This morning on my commute, I was approached by a woman who apologized for both stopping me and for the question she was about to ask. She wanted to know if it was indeed a scar from having corrective surgery for Scoliosis that ran along my spine. Truth be told, I only remember both the scar and the condition when, someone like this woman, reminds me. Time is truly an amazing healer and successfully places distance (and amnesia) between you and the thing that may have hurt.
But, her reason for the question was a specific one – it turns out that her daughter had a similar surgery two years ago and is very self-conscious about her scar; she wanted to know from me what I used to make it fade so well (but apparently not “so well” enough; as my surgery was 20+ years ago and she still saw it). I told her “nothing”. I have never put anything on it. I just let ‘time’ do its thing.
She then went on to tell me that her daughter, who is sixteen, will be graduating next year and is already so very upset anticipating what type of dress she could get that would hide her scar; but of course, still allow her to show as much skin as possible. The young! But, as it turns out, I have a dress that does exactly that (though not for that reason); it has a strip running down the spine, while leaving the sides bare. But, I digress.
I told this mother to share this with her daughter; to me, it constituted the most important thing I could share with her (even tops my giving this stranger my dress; which I contemplated) –
“Teach your daughter that scars are beautiful; not ugly. Tell her that they signify strength. Teach her to be proud. Tell her that they say ‘you survived’…”