This is Nicole
Owning my Scars
Being a woman in today’s world can be really hard. When I was younger, I remember comparing myself to other girls, to magazine pictures, and to celebrities. I remember having my flaws and my insecurities pointed out by others and I remember feeling really bad about myself. I felt that I didn’t match what was considered beautiful and I felt awkward in my own body.
As I got older, I believed that I had begun to accept my body and myself as a person. I began to appreciate what I believed were my flaws and flaunt my strengths. The truth in the matter was that my idea of beauty was still superficial. I still only thought of beauty in terms of what was on the outside. In all honesty, I was probably trying harder than I ever had to feel good about myself and to meet the standards of what I believed was beautiful.
So as one can imagine, when I became sick in my last year of high school, and was diagnosed with a chronic gastrointestinal disease, my idea of beauty began to fall apart. I lost more than 25 pounds during that year. People whispered about my weight, about eating disorders, about the state of my health and I felt increasing miserable as I watched the curves that I had long cherished disappearing.
My first surgery was an emergency one. Rather than worrying about my health though, I worried about the scars. I worried that I would never wear a bikini again without shame, and I begged the doctors to use the smallest incisions possible. The doctors were wonderful, and I only came out of it with 4 small scars on my abdomen, but still, I cried when I saw them. It took me a year to put on a bikini because of those scars. This was my first surgery, but it wasn’t my last. Nevertheless, it was the hardest to deal with. I hated my body for being sick, for being damaged, and for being imperfect.
I’ve acquired several other scars over the years but I no longer look at them so negatively. My boyfriend coined them “battle scars” and that is how I think of them now. They are marks of my journey and my strength. Our stories and our battles, all make us unique, and beautiful, and strong. Those stretch marks from giving birth, or losing weight, those scars from falling off a snowboard, or having a surgery, that crooked nose or tooth from the years of competitive boxing or those smile lines from years of laughter. They are not flaws, just a part of our journey. For me, my health was a battle, but it was one that I won, and one that has left me proud and filled with self-love and respect. Now more than ever, I believe that health is beautiful. Strength is beautiful. Courage is beautiful. Individuality is beautiful and all women are most definitely beautiful.
-Nicole Da Rosa