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Dear Scars.

To the scars that litter my body,

You have been around for as long as I can remember; sometimes it takes a while for you to show up, other times it seems like your appearance is instantaneous. I can fill pages and pages of books with stories explaining your origin. Some of you are long and jagged; like puzzle pieces that will never find a match. Others are short and blunt; like a fingernail caught my skin.

But what about the scars people can’t see? What about the ones that make me remember a harder time in my life. The ones on my thighs that were caused by bullying and teasing. The ones on my sides that I did while hugging myself close, trying to drown out the noise and chaos of the world. The ones I hide under sweaters and long sleeves shirts, praying that someone will not ask too many questions about; ones that haunt me and make me regret the events leading up to their births.

Do you ever wish you weren’t on my body? Do you wish your origins weren’t so dramatic or painful? You mark my body like paint on a canvas; you paint a picture of my past for my present self to admire every time I look in a mirror. Do you wish you were in different spots? Do the scars on my stomach ever wish they were on my legs? Do the marks on my back wish they were on my shoulders? Maybe if your location was different, you could tell a different story. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

I use to hate you, you know. I use to wish that I never had any scars at all. I wished I could be smooth and perfect; that those marks didn’t shape me into the person I am today. I wondered what it would be like to not be afraid to have people see that side of me. They wouldn’t understand, I would say to myself, they’d judge me, look at me differently. Would they whisper about me when I left the room? Would they consider me damaged? What would I say in response? Am I damaged?

No. I am not damaged. These scars on my body may be permanent but they do not shape my future. They are a reminder of what has come; they remind me how strong I am. I can survive face planting on the cement floor. I can survive falling down the stairs. I can survive the darkness in my own mind. I wear my scars like a badge of honor. I am a warrior; a survivor. I will carry on.

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