been not quite 3 1/2 years since I had a double mastectomy due to a breast cancer diagnosis. About a year after this major surgery and several surgeries after that, I endured some very deep emotional scars due to a tragedy that took place in our lives. I was sharing with someone recently what it was like the first time I saw myself in the mirror after my double mastectomy (an amputation of the chest basically). It was breathtaking. It was hard. It was scary. It was ugly. It was unbelievable. I didn’t see fine, little stitches but bright bruises and heavy duty industrial staples all the way across my whole chest. While it was ugly in the beginning, it was also comforting to know the cancer was out. It was reassuring to know that this was the first step to the rest of my life, whatever that looked like; which did include chemotherapy and other treatment. Of course this was a process of healing. It took time for things to look and feel better.
I’ve pondered scars and what they mean. While they are difficult to look at, there is also strength in their existence; a reminder that there is still life. They represent a statement that the survivor has journeyed through a deep valley and made it through thus far. Beauty that there was once a sick open gaping wound but now a process that has brought healing. Scars can represent wisdom and feat.
During the healing process we may have to tell our heart to trust. We may need to encourage our heart that later in the healing process there will be good things that blossom. Sometimes during the healing process there is uncertainty. We can embrace the ambiguity and the splendor of ‘becoming’.
I’ve experience both physical and emotional scars. I’m pretty sure you have experienced your own as well. I am grateful; grateful for what I’ve learned through the journey. I’m grateful that I’ve endured, persevered and survived a trial that was deep. I made it through! Helen Keller said, “Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.” My scars and yours, represent strength, determination, triumph, and so much more.
I want to encourage you to journal today. If you’re an art journaler great . . . if you just want to take a moment and write a letter to yourself, perfect. Ask, what scars do I possess? What lessons did I learn when I endured these scars? What process did I have to endure? Was it pain? Betrayal? BUT more importantly ask; how has this experience made me stronger as a person today? Have I been able to help another because of these scars? Have I shared my story in a safe place?
I know some of you have deep scars. I do too. I encourage you; look how far you’ve come.
Yes, you have scars. Yes, you have endured. Yes, you are a survivor. Yes, you are strong. Yes, you are beautiful.