I Don’t Want to Die Without any Scars
A few days ago, Shaunta Grimes gave readers of her publication The Everyday Novelist a writing prompt called “I Don’t Want to Die Without Any Scars.” I was out of town and didn’t have time to respond to it then, but now I do.
I’ve Had Both Physical and Emotional Scars My Whole Life
Well, since I was very young, anyway. I have a nice big scar running down the center of my chest from where I had open heart surgery when I was 3 years old. I also have another small scar in the lower right area of my chest from where I had something inserted (a port probably), a few scars on my head from various operations and accidents, a small one on my left index finger from where I gashed it when I was trying to cut a piece of heavy cardboard, and one on my left forearm from another operation. Then there are the invisible emotional scars that I got on my heart from various tragedies I’ve been through in my life, like losing my mother and other important people in my life.
And who knows how many others I’ll get before I die? I used to be ashamed of my scars. To some degree I still try to hide them — I’m self-conscious about wearing anything low-cut because of the heart surgery scar, and you will never catch me in a bikini because of both that scar and the one I mentioned that I have in the lower right area of my chest. But I’m less ashamed now because of something my mother told me once…
“If it weren’t for those scars, you wouldn’t be alive.”
When she told me that, I realized she was absolutely right. So now, whenever someone asks me if I had open heart surgery or where I got a scar, I tell them. If anyone asks me if I’m ashamed them, I tell them no, because if it wasn’t for those scars I wouldn’t be alive. I think of them as battle scars — I fought a battle, along with the surgeons who operated on me, to stay alive, and I won.
Don’t be ashamed of your scars. Wear them proudly.