Saturday, November 23, 2013

We All Have Scars – How You Show Them Off Varies

I came across this amazing video this morning on Upworthy that made me really thing back to my own scars. We all carry scars, weather physically or emotionally, and what we do with them and how we show them off varies from person to person. I carry more scars than I can count, but since this is revolving around physical scars, let’s cover that first. But before I do, watch the video below!

When I was seven, I decided to go play on my dad’s boat like I had thousands of times before. I would throw my toys on the boat from the dock, pull the boat close and then jump on. Since the boat was docked behind my grandparent’s house, I would spend many hours playing on there while my dad and grandparents worked around the house or did paperwork from the business.

This time didn't go as well as all the other times. Dad had put up these ropes around the whole boat. I threw on my toys, pulled the boat over and jumped. But the ropes confused me and I hesitated midair and fell into the water. Being that I am scared of water, I quickly swam to the surface and proceeded to climb up the side of the dock, not realizing this is covered in barnacles and I’m in shorts, not that I think pants would have helped.

I was completely covered in cuts. I had made it to the top crying for help and saw my dad and grandmother running out the back. I fell again, sliding all the way down the post. Crazy me, I just climbed back up, this time into their arms reaching out for me.

Boat at Oma's
The boat behind my grandparent's house
It’s not that I couldn't swim. We had a pool at home. I was just scared of the water and didn't know how to get out. And now I was completely covered in huge scratches and gouges which in turn formed into ugly scars all over my body. This made a huge impact on my self-esteem and caused me to become the introvert I am today.

You see, I had zebra strips covering my legs. I went from wearing shorts and participating in sports and team activities to being alone and wearing nothing that showed my legs. I even failed physical education year after year just because I didn't want to dress out in shorts and sweat pants were not an option. I was humiliated! And because of how bad I scar, it was visible well into my 20’s. It wasn't till I had my daughter that I looked at my scars in a new light.

I still have scars covering my legs. I have decided to embrace them and not see them as ugly, but as a story of what it was like to grow up. We no longer have the boat, nor my grandparent’s house. The house I practically grew up in. The house where I can still close my eyes and see my grandfather walking around. My grandfather that passed away when I was 14. There’s the emotional scar!

Scars on Legs
The scars have faded, but still there.
I look at my legs now and remember all the good memories that went along with them. I remember my dad and grandmother caringly bringing me inside to help wash off my cuts and making me feel better. I remember my grandfather paying closer attention when I would still wander over to the boat to go play, not learning to stay away from it, but to just be a little more cautious when I made that jump. I remember what it was like to have my family so close. To have their loving embrace when I felt like the world was pushing me up against a wall.

You see, after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother met a new man and moved away when I was 18. When I say she moved away, she moved so very far away. Our family is from Germany and she went “home”. I went from having my family here to turn to, to having them so far away.

I get to go see her every couple years for a week or two, but that isn't enough. I would give anything to move over to Germany just to be with her, to see her smile, to have her loving embrace back. I feel like I’m running out of time, like I did with my grandfather. I hate being so far away! Even making a phone call has to be calculated as to not call her in the middle of the night even though all you want is to say hello.

Scar on ArmLesson 4: Be proud of your scars. No matter what caused the scars, there is a memory or lesson to be remembered. It doesn't mean you have to show them off, but being able to wear shorts again and not care about what people think has given me back a little self-confidence and reminds me about my past.

Lastly, I have this horrible scar on my wrist. It looks worse than it actually is, but I don’t hide it because it reminds me to be patient and watch my temper, something I am still working on doing. I was working after having my daughter and was opening a box. The box cutter was new (we hadn't had new ones for months and the old ones were so dull you couldn't cut tissue with them) and I went ripping at the box cause I was angry and rushing. I didn't even know it, but I sliced my arm wide open barely missing the main veins running through your arm. I hate looking at it because it looks like something it isn't. It was just a careless moment out of anger and frustration. But it reminds me to slow down and pay attention.

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