Some scars are invisible but powerful nonetheless. Because they can’t be seen, no sympathy is offered, no concerning questions asked.
But what happens when you are told that your scars will be easily seen? Do you have the procedure or not?
That’s the choice I faced when I investigated cosmetic surgery after losing eighty pounds.
The scars on my arms would run down the backside. They might fade with time or they might remain as deep red lines. I didn’t care. I hated the flaps of saggy skin that smacked the water when I swam, so loudly that I could hear the whump, whump as the bags smacked the surface, despite wearing earplugs and a cap.
I believed that if I could hear it that clearly, then so could everyone else.
I hated the way my arms looked in short sleeves: huge bags of quivering flesh. I was embarrassed, humiliated and my self-esteem suffered.
The surgery would remove the bags. I chose self-esteem over scarring.
After recovering from that operation I investigated additional cosmetic surgery to remove the roll of skin that had pooled around my waist. Even though it was always hidden under my clothes, unless I wore an overly baggy top, the bulge was visible.
Once again the surgeon said there would be scarring, most likely a deep red line that encircled my waist. My response? I told her that the only one who would see it was my husband. The benefit of the operation would be clearly visible: no roll of excess skin.
Granted my scars are visible, but the surgery removed the psychological effects caused by extreme embarrassment, by my disgust of my body.
After recovery, every time I looked in the mirror, I was shocked. Who was this woman looking back at me? She had no flabby arms, no roll of skin.
My new identity was hard to embrace. Months went by and I still did not recognize myself, did not connect that reflection with who I was now.
Two years later I am still surprised. The scars are there, but they are badges of honor, not of shame.