They say everyone has scars. Some scars are just more apparent than others. My technical-scar isn’t all that noticeable, actually. It’s on my left calf, up in the back, closer to my knee. It’s the result of a muscle biopsy from last year. The physical scar has healed rather nicely.
But, I have other scars too. I have prominent veins - red, blue, and purple on my legs. They snake down and around, from my thighs to my feet. They are evidence that there is something wrong with my legs. They are a visible reminder that my legs are damaged.
Other scars I hide. I hide them behind my eyes, inside my ears, beneath my skin, and in my heart. I can still see my red, swollen left calf, motionless on a hospital bed. I can hear the scraping sound of my walker as I stumbled from the bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I can feel the needles that were injected in my stomach when I was in the hospital.
I do my best to hide my scars. I don’t wear skirts. I try not to talk about my medical drama. Many of my co-workers don’t even know that I’ve been struggling with a medical condition for almost two years now.
But, while reading Barbara Abercrombie’s Writing Out the Storm, I came across a passage written by Laura: “I love my scar. Scars are tangible proof that we have healed.”
Last summer, I did wear skirts. I celebrated the fact that I wasn’t in a hospital, and I wasn’t relying on a walker or a wheelchair as I had the summer before. It occurs to me, now, that I was celebrating my scars. My legs were scarred, but they were working. I was still hopeful that the worst was behind me.
A year later, I’m not sure if I’ve already experienced the worst or not. I’ve gotten frustrated, angry, and sad. And I became pre-occupied with my scars. I’m self-conscious about the way my legs look, and I lost focus on what’s really important - I’m walking.
I have to remind myself that I’m dealing with a disease. A disease that is unpredictable and chronic. A disease that has left me scarred. I can’t erase any of my scars; the ones you can see, and the ones I carry around with me. They’re a part of me now, like my brown eyes, the beauty mark on the left side of my mouth, and the birthmark on my right forearm.
Now, I do know that it’s time for me to get out the skirts.