Scar Stories

Scars are unplanned tattoos, the spur of the moment result from a bad *&%$ decision. All around the world it's the one thing we share that defines who we are, where we've been, where we are going. From the rites of passage razor scars when you first learned to shave (legs or face) to the branded tissue left over from a nasty burn to the surgery scars that despite the best efforts of the finest plastic surgeons won't disappear, scars, and the stories that come with them are the tried and true fabric of our lives.  

I have a smattering of scars. The oldest is a check mark on my eyebrow, proof that I had chicken pox as a child. The most recent scars were inflicted by my beloved feline, and they pepper my arms and legs, and occasionally my stomach and upper thighs depending on how frisky Tigger gets on any given day. Funny thing about scars, no matter how hard you may try to forget the how and when of a specific scar tissue's origin, it always manages to come back to you, fleetingly conjuring its own personal memory.  

My most noticeable scar is 4" long just below the big toe of my left foot, the remnant of a bunion removal that included a bone setting with titanium steel pins. Once upon a time, I was pulled out of line at the airport for setting off the metal detector--this was pre-9/11 so it was no big deal and hasn't happened since which makes me wonder about the sensitivity (or lack thereof) of machines available today. In addition to my foot, I have six other surgery scars, two on my arms, one on my left hip, the other on the left side of my neck--these resulted from skin cancer consults and tests from an annual skin cancer screening, and the last two are located on my lower abdomen, reminders of a minor femme surgery.

The crescent moon on my right index finger came from the time I accidentally closed a file cabinet drawer on my finger,  the metal lip gouging my skin. This was back in college, I can still see the military gray cabinet with its nickel-plated handles, the manila folders stained with blood. I was stunned by how much blood there was, and I still get light-headed thinking about it. My knees and elbows are scratched up from bike riding spills and the occasional rough and tumble between my body and the concrete streets, mostly from learning to rollerblade. And then there's the cigarette burn on my right forearm--I can remember where and when it happened (at a local pub with friends, one we frequented often) but I don't recall how. Nor can I remember what the burn felt like, the feel of hot ash against my skin. In fact all that comes to mind from that moment is abstract: dancing, eyes focused on my arm, flailing about in a tiny space and laughing without a care in the world. 

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