Thursday, January 20


"I ask you right here to please agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." Chris Cleave, Little Bee.

I read this sentence last night and I loved it so much I couldn't think of anything else to post today.

Scars come in many forms. I only have one scar on my body, and it's a pretty cool scar to have. I don't want to brag or anything, but when I was four years old, I got a bullet in my foot. I didn't exactly get shot at in a dramatic instant of the Lebanese civil war, but still --I got a bullet in my foot, and I was four years old. I remember this like it was yesterday. I was sitting at a political rally (God knows why anyone would take a four year old to a political rally in Beirut in 1989) next to another young girl. There was noise and clapping and some speech going on, and I was holding a Lebanese flag. Suddenly the girl next to me taps on my shoulder and points to her foot. And I gasped in horror: it was pouring out blood. "Are you okay?" I asked, panicking. "It's not me," she said. "It's you."

That's when I screamed. It wasn't the pain, not yet. It was the fear.

It took another 24 hours for everyone to realize it was a bullet that landed on my tiny right foot. First they took me to a clinic nearby because they couldn't reach a hospital, and because no one really knew how I came to have a hole in my foot by just sitting down, they all concluded that I must've hurt myself with the flag. So they sewed it up and sent me home. I spent all night with the bullet inside me, my foot swelling, red, burning and throbbing with pain, and my father trying to keep it cool. It was only the next day that they were able to take me to the hospital, do an X-ray, and tell my mother there was bullet. I still have the X-rays, and I still have the bullet. I take it out every once in a while and stare at it. If it had eyes I would be looking straight at them. This bullet could've landed anywhere, but it landed on me. It could've killed me, but it didn't. It's part of me now, part of my story. It's my scar, and I survived.

Not all scar stories are easy to share. The scars on our bodies, people can see them. They point to them, and ask "what happened?" and then you have a reason to tell them. But there are many scars which no one sees and no one asks about. And these are the scars that make us who we are.

I was talking about this with one of my best-friends not so long ago. We were saying how we had both been in relationships where our partners didn't understand our scars, didn't want to hear about them, didn't see their importance. They thought talking about those stories was like having a self-pity party. And like idiots, we avoided the topics that made us who we are. I could only ever be with someone who not only understands my scars, but appreciates them, loves them because they are a part of me. These scars are what set us apart, make us unique and build-up our life story. Someone who loves you is supposed to see that. Each of our stories gives us the context for people to understand why we are the way we are, and we should never be ashamed of it. I am proud of my scars and where they have taken me.

I have a friend whose father died when he was eleven. And this little boy turned himself into a man all by himself, took on responsibilities, worked hard since he was 14, never asked anyone for anything, and today is amazingly successful. Maybe to others, he is "normally" successful. But once you know the context, you'd know it's amazing.

Before a scar becomes a scar, it's an injury. It hurts, bleeds, burns. With time it heals, sometimes quickly, other times slowly, but it always heals. My scar is almost gone now. It's been 21 years since a bullet strayed into my life, and you can't really see it anymore. But I know it's there. It's my scar, and I survived.

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