“Wow, that’s so brave. If I had your scars, I wouldn’t be able to wear anything sleeveless.”

Someone told me that a few years ago when she noticed the constellation of keloid scars on my arm.

My constellation of keloids

I didn’t quite know how to respond to that.

I have a bunch of scars on my shoulders. Not from anything tragic or dramatic – just from a jab, a cyst, and an allergy-gone-wrong. My body doesn’t seem to know when to stop producing scar tissue sometimes. My clumsiness generally means I continually acquire new keloids every now and then on my shoulders.

I’ve had them for years and it has never occurred to me to hide them, or have them inform my clothing choices.

I figure – why limit myself to clothes with sleeves only because of a bunch of scars? 🙄

I didn’t have a comeback to that statement about my scars, but it got me thinking about how the world perceives scars.

There’s such a large stigma attached to scars. They are are deemed as “ugly” and therefore something to hide, or be ashamed of. Because having them somehow means you’re imperfect, and therefore, less beautiful.

This extends to even our emotional scars. We’ve all got them. Those invisible lines that mark our hearts and souls, collected over years of emotional experiences. They’re often way less visible compared to our physical scars, of course, but it doesn’t mean they’re not there.

These scars, unlike my keloids, tell our stories. 

Do we try to hide them? Are we ashamed of them? What would life be like if we embraced our scars instead of hating on them? Maybe even loving them instead.

That would mean loving our stories – even the ones that hurt us.

Like many, my emotional scars far outnumber my physical ones (and I’ve got quite a few keloids). I’m proud of some, ambivalent about others… but I have stopped being ashamed of them.

But I do wonder: What would change if we stopped seeing our scars as ugly imperfections?

What metaphorical clothes would we allow ourselves to wear if we weren’t afraid of revealing our scars?


And my scars remind me
That the past is real

Scars? Pft. I wear what I want.

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