Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Life Story, Written In Flesh


****WARNING: THIS POST MAY BE TRIGGERING IF YOU HAVE SELF HARMED, CURRENTLY SELF HARM, OR ARE A SUICIDE SURVIVOR****

I don't know a single person that doesn't have at least one scar.

Large or small, prominent or barely noticeable, every scar has a story attached; sometimes one we remember firsthand and sometimes one told to us because we were too young to remember.

This post is a celebration of all we've lived and struggled with and survived. Our scars are our story...written in flesh or carved in our minds. 

"That's from the time I was chasing my sister on my bike and she stepped in front of me. I swerved on the gravel and the road bit my face. I refer to it as one of her two attempts to kill me. ( Kidding about her intention, not about how I refer to it. )" - me

This could be an example of one my daughter might tell:

"This one is from an emergency appendectomy when I was 8. I got sick from the anesthesia, so they gave me Phenergan. Turns out I have a really bad reaction to it, my mom says I was ripping out my IVs and crawling over the bed rails until they had to give me something to make me sleep."

My friends have scar stories of their own:

"My beautiful battle scar on my upper right arm is still with me to this day! When I was 13 I was diagnosed with stage 3 Melanoma  (skin cancer). The surgeons cut away the entire cancerous section including some of my muscle. The surgery itself was 8 hours.  After months of more minor surgeries, stitches, Dr appointments, rehabilitation, and treatment I was in the clear, as in remission for 5 years." - Abby

"My favorite scar is from a c-section at 19. Frank Breach they called her. Her adoptive parents named her Alyssa. I like that name; I love her wherever she is." - Ericka

Not all scars are physical or visible, but are still carried with us and remembered vividly in a way that affects us years later:

"This one is from when I went to the ER for a severe Migraine attack. The doctor decided to give me Ketamine, also known by its street name, Special K. While rubbing his hands together and bouncing on his feet, he said to me in a giddy voice, "This will be fun!"
It was not fun. The walls moved around me and started closing in on me. The clock on the wall was making circular trips all around it. My bed felt like it was on violent waves of the sea, and I held on to the rail for dear life. My right leg disappeared. I couldn't find it. Then I felt myself fading, until my consciousness was nothing but a small speck in my chest. I thought I was going to be snuffed out for good. I screamed and screamed for help, even though I couldn't hear myself. The nurses ignored my complaints and asked if my Migraine was better. It wasn't. Shortly after, they came back with a second dose and said, "This will help."
It didn't. They left me alone for 2 hours with my hallucinations and paranoia and then sent me out the door in a wheelchair.
My Migraine was still not better." - Brianna

"These are from years of mental and emotional abuse from my father. They aren't all healed even now, 20+ years later." - me

"This one is from my father walking out on us." - anonymous

"My invisible scar is from being raped." - anonymous

Some scars are visible, but not understood...often those who carry them try to keep them hidden because of reactions based on the stigma attached, rather than compassion.

"Are you talking about physical scars or emotional/psychological scars as well? You could write a book on my psychological/emotional alone, but the physical one would be my body. I eat my feelings so it shouldn't surprise me that I look like I do. There are a few others from when I was cutting myself but they are hidden really well. Another thing is since I have always researched any diagnosis and/or test result is I also research the treatments so when I was cutting myself I knew where not to cut. I was mindful of being able to hide them." - Malinda

" These are from years of self harm--for me, it was easier to deal with the physical pain than the emotional pain. Some are hidden, some aren't; they are the days when the only thing that mattered was the physical pain to shield and distract me from emotional anguish." - me

"This one is from a suicide attempt." - anonymous

"I never hid my self harm scars. But people pretended not to notice because it was easier than admitting to themselves I needed help." - anonymous

"My scars are proof that I fought my demons and survived myself.  They are a reminder of my struggles I've conquered." - me

Sometimes scars are something that helps us relate to others or reminders that others are fighting battles we can't always see. No matter which they are, our scars are part of us and of our story and can be used as a source of triumph over the things we've come through.

May your story be a tale of triumph and compassion.