Scars show toughness: that you’ve been through it, and you’re still standing

“Scars show toughness: that you’ve been through it, and you’re still standing.” -Theo Rossi

Try and picture this, you are in your local coffee shop, after you have gotten your usual Dirty Chai Latte and have taken seat in “your” little corner that has the most comfortable seat in the house (to your expectations— the man sitting next to you could have a different opinion.)

Finally settled into your book and last sip of your tea the bell to the door rings, which you usually ignore, but this time something made you look up, but you don’t see your average Joe.. This time you see a girl who has long dirty blonde hair, about 5’1”, athletically build, you think, “oh okay she is just another Joe.” but then you look to her outfit, a cute flow-y hot pink dress that does just above her knees.. Then you think to yourself ”..Wow, what happened to her left leg? I bet she was burnt from a horrific house fire… no maybe it was a shark attack…” So you stare, you stare until she looks your way wondering who was staring at her.

You have noticed while getting her coffee, that girl is soft spoken, loves to smile, and likes her coffee.. black?!? Not long after she gets her coffee she is sitting right across from you. You are switching back from your Nicholas Sparks novel to her and back again, until she notices and stares back. Now things just got awkward, because she knows you have been staring.. So, this girl says, “Hi.” and you say, “Hi.” back. The small talk has started and you eventually get to the question you have been dying to ask: “What happened to your leg? How did you get those scars?”

Pause. Let’s look at the situation. A complete stranger not only noticing the scars, but asking about them…Some people might be mortified to answer that question. But, changing perspec-tives… this is how I answer:

I would smile back and say, “I was bit by a shark…Trying to hold my composure quickly before they can say a response. “No, I was born 4 and a half months early.” After getting a shocking face I continue, “I was fifteen and a half ounces when I was born. All the veins in my left leg collapsed, because of all the IV’s that were in me. The doctors and everyone thought it would have to be amputated, but because of nitroglycerin cream they were able to get the circula-tion back! After three skin grafts and multiple other surgeries— here I am.” As I smile the big-gest smile, happy to be here and alive.

However, my life has not always been so bliss and joyous. I did not always embrace my “battle scars.” There were a lot of long nights, nights that I wished I could just be like the girls on the cover of Vogue Magazine.. So many tears, a bitter heart, and about thirty pairs of jeans to hide my body ( I also live in Central Florida— it’s 90 degrees 10 months out of the year.)

Then one night something clicked as I was scrolling through the TV and I stopped on a makeup commercial. Where you know what— I stopped and realized that everything I see is fake, everything is photoshopped— everything. No one looks like what they do on the TV and magazines. It is a little too shocking at the amount that is actually done to these “already perfect woman.”

In light of this epiphany, because I believe that everything happens for a reason, I realized that all scars are meant to be shown. All the media is trying to accomplish is conformity. To make everyone look the same or feel like there is only one way of looking.

In reality you are beautiful just the way you are. Think of it like this: your chromosomes and your genes are made specifically to you and only you. You are your own person and there are no other insert your names here.

Yes people can be similar to you and your body, but not the same. No one can compare to your beauty. In social media’s eyes everything is flawed, but do not be like I was and conform to the ways of our society… Rise above and embrace all the pain, the happiness, all the imperfec-tions and know that you were made just the way you are for a purpose. The road to figuring out that purpose may be long (and hard), but once you take that first step— your life will be forever changed… and so much better, you will forget about the pain that once existed.