Thursday / June 21 / 2012
The roasting Myrtle-Beach-like humidity made me opt for a skort as I readied for Pilates. Passing the full-length mirror in my bedroom, I would normally notice the blinding paleness of my sun-starved legs. But today my eyes immediately scanned the exposed burn scar on my right leg — and my eyes welled-up.
For a moment, I was overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with gratitude… and grace.
My scar represents so much, not the least of which is my gratefulness to even have a leg.
For a moment, I considered how differently my body would look if I had a “normal” leg, even squinting my eyes in an attempt to visualize it. For 25 years I’ve nurtured and revered my scarred leg. If I could wave a magic wand and make the scar disappear — yes, I would relish the thought — but would decline the alteration.
I don’t see my burn scar as something that needs repair. I see it as tangible proof of the grace that spared my life.
Everyone reacts differently when they catch a glimpse of my disfigurement. Just the other day, I mentioned to my husband Skip how many eyes were noticing my scar now that it’s shorts weather again.
Reactions vary depending how the individual copes with someone else looking ‘visibly different’. Studies have shown that the general population often tries to avoid having to look at the disfigurement. I’ve found this to be true with adults; however, children tend to point in authentic amazement, typically adding some sort of, “Whoa!”
I envy their freedom.
Given the extreme nature of the car accident, I shouldn’t have my right leg. By rights, I should be wheelchair-bound or at best, walking with a severe limp and a cane. In many respects, I have no business even being alive.
But I am. And I treasure the gift. I can’t answer the “why”s and “what if”s, but I can grasp hold of the kite that is life and if I choose, enjoy the freedom of flight. And friends… I love to soar!
I’m the first to recognize when someone sees my burn scar for the first time, it is shocking. It will take you aback. But those who’ve already had that ‘first glance’, who embrace me — also embrace my scar simply because it’s part of who I am.
As I entered the Elevation Pilates studio, Kathy and Sandy embraced me with their words,
–“Love the skort!”
–“You look so cute!”
You see… it’s not really about the skort or even the disfigurement. It’s about who I am and with whom I choose to surround myself.