I have a very vivid memory related to the scar I have on my right arm from my second melanoma. I’m almost ashamed to tell it, because my thoughts seemed so twisted, vane, and insane, but it’s the truth, honest and open, without holding back. And maybe, the reason I am so willing to share now about it, is because I have had such a shift in my thinking since then, that I want to show how things can change, thoughts evolve, attitudes progress, and we grow.
Ok, so here it goes….
It was the first warm day, coming out of winter… You know, a day to wear short sleeves. I was thrilled, as I love when spring emerges and winter clothes are shed. I looked forward to my short sleeve tees and tanks! And today was the day for that!
I had an appointment at the Apple Store, to meet with a “Genius” to figure out why something with my computer was not working. All ready to figure out this mess, I waltz into the store, donning a tank and a wrap sweater, as it was still a bit chilly when I left the house.
I plop my stuff upon the Genius Bar, start to tell the Genius about my troubles, and as I’m listening to him start to explain the nature of the problem, I start to get warm. I take off my sweater. For reasons I can’t explain, I go from a total attentive listener to a self-absorbed obsessor, focused only on one thought: My scar, revealed for the first time since my surgery, looking very big and purple and jagged and ugly, is going to have this Genius thinking I am a cutter. Yes, a cutter. How on earth did that even come to mind? I don’t know, but I do know that as the Genius’s eyes met my newly unveiled scar, ALL I could think of was that!
The Genius was talking, I was looking at him, his mouth moving, explaining what I needed to do to fix this problem (the computer problem that is, not the mental problem I was having in front of him), but I was no longer hearing him. I was swirling in my thought, my one thought…of him thinking I was a cutter.
I left the Apple Store, not knowing how to fix my computer problem, but also exiting with a new problem…a self-created problem.
Well, this surely was not going to work! I cannot hide. I cannot waste my time in Crazytown! I need to turn this around. Breathe. Pause. Breathe more.
And what came was this…”This is me.”
This scar is part of me. It has a story behind it. A story of melanoma. Not of a cutter. So, TELL IT!
And after that Apple Store moment, I have watched my scar evolve, as well as my thoughts. I have seen my scar go from deep purple and numb, to red and itchy, to pink and wide, and more. I have seen my thoughts go from cutter scenario worry, to “this is me”, to “TELL the story”.
And today, I wear my scar proudly, use it as a conversation piece, talk about it when asked, use it to educate.
My scar = my story.
Photo by Robert Sturman