I am a woman with scars.
Stretches of white lightening cascade from the backs of my arms down to my knees, swirling around my ass, making delicious images of uninterpreted art, only to be slashed by four precise lines made by a skilled surgeon. These marks are my body’s artwork; they are my naturally made totemic tattoos.
I wear them with pride. They are proof of my own personal super power: fortitude.
One day while lounging on the beach watching our girls play in the ocean, my sister commented “You’re so brave. I loathe my stretch marks, yet you see completely unaffected by yours. How did you become so comfortable in your body?”
Struck by her comment, I stopped and thought about it.
Years ago, I could be found perpetuating the conversation I had grown up with: a diatribe of self loathing and low self esteem constantly comparing myself to impossible standards. That is what women were supposed to do – hate themselves.
Today I actively choose for the sake of my daughter to stop berating myself and started to actively and completely love myself – every molecule, every cell. This was the legacy I was determined to leave behind. I would teach her how to train her internal dialog to one of compassion, appreciation, and self-confidence. I would make sure she heard her mother speak kindly to everyone, especially to herself. Children learn by example. I needed to mirror the reflection I wished to project. Self-esteem is a learned behavior and it starts with your internal dialog.
While my sister and I sat on the beach, I smiled and replied “I became comfortable with my body the day I decided to shift my perspective. I see these beautiful scars as reminders of my growth. They are a sacred map of the journey my soul has taken while incarnate in this body. They remind me that just when I think my body cannot stretch any further, it can and will. These etched marks are a testament to the lengths my body is willing to go to support me. They are my road map to survival, they are my cheerleaders in all that is possible. They are a testament to both my strength and my feminine delicacy. I have earned my scars and I choose to stand confident in the reminder that my body is truly a work of art that chronicles the extroardinary lengths it will go through to survive.”
Dumbfounded my sister stared at me open mouthed. “I never thought about it like that”
Smiling, I replied “It’s not too late to start.”
Today, I say the same thing to you. You have a choice. You can look at your own scars, both physical and emotional, and decide to love them or hate them, but either way you will carry them. The decision is yours.
Will they be a feather in your cap or a heavy burden?
Be encouraged by your learning experiences. Take note of your progress because you are worth the celebration.