Scarred

by Jen on January 14, 2011

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. This week’s prompt:  Scarred.  Check her out, link up, be inspired.

When I was a little girl, I idolized EVERYTHING about my mother.  I loved that she smelled like Juicy Fruit gum and that she drank chocolate milk every night before bed.  I loved that she was tan like me and threaded the coiled cord in between her fingers when she talked on the phone.  I loved that she would leave voice recordings on my bulky red tape recorder for me to listen to while I ate Cheerios on the rare mornings she was unable to dine with me.  I loved that she sang Randy Travis and let me play with my Barbie pool even though it made a mess.  Like most little girls, my mother was my world… my Oprah.  I wanted to be just like her, look just like her.  I wanted her blue eyes and her blonde hair.  I wanted her long slender legs and her feminine, bony feet.  I wanted to have her fingernails, her laugh, her knees, her everything.  But most of all, I wanted her scar.
Like the most perfect symmetrical divide, my mother has an open heart surgery scar down the center of her chest.  It starts about an inch below her collar bone and is mildly keloid – just puffy enough to be make me want to run my four year old fingers across it.  To me, it was beautiful.  It was strength.  It was really, really neat.  No other mommy’s I knew had survived open heart surgery; therefore, not only was my mom the coolest, she had the scar as proof.  At birth, the doctor’s discovered a hole in the lower left ventricle of her heart that had to be repaired.  She spent her fifth birthday undergoing pediatric open heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic and spent an additional three weeks in Minnesota for observation.  I can’t even imagine how my Grandma kept it together! 
I’m a fairly cautious person, and that was certainly no different when I was little.  I rarely performed any sort of stunt that would cause injury; therefore, my dreams to have a scar – a conversation piece, were never met.  The best I could offer was a small keloid scar on the meaty part of my palm from busting a glass while washing dishes.  Big deal.
The odd thing was, that while I would have flashed my scar like a badge of honor, my mother kept hers hidden.  She never wore a v-neck shirt, she struggled to find bathing suits with high necklines, and constantly pressed her hand to her chest to confirm the collar of her shirt had not dipped low enough to expose the top of her scar.  It frustrated me at times.  I didn’t understand.  So what if people saw?  Wouldn’t that just give her something neat to tell them about?
It wasn’t until I was in high school that I began to understand.  I once had a boyfriend tell me he’d prefer not to kiss me on the right side of my face because he was grossed out by the large mole I had on my cheek near my ear.  I was shocked.  I’d never considered it before.  I was immediately, completely, 100% ashamed and embarrassed of my entire face.  I asked my mother if I could have it removed, and she said no.  She told me that the scar could most likely be more unsightly than the mole and that it wasn’t worth the risk.  She told me all the things mothers are supposed to tell their insecure daughters – “that mole is a beauty mark”, “that mole is a part of you”, blah, blah, blah.  But I wanted it GONE. 
I instantly began to part my hair on the left, so the bulk of my hair would disguise this nasty mole.  I began resting my chin in my right hand, so I could stretch my fingers across the side of my face in hopes to cover it.  I no longer liked to drive, because then passengers looking at me would have an up close and personal view of the flashing red light of grossness on the side of my face.  I began taking pictures with my head tilted and no longer looked straight on into the lens.  I was mortified by it.  When I looked in the mirror, it was the only thing I could see.  I’d been changed from a completely confident, unfazed teenager, to a far more vane and insecure girl with the unexpected power of one teensy, tiny, little comment.
While my mother’s scar and my mole were very different in appearance, the insecurities that came with them were similar.  I wasn’t made aware of the disgustingness of my “deformity” until I was in my teens.  My mother had dealt with hers nearly all her life.  To me, her scar signified life, but I learned very quickly that the only person who can build you up – make you feel secure – is you. 
As soon as I was old enough to obtain my own medical insurance, I whacked off my mole so fast it coulda made your head spin.  The best part?  There is barely a scar.  Ahhh, life is good now, right?  No more insecurities, no more trying to casually move to the right side of a conversation without people noticing.  No more hating one side of my face.  Eh, sorta.  It’s much better, but I still part my hair the same way, I still cock my head in photos, I still try to avoid having someone on my right side.  Habit?  Perhaps.  But a part of me still thinks that once an insecurity is born, it never dies.
My mother’s scar has changed the course of her entire life.  She is beautiful.  BEAUTIFUL.  If you follow my blog, I’m sure you’ve seen pictures (although she prefers if I don’t post them of her).  It’s crazy how differently I have interpreted her scar.  I believe I would rock it, not hide it.  But then again, I’d never have imagined one ridiculous little mole would have been so confidence altering.  She believes she is deformed.  She is not proud.  She does not want to share her story.  She doesn’t want that to be her conversation piece.  And no matter how beautiful I believe she is, how beautiful I believe it is, she will always be insecure.  She will always be scarred.
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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber January 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Wow. It's amazing how things that people say change us so much. Also, it seems your mother instilled amazing confidence in you from a young age. You may still try to hide but by tell us all about it, it makes you stronger and more confident! http://myhandmadehappiness.blogspot.com

