I have a teeny, tiny scar on my right thumb. Where it got stuck in a screen door when I was a toddler and I tried to follow my older brother outside. I wanted to do everything he did. The door had to be taken off the hinges to free my thumb. And I have the picture with the bandages to prove it.
I have a mottled-looking scar on the top of my right kneecap. An elementary school field trip to the Everglades gone bad. I was running along a rocky path, letting my fingers trace the handrail. A bump on the handrail threw me off balance and I skidded along on my knee. Once the tiny rocks were removed, I was left with a flap of skin that healed unevenly.
I have a scar on the inside of my right ankle. From when I was a teenager and Sperry Topsiders were all the rage. One of the round metal eyelets on the side of the shoe had come unfastened. And for an entire summer repeatedly cut my ankle. It never occurred to me to ask for help fixing it. Now my ankle just looks dirty.
I have a scar on the inside of my left pinky toe. From playing tag, barefoot, in my childhood home with my father. I know that I was younger than 13 because my parents were not yet divorced. Running away from my father, my little toe got stuck on the side of the doorway. And didn’t follow the rest of my foot. I laughed until I saw the blood drop. Then the tears came. My father swooped me up in his arms and took me to the emergency room to get stitched up.
I have a scar on my face above the left side of my mouth. From the removal of a beauty mark. A mole. I never liked it. Even though Cindy Crawford had the same one. A guy I met in a bar one night licked it. That was not a turn-on. I wanted the mole gone before my wedding. A wedding that resulted in a marriage that ended up lasting less than a decade.
I have a scar above my pubic bone. It was my children’s portal in to the world. Almost 15 years ago, after laboring for 24 hours, my obstetrician told me that I had cephalopelvic disproportion and needed a C-section. My pelvis was too small to release my 7 pound, 14 ounce baby boy. I tried again with my 6 pound, 11 ounce baby girl two years after that, and nearly had a uterine rupture. So she came out of the exact same spot. It still itches from time to time.
I have a scar above my left nipple from the removal of a dysplastic nevi. A pre-melanoma spot that looked like a freckle. The kind that appears years after the damage has been done. The spot grew where my bandeau bathing suit top, the kind I used to wear in my Miami youth, stopped. But where the baby oil made me glisten like a goddess. A dozen internal and external stitches later, the threat is gone. At least in that spot. And at least for now.
When I am naked, and see these scars, I realize that they help tell the story of my life. Childhood, childbirth, relationships, getting older.
I have other scars too. Ones that aren’t visible, even to me. But I know they’re there. And they are a part of my life story also.
Without all of these scars, I would be someone else. Someone I wouldn’t recognize.
And I wouldn’t want that.