A couple of months ago I saw a link on Facebook called "The Scar Project". I clicked the link and immediately became mortified by the images of these women. These women had been mutilated to save their lives. Cancer had came into their bodies and the only choice was to take a scalpel and cut deep into their flesh. I won't get on my soap box about cancer research and how I feel like so much money is wasted on other things in this world. We put a man on the moon, we should have a cure for cancer...ok, maybe a small soap box.
Tears streaming down my face, I clicked on image after image, after image. These women, mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, and wives bearing their scars for the world to see. Photograph after photograph of their story. These photos telling the silent struggle these women went through in order to save their lives...then...I thought of the other scars. The ones we can't see. The scars on their hearts, the scars on the hearts of their loved ones. The deep scars, that no one can look at and gasp at the tragedy. Scars women of all ages carry around with them their whole lives. Even as young girls we are injured with words, leaving scars that only we can see.
Are these scars any different? Not really, only these scars we can hide. There is no proof of the internal scars and they can be buried deep within us, only being shown to our closest friends, if ever seen at all. Sometimes as women, we are hurt by words and it leaves a lasting bruise on our heart. When were we taught that it was ok? Being talked to inappropriately by men, treated poorly by peers, not standing up for who we are, and the hell it took us to get there. My scars are deep, some are small, some are large, some fresh and some old. Every scar on the outside has a story, and so do the scars on the inside.
A lot of people frown on women who are confident. They look at you as "cocky" or "arrogant" when the truth usually lies in THEIR insecurities, again.....scars. I love me. I love my scars. I love that I am loud, funny, OCD at times, I wear my heart on my sleeve yet I am the master of keeping my emotions in check, I act tough but never want to hurt anyone intentionally, I am still struggling with my appearance, and I am harder on myself than I need to be. Those things make me..."me". It's ok to love "me". When you love yourself, AND your scars, insecurities, strong points, and weaknesses, you can grow and learn about yourself. You can start to heal from the inside. My scars are my truth, MY TRUTH. Some self inflicted, some inflicted by others, but they are all mine.
After my minor "scar meltdown" I decided I wanted to do something to bring this thought to light. I wanted to take some photos of a young woman that loved herself. True beauty is when "You Love You", which in turn prompted another idea. I decided to have women, who were my friends on Facebook, e-mail me why they loved themselves and in return they would get a free photo shoot highlighting just that.
The response was amazing. I have had so many wonderful women email me, most directed their "self-love" to reasons of being a good mother, good person, Christ follower, but one in particular stood out. I fell in love with this response....
"I will stand up in the face of adversity and build a life based on what is right for me. Using confidence in myself and a firm belief that I have a light within me that will brighten if nothing more a small corner of this world and make a difference for someone. And knowing through it all that my life in it's successes and failures was mine alone to make." -Alexis
Alexis is 15 years old...This is what it is all about. Love you, be you, insist others love you and take nothing less in return. Make YOUR light shine. Whether you live in a small town, a big city, the country, or island in the Bahamas, shine. Never be afraid, your scars are you. Be YOU, be proud of what makes you, you. When women stop being afraid of what really lies inside of them, and start loving themselves for who THEY are, they will shine from the inside out. SCAR- Stay Confident And Real. Let your scars heal...and SHINE!
* A special thanks to "The Scar Project" for the inspiration for this post. The photos and women are beyond amazing. If you want to learn more, or purchase the book featuring these brave women, click the link below.