Monday, July 16, 2012

the scars inside...

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. 


16 comments:

  1. Wow, Sandi. I know how it feels to hide because of your scars. You are beautiful and yes, you should wear it as a badge of honor my friend <3

    P.S it's Lola <3

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  2. You are absolutely right, Sandi. The inside scars are the ones that need to be treated...You now have a badge of bravery :) And day by day, little by little somehow, some way, we treat the ugly inside scars and slowly turn it in to something beautiful. Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Ah sweet beautiful girl, love this post. <3

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  4. Fantastic post that spoke straight to my heart! Love you brave girl!

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  5. Oh thank you for sharing your honesty here, Sandi. I need to hear words and stories like this. I, too beat my alcoholism but at times it can be an at all out war and to be honest...this past year I was tempted to drink my cares away...but I didn't.

    Thank you!!!!

    Love,
    Leslie

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  6. LOVE this! I often want to ask people about obvious scars but don't because I'm afraid of offending them. BUT I think they are all a badge of courage/honor/victory. Because they are always something that was survived. :-) But then I don't see the ones that are hidden. And always the worst scars are the emotional ones.

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  7. I have many scars that crisscross my body like a roadmap telling a story of where I’ve been and the traumas I experienced along the way. They are more like old friends now rather than sad reminders of the events that crafted the person I am today. Most have faded but one remains uglier than the rest. No one can see this particular scar, which is now about 60 years old, because, fortunately for me, the material in just the front left leg of my swimming suit is probably more than was used to make your entire bikini.

    With each external scar comes some amount of psychological scarring. Each of us works through these internal scars in our own way and in our own time. Perhaps initially resting on the shoulders of others, but, hopefully, eventually finding within ourselves the ability to move on – a stronger, wiser, happier, more empathetic person. And not in spite of the scar, but because of it. Our scars (both kinds) are not only a roadmap of where we’ve been, but strongly influence where we are going next. Coming to grips with them in a positive way can make that next step exciting instead of scary. Sounds like you’re ready to take the next step, Brave Girl.

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  8. I hope I get to meet you Bob and what a blessing for Sandi to have such a wise and insightful brother. Sandi, I'm weeping reading your post with tears of joy, being FREE is brave and beautiful. I am honored to be your friend.

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  9. Thanks, Mel, but you may be disappointed. The man behind the curtain is not as impressive as the great and powerful Wizard of Bob who faces the internet. It’s not that I’m a bad man - I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad Wizard.

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  10. Don't listen to him Mel. My brother is amazingly cool, funny and one of the awesomest people I know.

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  11. Bob, I already love you because you are so awesome to and for your sister Sandi, that is a beautiful thing and I will sing it from the rooftops if need be because it really is "All That". Good peeps are good peeps and you just can't hide their light and you are one of the good guys Mr. Bob- and besides I have a really cute puppy with your name!!! :)

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  12. Hello there,

    This journey is beautiful, stops you right on its tracks, yet replenishes your soul to the point of mending.

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing story. Reading and treasuring blogs like this one truly keeps you grounded.

    Thank you once again…

    <3
    Elizabeth Aviles

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  13. Oh, stop it. You had me at “Hello”. Although I would appreciate it if you let me believe that you named your puppy after me. He could be like the son I never had. I’m concerned that Bobs are a dying breed. In 1947, Robert was the second most popular name for boys. In 2011 it was #61. Where are the new Bobs suppose to come from?

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    1. Robert/Bob holds a special place in our family as it is also the name of my father- another great guy might I add. There should be more Bobs in the world and since we are past the child bearing years Bob the wonder dog will have to do! lol

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  14. SANDI....WHERE THE HECK HAVE I BEEN ¿ WOW! TALK ABOUT SEEING AND READING THIS POST AT JUST "THAT" MOMENT WHEN IT'S GOING TO HIT HOME IN RELATION TO THE INNER RAMBLINGS OF THIS PREVIOUSLY SHIPWRECKED AND INTOXICATED SOUL. AS I SIT HERE, LAKESIDE, I HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO BE "ALONE" ¡ THIS IS SOMETHING I USED TO FEAR MOST. BEING "ALONE"....ALONE TO THE DEVICES OF THE WONDERING AND TWISTED SELF IMPOSED THOUGHTS OF SELF HATRED AND SKEPTICISM OF A LIFE I WAS WORTH HAVING. AFTER READING YOUR POST I REALIZED SOMETHING WONDERFUL. I AM MEDITATING! I AM FEELING PEACE (ASIDE FROM THE GRUMPY DOG NEXT CAMP OVER WHO HAS EVEN THE BIRDS GROWLING AND BARKING...GRRR....4 HOURS OF LISTENING TO THIS AND ITS ONLY/ALREADY 7AM). I AM CREATING, DRAWING, DOODLING, PAINTING AND WRITING! I AM DOING ALL OF THIS, AND UNTIL I READ YOUR MOST SINCERE AND HEART FELT POST, I DON'T TRULY THINK I REALIZED JUST HOW HAPPY AND COMFORTABLE I AM WITH MYSELF....PHYSICAL AND MENTAL SCARS AND ALL. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE HERE WALKING AROUND WITH HOLDING ONTO WHAT USED TO BE MY VICE...MY EVIL AND INTOXICATING COUNTERPARTS....WINE AN BEER. WHEN THEY HAD THEIR FILL AT 3 THIS MORNING AND FINALLY VENTURED NOISILY TO THERE GIVEN CAMPS, I CURLED UNDER THE COVERS WITH AN ALMOST SMUG SMILE PRESENT ON MY LIPS, KNOWING I WOULDN'T BE UP HEAVING IN AN HOUR AND HEAVY HEADED IN THE MORNING HOURS UPON WAKING. THE TYLENOL BOTTLE WILL REMAIN IN THE CABINET AND I WILL WALK THE TRAILS WITH A VERY SINCERE AND HAPPY SMILE. I WEAR MY SCARS WITH ALMOST A SIMPLE PLEASURE KNOWING THAT I ALLOWED MY HEART TO OPEN AND ACCEPT THE LOVE, THE KINDNESS, THE SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FROM YOU, MY BUDDY, SANDI. WITHOUT YOU AND YOUR KIND WISDOM I MAY NOT BE TRAVELING DOWN THIS TRAIL WITH A FEELING OF GENUINE PEACE IN MY SOUL. YOU HAVE, AND CONTINUE, TO BARE YOUR HEART AND SOUL WITH HONESTY AND COURAGE. THANK YOU JUST DOESN'T SEEM ADEQUATE ENOUGH A WORD TO SAY TO YOU. PLEASE KNOW YOU HOLD A "VERY" SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART AND MY LIFE! ....AND MY HUBBY THINKS YOU'RE 'PRETTY' SPECIAL TOO :-)
    LOVE YOU FRIEND...SOUL SISTAH!
    (now will someone p..u..l..e..e..e..e..a..s..e shut that dog up)

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