Let’s talk about scars. They are natural, part of being a human, and unfortunately more visible on some than others. Scars themselves are simply fibrous connective tissue that has formed when the skin cannot heal completely on it’s own. Getting a scar can happen as easily as falling and skinning your knee, as traumatic as a house fire, and everything in between. I fall into one of those “in between” categories.
For about fourteen years now I have lived with a very visible scar. In first grade, I had a little run-in with some hot oil. I was helping my sister with her Home Economics project, Indian Fry Bread, which consists of putting bread dough into hot oil and waiting for it to fry up properly. Being the little chef that I was back in the day, I insisted on helping my sister with this project.
April 7th, 2003, KU is playing Syracuse for the National Championship in New Orleans. My parents bleed red and blue, and they watch every game so the whole family was watching the game. They weren’t able to finish watching this one. Toward the end of the game, I was helping my sister check on her bread. Suddenly I’m screaming, fully clothed in the shower while my mom is running freezing cold water on me. Then I’m in the car shaking, unable to move while my dad is in the driver seat looking over his shoulder throwing the car in reverse not even looking at the road, but at me.
Once I got to the hospital, everything I remember after that comes from a drug induced memory and is not very reliable. I am told that my parents ended up driving me to Children’s Mercy KC after being told that I would not feel any pain on the drive over due to the pain medications.
I received a 3rd degree burn on my forehead with other serious burns over the rest of my face. It was not going to heal on its own. The doctors did everything they could, and I am forever grateful for that. What ended up happening was a skin graft. They took the skin from the inside of my right arm and put it on my forehead to create that outer layer of skin that can actually handle the outside world.
For years and years after that I felt that I had to keep my hair styled to cover my scar. Most of the time it was a blunt bang look or a side-swept bang to cover the right side of my forehead. It wasn’t actually a very good look. It took me until last year to finally accept the fact that this is me. Half of my forehead will never get tan, never get a zit, and always be a strange texture.
I will always be afraid to go to a public pool because I can feel people staring at me. I will always be afraid to put my hair into a top bun because children stare, they are curious and they have questions. I don’t like to answer those questions.
I’m not going to stand up and say that I want people to stop staring and look at me for who I am, because the scar is part of who I am. It took me twelve years to realize that I am so much more than my scar. Recently when I took on this new mindset, I realized that I like the stares. People will look at my scar, and then completely forget about it. I’ve had friends even mention that they don’t notice my scar anymore. That makes me feel so special. I like to think it’s because I am such a bubbly personality that people look at my smile and forget about every flaw of mine, but I know it’s because people don’t care as much as I think they do.
My scar has made me realize that if people can look past this one giant blotch on my forehead, then my friends will look past the awkward moments I have and all of the other flaws I believe I have.