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2 Debbie Does Coupons January 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

That is one great story. It is so nice to hear of others that are very close to their Mothers.I love mine with all my heart!I also have a Dachshund and her name is Molly.I am following you from the Saturday Stalk blog hop. Please visit me and follow back at http://debbiedoescoupons.com

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3 Seams Inspired January 15, 2011 at 6:29 am

What a lovely, lovely post. Thanks for sharing your heart…and your Mom's. ;o) I'm your newest follower from the blog hop who is looking forward to reading all your posts. Happy Saturday! :o )

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4 ElizOF January 15, 2011 at 6:46 am

What a wonderful tribute to your mom! I was going to ask if she has tried any of the keloid scar reduction creams on the marketplace because there are some very good ones… Nevertheless, you took a tough subject and humanized it. :-) I had decided to skip this week's writing prompt offerings but might reconsider it now that I read yours. Visiting from SITSGirls by way of Mamakat's.Best,Elizabeth

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5 Meara January 15, 2011 at 6:59 am

This is such a great post. I love that you love your mom so much. Thanks for a great read :)

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6 Nicole January 15, 2011 at 8:33 am

Visiting from LBS. What a beautiful post – very "revealing." I think I idealized my mom when I was little, too.

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7 Alysia January 15, 2011 at 8:51 am

here from LBS too. What a touching post and a nice tribute to your mom. Many of us hide things like that, and you've reminded us to be proud of what makes us who we are.

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8 C.L. January 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

Self discovery and a deeper understanding of your mom… I really like this post. We all have some sort of scar that we deal with in our own way. I hope you're mom realizes that she's beautiful even with her scar.

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9 Leanne January 15, 2011 at 10:14 am

Wow … I love this post – beautifully written. It's amazing how differently we all see ourselves, and our scars, isn't it? Stopping by from Lady Bloggers society – so lovely to meet you!

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10 LBDDiaries January 15, 2011 at 10:33 am

This was such a powerful post – powerful. My mom spent her entire life hating her high forehead, always wore bangs, was constantly freaked if the wind blew them upwardly – because of some stupid statement someone said once. She put that same fear in me until Alpha Hubby came along and "trained" me out of it by saying how much he loved my forehead. Now I can take bangs or leave them but they are no longer fear based! Amazing what one little negative sentence can do to people's lives. Visiting via LBS Tea party

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11 Elizabeth - MissWisa January 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Love this post. So painfully real.Stopping by from the Lady Bloggers Tea Party.

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12 Mom to 2 Posh Lil Di January 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

love this post. It is amazing what a few words can do & unfortuntely they tend to be the negative ones that have the most effect. Your mom sounds amazing and so are you!now following! would love a follow back!http://momto2poshlildivas.blogspot.comTwitter – <a href="http://www.twitter.com/bern425http://www.twitter.com/bern425<br />Thanks, Bernadette

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13 thecurseofcurvesinmp January 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm

What an inspirational post! I struggled with being embarrassed of a birth mark of mine though it's so petty compared to my mom who is blind. She wakes up everyday seeing beauty in people's personalities and heart…she doesn't care what they look like because it doesn't matter anyway.

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14 I AM ... Chance January 16, 2011 at 6:09 am

as i read i was thinking… what mole? Great post Jen! I understand Sherroll is like that but worse… hopefully our mommies will see the beauties that we see and the insecure little girls within in them will vanish!

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15 rjg23 January 16, 2011 at 6:58 am

This was a beautiful post! Your writing is lovely, and you portray your mother in such a beautiful light. Thanks for a great read!

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16 onemixedbag.com January 16, 2011 at 7:06 am

I love this. My favorite line was how your mom was your Oprah. Its a neat way to look on that. How wonderful that you are able to share this in such a sweet way. My mom smelled like Juicy Fruit gum when I was growing up too.

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17 TexaGermaNadian January 16, 2011 at 7:46 am

What an absolutely beautiful story. Thank you for sharing :) Happy Comment Love Day from FTLOB. I am really glad I got a chance to have a peek at your bloghttp://texagermanadian.blogspot.com/

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18 Crystal Kelly January 18, 2011 at 4:14 am

You know what I find amazing? In high school I envied you so much. You were that beautiful girl that all of the guys swooned over. I would have never imagined that you didn't realize just how gorgeous you were (are).

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