Saturday, December 10, 2011

Disguising My Scars

It's been exactly a year.

A year ago today, we discovered a ridiculous amount of fluid around my heart.  We learned that bringing Ethan into the world alive and well was unlikely.  A year ago today, I had my very first heart surgery.  Three weeks from now, we will mark the 1 year anniversary of my second heart surgery.

My second heart surgery left a pretty big scar from the incision, and in fact covered up my first small scar.

3 days post surgery...the second time around.
That small incision hurt.  The bigger incision hurt even more, and masked the pain of the smaller one.  It hurt to cough, it hurt to laugh, and it even hurt to breathe.  It wasn't just a flesh wound.  It was a constant reminder of what we had been through, and how far we had to go. I could feel it.  People asked me questions about how big my scar was, and would make "encouraging" comments about how scars fade over time.  I realize that it will fade, but I know that it will never go away.  I'm not sure I really want it to.  My answer has always been "better than the alternative."

I'd rather have that scar than not be here.  I'd rather have that scar and have Ethan.  My scar means I get to keep my baby boy.  I get to hold him and love on him and listen to him scream bloody murder just because he has to ride in the car.  I'm not embarrassed by that scar.  I'm not ashamed of it.  I don't plan on hiding it.  I have every intention of continuing to wear the same clothing and bathing suits that I had prior to my surgery.

Almost all of my relationships and experiences have scars.  Some are tiny, some are huge, but they never go away.  Some of them were my fault, some of them were not.  But they're still there.  Sure, they've faded, but they are still there.  I don't mind talking about them.  I don't mind bringing them up, even though they make others cringe sometimes.  A scar isn't a bad thing.  It reminds us where we've been.  It reminds us of how hard things used to be.  It allows us to appreciate the way things are now.  Again, it's better than the alternative.  I'd rather have a scar in the friendship than not have the friendship at all.  I'd rather have a scar in my marriage than lose my marriage.  I don't want those scars to fade, I don't want to forget where I came from.

My scarred relationships aren't bad relationships.  In fact, some of the ones that have the biggest scars are the strongest relationships I have.  The best friendships and the most incredible marriage.  It's easy for people to believe that something flawless is best, when I find that things that are the most flawed are often the finest. Aesthetically speaking, I love a good "distressed" piece, so why wouldn't I love a distressed relationship with someone?  It's definitely a great conversation starter.

Scars are not ugly.  That incision? That surgery? That disagreement with my friend? Those moments with my previous employer that protested my unemployment? The time I reported unacceptable behavior because I was pregnant? Those many times that I fell flat on my face and had to admit I needed help getting back up? That is when things were ugly.  The wounds are ugly.  The scars are not.  To say those wounds hurt would be an understatement.  The bigger the scar, the deeper the wound.  The depth of our wounds are relative to our anguish.

I find what was left behind quite significant and symbolic.  Something to be proud of, not to be ashamed of.  I'm not ashamed to say that I was fired from a job, and that there is no chance in hell that company would hire me back because I stood up for what was legally owed to me.  I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't speak to a dear friend of mine for nearly a year because of unrealistic expectations.  I'm not ashamed to say that my husband and I broke up during our dating years because I was too afraid to admit he was the one for me.  I'm not ashamed to wear a top that shows off part of my scar.  I'm not embarrassed to answer questions about it.

Still very visible, very large, and certainly not forgotten.
I hope that Ethan asks me one day where my scar came from.  I plan on telling him that scar is my forever a reminder that he is with me.  I plan on telling him that I loved him so much that my heart filled up and doctors had to go in and help it overflow. Sometimes we need that overflow to remind us how blessed we are to have so much that our bodies can't take it in the small space we are given.  Sometimes we need a scar to give us extra room to love more, to endure more, to accept more.  Most of the time it hurts to need that extra room, to allow that overflow.  It hurts to endure more than what we can take, so we have to make room.  When it is all said and done, we are left with something that doesn't hurt anymore, and it allows us to remember.  It allows us to remember how bad that hurt, how difficult it was.  It allows us to remember why we were there to begin with, and how those moments brought us to where we are today.  I refuse to be ashamed of my scars, I refuse to let others tell me they are ugly, and I refuse to hide them.  We need to be reminded that we should be proud of where we came from, and how we got here.  The ugly parts matter too.


Shari said...

Beautiful post! Glad you're both here and thriving. I had a major back surgery 5 years ago and I'm proud of what I call my 8 inch butt crack. lol. It starts down there and goes up 8 inches. But without it, I'd probably be paralyzed. So it's part of who I am now.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome post and so very true! Thanks for the reminder that being flawless is not perfect, being flawed is!

Kathleen said...

The scar is beautiful. Just beautiful.

Ali said...

I love this post. And you for writing it! A wonderful reminder not to be embarrassed or ashamed of the things that make us who we really are. Thank you.

Ashley Belle said...

Beautifully written!! I have a lovely scar that embraces a large chunk of my neck. I found out during Parker's stay in the womb that I had skin cancer. I remember vividly talking to the doctor after my surgery and him telling me about the lovely scar and how he would do all he could to help it fade...(being pregnant I couldn't use any of the creams etc). I told him I'd much rather have the scar than cancer...!! Clearly my situation was no where near what yours was, but it reminds me every day just how blessed I am to be here with my babies!! Brava hun!!

ChiMomWriter @ It Builds Character said...

This is beautiful, and I love your commentary about relationships. It's so true - Sometimes the places and things that we've had to battle get through that are our strongest.

Laura said...

Beautiful Post! And I agree completely. I went through a pretty ugly first marriage and divorce. Without it though, I wouldn't appreciate what I have now and maybe wouldn't be so happy, so I always try to appreciate it because it has helped me to get to where I am now.

Jax said...

This is an absolutely perfectly thought out and perfectly written post.. wow... So powerful and so true. I would much rather have scars in my friendships and relationships, etc.. I love what you said. And I love how strong you are, girl. I can't believe it's only been a year... I cant believe it's already been a year.. Sending love and hugs.

Brittney said...

I love this.

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