They're poems written in my skin. Tattoos of hardship, survival, strength. They tell the story of who I am. Whisper the song of me.
I was a kid when I got my first scars and right on my face no less. Two little dog teeth marks - one beside my left eyebrow, the other beneath my left eye. The story goes that I pulled the dog bowl out from under our dog while he was eating. I don't remember that part, but I remember being pushed down and having to go to the doc for stitches. I don't snatch dog bowls anymore.
As for my left arm, well, I'm not afraid to tell you that I was once a cutter. It's not something I go around bragging about, but it is a part of who I am, my history. These scars signify a lot of pain, locking myself in bathrooms, aching for release. I'm not sure how many are scattered across my forearm. No one would even know they're there unless I showed them and the light was right. But there's one that stands out more than the rest; it runs vertical through my tattoo. The tattoo I got to remind me that my scars are poetry, no matter how ugly the situation that formed them.
I have three new scars from my time in the hospital and I'm so grateful for them. They're like new additions to the family. Symbols of strength and life.
The one etched beneath my left armpit is a little over 2 inches and is where the doctor went in to work on my lung. There's still some numbness around it and I wonder if that feeling will ever come back.
And then there's the tiny incision cut on my left rib. I think that's where the doctor put in a scope before he decided on surgery.
And my favorite new addition is the X incision that was placed right next to the first. That's where my chest tube went in. Every time I look at it I smile because how cool is it that I have a small X on my rib cage? That X was my lifeline and what kept my lung functioning until it could work on its own.
I cherish my scars and the silent stories they tell the world. They won't ever let anyone tell me I'm weak and they'll always speak of the beauty of the journey. My journey.