The map of my life is paved with scars, among other musings

This is me. Scarred on my knee, my heart, my belly, my right breast; scars of wanderings, scars of birthing, scars of illness, scars of which my life has created. I am scarred, but I am not solely my scars; they are roads on my inner map, my exterior markings. The word begins to sound so strange when repeated. We are all wounded somehow, sometimes we see the scars, sometimes we do not.

My right breast is gone, my sweaters cave in, as the energy to disguise this wound is nil. There is a thin red line where once lived a breast. And so what of it….I am over the scar tissue. I’m over being scarred by this bitchy whore of a cancer. Take my breast and give me my health. But that didn’t happen as all had thought. They took it, my bosom was halved…they weren’t all that big to begin with, but nicely sized for my body. I wonder how it looked on the stainless steel table all detached and emptied of my soul.

Generally, as apart of womanhood, we believe these beings define us, as they attract, they heave, they feed, they often comfort and Venus stands before us, armless with her breasts beautiful and exposed. They symbolize the core and beauty of a woman in many an art form. What I have learned by way of cancer, of life with astounding women to learn from, is that this is not the case. While our bodies can define us if we allow the world to tell us so, these breasts do not speak to the power of the woman. The core of a woman is her strength, her bravery in life, motherhood, sisterhood, friendships. The core of a woman is the depth of her compassion and love. Beauty is beyond the boob. Strength is within the scars we bear along the path to womanhood.

I was inspired to write about scars from two fellow bloggers. Bill gave me a unique perspective from the male view of the body in his post: http://bwthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/i-think-i-can/

And by the photos in I have breast cancer’s blog

Thank you for the inspiration to give my perspective.

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15 comments on “The map of my life is paved with scars, among other musings

  1. billgncs says:

    I have not cried since I was a child, but as I read this, my eyes are damp.

    I do not know you, and although you share your heart, I would never presume familarity I did not own, but were my wife marked so by this terrible foe, I hope I could hold her and gently kiss each mark of strength and battle.

    And finally, the core of a woman also includes how she civilizes and strengthens her man, and makes him better than he could ever be alone.

    Thank you, you give me courage.

  2. exiledtyke says:

    I can only agree with billgncs comments.

    Your body does not constrain who, what, how or why you are. You are greater than the sum of the parts of your body. Your strength comes from knowing yourself and not how others perceive you.
    Good luck to you.

  3. Kendra says:

    This is so moving. I have yet to acknowledge my scars. I can barely even touch them, much less look at them.

    You are brave and beautiful. Thanks for this.

  4. jelebelle says:

    Thank you all, friends, for the lovely thoughts. May we all continue to heal! Kendra, it gets easier…it took me awhile to look/touch the area as well.

    And, yes though we don’t “know” each other, it seems to me that in many ways we do on a very powerful level. This support community has proved invaluable to me.
    xo

  5. billgncs says:

    Until today, each day I have worn a black T-shirt under my polo shirt to work. IT guys get to wear polo shirts and jeans. Today, I wore my polo open collared. This is who I am. And if someday the mark is a distant echo of fears past, let it stand for when I faced the lion’s roar.

  6. Oh this is one of the most heartfelt, compassionate, beautiful things I have ever read. You remind me of the truth of these words by Khalil Gibran:

    Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

    Thank you for sharing such a precious reflection with us

  7. carolecluer says:

    Beautifully written, I too have had a right breast mastectomy so your words really strike a chord with me. After my treatment I changed my life and stopped being an accountant and began to study art. I now make portrait drawings of people with scars, I have called the the kintsugi series after the Japanese craft of repairing bowls. Its too long to write about here but if you are interested have a look at my blog.

    Your picture is beautiful by the way.

  8. […] Jen has written an eloquent and moving post on her post breast cancer scars: While our bodies can define us if we allow the world to tell us so, these breasts do not speak to the power of the woman. The core of a woman is her strength, her bravery in life, motherhood, sisterhood, friendships. The core of a woman is the depth of her compassion and love. Beauty is beyond the boob. Strength is within the scars we bear along the path to womanhood. […]

  9. […] Jen has written an eloquent and moving post on her post breast cancer scars: While our bodies can define us if we allow the world to tell us so, these breasts do not speak to the power of the woman. The core of a woman is her strength, her bravery in life, motherhood, sisterhood, friendships. The core of a woman is the depth of her compassion and love. Beauty is beyond the boob. Strength is within the scars we bear along the path to womanhood. […]

  10. jelebelle says:

    Thank you thank you for reading and sharing and the general support. It is lovely to feel comfortable expressing such intimate thoughts; it helps having those who understand read, comment, and be real with.

  11. hjelmstd says:

    The time came when I could say:

    The breasts are gone
    but I am
    whole

    Disfigurement
    need not include
    my soul

    (Excerpted from Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, (c) 1993, 2003 Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad)

  12. This is beautifully and evocatively written–and true, to some degree or other, for all of us. And, yes, as you so eloquently put it, “beauty is beyond the boob.” All women should remember that.

  13. Wow. I’m speechless. What an incredibly moving post. You hit the nail on the head. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read.

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