Adult woman reaching out to a more self-assured version of herself emerging from an ornate frame

How I Learned To Accept My Scars As A Masterpiece (Part 2)

In case you missed it, check out Part 1 of this series!

Months preceding this moment, I was sitting on the exam table at my dermatologist’s office when I was diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Standing in the mirror, I thought about how cunning HS had been in skillfully constructing the newfound physical and mental scars I struggled to heal from.

The mental scars of HS

I thought about the complex mental scars HS had woven into my psyche and how these scars possessed the potential to be even more debilitating than my physical wounds. As I held my arms up in the mirror and examined the effects of HS on my body, I thought about the thousands of other warriors who battle HS and likely experience their own moments in the mirror too. I imagined us as a collective group looking on in fear as HS ravaged our bodies, mourning our lives before the boils appeared, and silently crying in the mirror seeking an emotional release. I visualized a collage of innocent questions in my head like, “am i still beautiful?” or “will my scars always be a source of pain?”

The questions swarmed in my mind pleading for answers to a mysterious condition that has no cure. Like the countless others who battle HS on a daily basis, I was experiencing the cumulative effects of shame for living with a loathsome skin disease, guilt for having to be a burden on others, and the inevitable fear of missing out on my life’s golden desires.

I found the physical scars of my HS to be sickening, but the mental scars HS left behind danced to a more insidious tune.

Accepting my scars

Like the tears that traveled down my face, I could feel the energetic release of my pain uprooting from the deepest parts of my being. It was the first time that I recognized that my scars helped to sharpen my mind and to teach me how to love me regardless of what my outer shell displayed. I acknowledged that they were profound symbols of strength as my body healed physical wounds that were once the source of tremendous pain.

It was the first time that I understood the power that lay in my hands to choose to heal from and accept the complex set of scars that contribute to the masterpiece that is me. In that moment of intense grief and pain, wisdom suggested that I seek healing in accepting that my battle scars are an important part of my journey. My scars which both hardened and softened me were the reason that I am a work of art in progress. I found solace in knowing that the more I grow and experience as a person, the more of a masterpiece I become.

In the stillness of that moment, it was the first time I smiled at my reflection as I realized that the mirror was once again witnessing the molding of the masterpiece that is me.

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