The Harry Potter novels hold a nostalgic place for our family with books read and reread countless times. Little did I know what an important figure Harry would play in my life. For those Potter fans out there, you know one of the defining features of Harry is a scar in the shape of a lightning bolt on his forehead. Harry got this scar as a baby when Lord Voldemort failed to kill him. This scar connects Harry to his past and impacts his future, and this scar is only one of the ways the world recognizes him.
One of the defining features on my face is my scar. It runs from my bottom lip, zigs, and zags slightly down my chin, and tucks in and around my neck. I earned this scar after an 11-hour surgery when my doctor removed my cancer by cutting me open, removing half of my tongue and a quarter of my teeth, and reconstructed it with tissue, muscles, and arteries from my arm and skin grafts from my thigh (freckles and all). I’ve named it my Harry Potter scar. Although it’s not as cool as a lightning-bolt, I think my surgeon did a pretty cool job. Like Harry, this scar came from something which failed to kill me. Like Harry, this scar connects me to my past and impacts my future, and this scar is only one of the ways the world recognizes me. However, when I wake up every day and look at myself in the mirror, this scar reminds me, I beat cancer. This scar gives me POWER.
Hollywood loves a dramatic scar…serial killer Freddy Kreuger from Nightmare on Elm Street, infamous drug cartel leader Tony Montana from Scarface, the villainous lion Scar from The Lion King, and one of my personal favorite swordsman Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride who famously declared “You killed my father. Prepare to die,” - greatest line ever. These are only to name a few. Their scars shape their characters, help define who they are, what they do, and how the viewer should perceive them.
Did you know the face of the moon has scars? Several weeks ago, my family and I took a road trip to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. We entered a lottery for a moonlight hike with a park ranger and to our delight we won. At dusk, my family and I along with 12 other lottery winners, gathered at the base of Inspiration Point feeling extra lucky. Not that type of Inspiration Point and not that type of lucky 😊. We slowly meandered up the gravel trail in awe as the sun set over the valley of crimson-colored hoodoos and a brilliant full-moon rose above our heads illuminating the dark and star-filled sky. Along the way, the ranger filled our heads with fascinating facts about the moon including why it’s covered with so many scars. These visible lunar markings appear to us as shadows and light, hypnotic shapes and swirls, and subtle shades of yellow, gray, silver, white, blue, and more, but if we go below the surface, they reveal a much more turbulent story.
According to a NASA piece I read from June 6, 2019, it states “When you look at the Moon through a telescope, you see craters, craters, and more craters. These are actual battle scars from a really violent period of our solar system's history. The moon has been hammered by asteroids and comets for billions of years.” In a separate article, I read about the possibility some of the moons scars resulted from sunburn. Imagine that…the moon has a sunburn! I suppose aloe wasn’t invented a billion years ago. I find comfort knowing so many people continue to be interested and enchanted by the moon’s imperfections.
Years ago, as I embraced the nontraditional enhancements on my face, I had this on-going fantasy of being a cancer survivor turned Dove Model. I admired the brand’s commitment to celebrating unique, beautiful, and diverse women of every size, shape, color, and background. While I hardly consider myself model material, I thought it would be fun for Dove to add facial scars to their campaigns. Maybe they do now; I hope they do,
I’ve made peace with these permanent features on my body. I can’t hide my scars, and I can’t hide from them either. They sit front and center on my face and other parts of my body telling a story. My scars attract attention and invite curiosity. I’ve noticed a few lingering stares, or kids have outright asked me what happened to my face, and I’m always happy to answer. The fault-line on my face has a vulnerable and shaky side but not like it used to. My memorable marks help me stand out from the crowd. I like to think my scars don’t define me like a character in a movie but refine me. But mostly, I think of my physical scars as one-of-a-kind shiny gold metals reminding me how hard I worked to fight the fight and win the race when I was hammered down by so much, but like Harry Potter, good overcame evil. I might not have a lightning-bolt like Harry, but I know I have so much more.
I DYP – Discovering My Power, My Way with my physical scars. Could the power of embracing your physical scars work for you?
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