The first thing I want to point out about my stomach, the first thing I see when I look at that photo, is my Scar (above my bellybutton). The reason I capitalize the word "scar", is because in a lot of ways, that Scar is a being all its own. On my list of "things to blog about in the future" (yes, I have a list of things I want to blog about...don't laugh), "my scar" has been on the top of said list since I started blogging two years ago. I guess the subject is just such a huge thing to tackle for me. How do I properly describe the way that my Scar has affected my life, and that you can tell how much I've grown as a person by the fact that the thing that once caused me the most embarrassment, is now something that I feel comfortable posting a photo of on the Internet?Close-up
The story of the Scar starts when I was about 13 years old. I had a mole on my stomach. It wasn't a huge mole, it was small and I rather liked it actually, but my doctor was afraid it would become cancerous, so he wanted to remove it as a precaution. I remember every single thing about that surgery; how tightly I clutched my mom's hand throughout, the pressure from the blade but the lack of pain from the drugs, the idiot doctor who showed me the damn thing once he removed it. My mom told me that I turned a very distinct shade of green when I saw my disembodied mole.
Anyway, after the surgery, I remember keeping a close eye on the stitches. I didn't think twice about the scar that started to form, thinking it would go away once I healed. When I finally showed my mom, it was too late. Turns out that healing "keloid" runs in my family, and though it skipped my mom and my siblings, I was the bearer of the genetic trait that makes scar tissue overproduce.
Over the next few years I became more and more self conscious of my Scar. If I ever wore a bikini, or a top that showed my stomach, I would cover the Scar with a bandaid. When I'd disrobe around a boyfriend, my hand would immediately and unconsciously move to cover the Scar and I'd stumble over my words to explain what it was. In my mind it made me disgusting and unattractive. When a particularly cruel friend commented that it looked like I had a piece of chewed gum stuck to stomach, I'd think of that analogy every time I saw myself naked. It was an obsession, really. My Scar: the thing that made me grotesque.
Keep in mind, though, that it wasn't as if I was a particularly confident person to begin with. My Scar was one of many things, albeit the most constant and intense, that I was convinced made me ugly. Once I started getting over those other things, and coming to terms with the fact that I was who I was and *gasp* I even liked myself a little bit, my Scar became my last and only thing I really wanted to change about myself. My large eyes, my sizable front teeth, my A-cup breasts...these all became things I embraced about myself. But the Scar...I couldn't look past the Scar.
I've had many, many painful treatments that promised to help shrink my keloid scar. The treatments consist of multiple shots of steroids or poison directly to the scar, and multiple visits are needed for each treatment. In high school I had the worst acne I've ever had in my life due to the side affects of one treatment. It was humiliating and took months of treatment itself to heal.
There's no affective treatment for keloids, though. Some people respond positively from the injections, but that's rare. I once heard that the reason there's no treatment for the scaring is because it's a predominately African American affliction, and since there's a large percentage of African Americans without health insurance, there's not much money to be made in finding an affective remedy for it, so there's no funding. I can't tell you had sad and angry this made me. I'm lucky. I have a thumbprint-sized scar on my stomach that only hurts once in a while (that's another problem with keloids; they hurt), and two small-but-ugly bumps on my leg from shaving cuts. It could be so, so much worse (do a google image search for "keloid" and you'll see what I mean). That solidarity helped me to get over my unhappiness with my Scar, and even start to like it.
I don't hate my Scar anymore. Like the second thing I notice about the above photo, my hourglass hips - which are sizable for a petite girl such as myself, I find my Scar something that makes me unique. I pointed my hips out to my mom once, complaining that they were too big and gross and "look how they make me have a 'muffin top' when I wear jeans!!!", and she responded incredulously by saying "Georgia, that's called WOMAN!" From then on I didn't mind them. Like my Scar, I find them sexy and part of what makes me "Georgia". Oh also, I like to tell people that I got stabbed when they ask me how I got the Scar. The look on their faces are priceless.
Your turn. What do you love/hate/tolerate/ignore about your body?