Taking a brief detour from a crafty post, because this blog isn't ALL about art... it's also about my journey into bravery.
While on vacation, I had a lot of time to meditate - there were a lot of people at the beach house this year, and I needed to escape a few times. The shore is a huge trigger for me with alcohol - it was always my party spot. Of course, just about anywhere was my party spot. :-P
So I would escape to the beach, or to a quiet room... sometimes to the kitchen (believe it or NOT) and I'd busy my mind and hands with any task I could find. And with a dozen people around, there was always a task to be found.
I treated myself to a tiny black bikini this year. Last year's bikini was more of a two piece - the bottoms weren't very low, not because I was ashamed of my belly, but because I am self-conscious of my scar. The new bikini showed it all off, scar, belly and all. LOL
But back to meditating - (it all fits in, honest) - I was on the beach alone, contemplating life, the sea, the enormity of the universe, and... my belly button. Which of course led me to contemplate the scar that runs from my navel all the way down to... well... there.
Some people have nice scars. Unobtrusive. Thin pencil lines. Not me. My scar is one of those 'right in your face ugly' kind of scars. But it's that way for a reason. The physical reason is because after being discharged from the hospital following my hysterectomy, I was re-admitted within hours with an infection in my incision. My surgeon met me in the ER, I was so miserable and sick with a raging fever, pain, bleeding... and of course, you KNOW I thought I was dying, right? The doctor's words were "Sandi - your incision is infected and filled with blood clots and I need to get them out of there NOW. It's going to hurt. I'm sorry."
Talk about an understatement. I watched (why did I watch???) as he grabbed my abdomen and pulled it apart at the seams... literally. And then he pushed... (that was when I stopped watching) (that was also when Bob walked away from my bedside) (I couldn't blame him a BIT - if I could have walked away I would have.)
Another week in the hospital on IV antibiotics cleared the infection, but my incision was a lost cause. It is wide and corded... and one dimple is so deep that it appears to be a second belly button. For years afterward, my doctor would look at it with a sad face and try to convince me to let him fix it. Um... no thank you. Not going under anesthesia and a scalpel just to make a scar LOOK better. It was my badge of courage, my proof that I beat cancer. But it was something I hid...
And that's where my thoughts went on the beach that day... how unbelievably lucky I was, and how blessed I am today. And that after 21 years I am no longer willing to hide my ugly scar. That my unwillingness to show that scar was more a reflection of the scars INSIDE. I was self conscious and embarrassed by it for so long - I felt like people would point and stare and whisper about what I looked like. My self esteem was so low that it was non-existent. My friends joke that I think 'it's all about me'... and in a sense that's true - but in negative thoughts. I was paranoid and ascared. Was everyone whispering about me? Where they noticing my scar? Was it hidden enough? Did they think less of me because it was so ugly?
Once sober, I began the slow journey of self discovery - aided by my program, my friends, my higher power. And I discovered that I really didn't need to care about what other people thought about me - physically OR mentally. It didn't happen overnight, and there's still a long road ahead. But I learned something very important...
The inside scars... are the ugly scars. And those are the ones that need to be treated...
Thanks for reading.