We all have scars. Some are big, some are little.
Some are self-inflicted, some are from trauma. Some are from falls on hard tarmac on hot summer days at the age of 9, some are from doctors pulling babies out of our wombs and into the world.
Stretch marks, acne scars, surgical scars, old wounds that never quite healed fully, burns, you name it. All of them serve as a reminder of where we have been and what we have gone through.
So many people try to avoid them, with some people even shelling out insane amounts of money to remove them. Some people create their own scars at the hand of a tattoo artist, to celebrate or mark their body on their own terms (myself included).
Every mark upon our bodies tells a story. No matter the size, the width, or the placement of a scar, it should be looked upon as a badge of honor. We should be able to look at them and say to ourselves, “I survived.”
C-sections scars serve as reminders of the new life we brought into the world. Surgical scars remind us that we fought hard to come out the other end in better health, or fought for our lives for as long as we could.
Stretch marks are proof of motherhood or remain after massive amounts of hard work losing weight that we no longer wanted to carry.
Acne scars help us remember the teenagers we once were, and how there is nothing harder than struggling with pimples in the midst of high school, yet we made it through somehow and came out a little bit stronger and more confident, too.
Self-harm wounds are sacred marks that bring us back to a time when we weren’t in a good place or sincerely struggling with an internal battle only hurting ourselves could relieve for a short time.
Tattoos are artwork we chose to put on our bodies, whether they were from drunken nights with friends on spring break or memorial tattoos for our lost loved ones, they are beautiful.
Two wounds from my recent laparoscopic gallbladder removal that I think will scar, but they will serve as a reminder of the pain I had to go through to feel better.
Don’t look as your scars as something to be ashamed of. They are physical reminders that you have lived. Whether they came to you in a bad circumstance or were put on your body on purpose, don’t be ashamed of them.
Scars tell our story. At the end of our lives when our bodies are being prepared for burial or cremation, someone will look upon us and imagine where each of our scars came from and for most of us, they will see each of these marks as just another chapter in a well-lived life.
This story originally appeared on These Boys of Mine