Is it brainwashing by the beauty industry, or is just that everyone I talk to has a morbid fear of scars? Among my impressive collection of scars, the most recent is the most impressive – a two-inch slash along my right collarbone. But it seems that every other person I talk to is telling me how to get rid of it! This happened with the last set of scars I received, in 2007. What happened in 2007 was that my appendix burst, but instead of the old-style long scar, I got four little scars (one of the miracles of laparoscopy!). And then I was inundated with grave warnings to slather them in Bio-Oil. I’ve grown very fond of those four scars. One is in my bellybutton, and it serves as a great conversation starter whenever I’m in a bikini with people who have never seen my scars before.
I can think of two major reasons for wanting to get rid of a scar – and by “get rid of”, I mean “lessen the appearance of” – this isn’t to do with scar tissue or the actual presence of the scar.
1: If there were bad emotions or memories involved with the circumstances of obtaining the scar. But many people have good memories associated with scars – what if you fell over and cut your knees running in a marathon, then went on to win the marathon? If it were me, I’d associate the scars on my knees with the feeling of accomplishment and achievement from the marathon. I have a friend with scars like this – they weren’t from a marathon. We were orienteering in an estuary in 2006 and she cut her knees falling onto shells.
2: If it were quite a disfiguring scar, or not disfiguring but affected your appearance in a way that made you feel bad about yourself or affected your career. For example, a model would want to limit the appearance of their scars if they were in very visible places. And I can completely understand trying to lessen the appearance of a large facial scar, whether one is a model or not.
As for my scars, they’re nowhere near disfiguring, and the only parts of my body I would consider modelling with are my back and eyes – all unscarred. And there are no horrific memories associated with any of them. The story with my newest scar goes that I was playing soccer, and I tripped (I can’t remember what I tripped over), then tried to do a break fall roll over my right shoulder. Something went wrong in the process, and my hands never touched the ground, so I hit the ground shoulder-first and snapped my clavicle clean in two, resulting in my collarbone requiring an operation to screw a titanium plate into it*. It might be an embarrassing memory, but it is a good reminder to be more careful.
In conclusion, I like my scars. I might use some Bio-Oil or tamanu oil on them, but I haven’t got any hang-ups about the way they look, and there’s an interesting story behind every scar.
*What really happened was that the bone was broken but not displaced, and the people at Ascot Hospital A&E sent me on my way with a sling and a prescription, but then I, still wearing soccer boots, slipped over on the tiles outside Ascot Pharmacy (dangerous tiles!), landed on my bum and twitched my right arm trying to catch myself, which jolted my shoulder and displaced the two parts of my clavicle – this is what resulted in the surgery being needed.