I have a lot of scars, and with another surgery planned in the next few weeks, I will have a few more too… I am not ashamed of them, they are the signs of my IBD journey, the battle scars of my fight of the last ten years.
My family is half Indian, and so unfortunately I have some issues with keloid scarring. When you have damage to the skin, in healing itself the body produces more of a protein called collagen. Collagen gathers around the damage and builds up to help the wound seal over in a scar.
However, some scars don’t stop growing. They “invade” the surrounding healthy skin and become bigger than the original wound. These are known as keloid scars. Keloids affect around 10-15% of all wounds and is more common in people with darker skin particularly African, African Caribbean and Indian people. (This information comes from the NHS website, take a look for more info and if you are concerned, then go see your GP)
For some people, scars can be associated with poor self esteem and negative body image. They can be an external sign of their internal struggles and people may feel embarrassed or ashamed of them. I get this, occasionally I feel self conscious if I see people staring at my scars, this only happens at the swimming pool or beach as I am well past wearing crop tops!
But I have always found scars quite appealing, they suggest a story, something interesting that happened to that person. My husband is covered in scars from years of skateboarding and snowboarding and we always say that chicks dig scars… Turns out dudes dig scars too!
I have been through a lot in the past couple of years, a lot of difficult times, embarrassing and upsetting events, yet I am pleased to say that through it all, my scars are one thing that I haven’t struggled with. I know they are large, and some would say unsightly, I know they are really visible and somewhat shocking. But I had three kids before these surgeries and so I already had a lot of stretch marks and a caesarian scar. Perhaps having these before made the transition to more noticeable scars easier for me to deal with?
After my first son, I went from a size 6 to a size 16… I gained a lot of weight and was COVERED in stretch marks. I was embarrassed and upset by them, when a family friend told me that I should rejoice in those marks. They were my tiger stripes, my war wounds, the sign that my body had created another human being!!! Those marks, she told me, were beautiful and something to be proud of.
These scars are a similar thing, they are the marks that show the struggle I have been through. They remind me of my bravery, my fight, my winning. They tell a story and they make me smile.
My scars are beautiful.
All photographs are by Timm Cleasby from the Picture Foundry and cannot be used without permission. Take a look at The Picture Foundry website, it is the photography company I run with my husband.