So it would appear that my scar has been getting a lot of attention lately. More so than it has in the years past, which at first seemed a bit odd to me. I live with this particuliar scar for 6 years (I have had a scar down my chest my whole life) and when I first got it it was extremely bumpy, bright pink and raised. Now, it is smoother, a lighter pink and not nearly as raised as it once was; but it seems to be that it is getting more attention now than it had when I first got it.
Yesterday was a half day and I went to a Sweet 16 Birthday party for a friend of mine that I know from heart camp. It was a lot of fun, Make A Wish did an amazing job with the girl's birthday party. I was standing with three other girls at the dessert table (we all went to camp together and have some sort of scar on our chests.) A lady came up and asked how we knew the birthday girl.
"We met her at heart camp." My friends replied with a smile.
"Oh, how lovely! You all have your cute little scars!" The lady returned happily. The four of us girl just chuckled and looked at one another awkwardly before making our exit towards our table.
"I don't know about you guys, but my scar is not little, or cute." I told my friends with a chuckle and we all shared a laugh. When I told my mom about this incident in the car ride home, she and I shared another round of laughter. While the lady's comment was not meant to be rude or mean, it still showed a lack of sensitivity towards my body and my friends'. It occured to me though, that perhaps the lady said what she said because she didn't know what to say. Mayb she had wanted to ask us about our health, about our surgeries; but wasn't sure if she could, so she said the first that popped into her mind. . . and it ended up being a bit odd and insensative.
The other scar incident happened after school, I was sitting with a girl while we both waited for our rides to come and pick us up from school. I have sat with this girl after school the whole year and while we aren't best friends who hang out on the weekends; we do talk everyday and get along very well. We had been talking about something funny and after the laughter had died down the girl turned to look at me before speaking.
"Can I ask you something? I don't want to make you mad or hurt your feelings, but I'm just curious." She explained to me.
'Here it comes. She is going to ask about my health.' I thought to myself. I can always tell when people are going to ask a question about my health. Almost everyone starts off with 'I don't want to be rude, but can I ask you something?' Given the last two people's insensative remarks about my scar, the fact that she checked to make sure she could ask or talk about my scar before doing so made me smile with appreciation. This girl was curious (which I don't blame her) , but she was sensative and respectful towards me.
"Sure, go ahead." I told her with a nod of my head.
"Where did you get that?" She asked, trailing her own finger up and down her chest; indicating where the scar would be on her if she had one that was like mine. I find it a bit funny at how people point or gesture to their own chests when they talk about my scar. Maybe its because their mom's warnings of 'It's not nice to point.' stuck with them from childhood. But in all honesty, if they pointed to my scar while asking a respectful, sensative question; I wouldn't mind. It actually bugs me a bit when they point to their own chests. I'm not sure why. I know it's not reasonable. But it does. It makes me think 'I know where my scar is located, you don't need to demonstrate where it would be on you.' The thought 'I know what you're refering to.' also pops into my mind when people do that. But I just brush the gesture off, I know its just a habit and something people do; generally not meant to be rude or mean.
"I had open heart surgery." I explained to the girl.
"Oh I'm so sorry. When?"
"My last open heart surgery was in 6th grade. I've had 4 all together."
"Will it always look like that?"
The question was blunt and she didn't mean it to be rude or mean, but it made my suddenly self-conscious. 'Look like that' I wanted to say 'Look like what? Bright pink? Bumpy? Ugly? Yea, it will.' But I didn't because it would've been rude.
"Over time it will go down. When I first got it, it was hot pink, really bumpy and raised. But over the years it has gone down so it's not as raised and the color has gotten lighter. But I will always have the scar." I explained to the girl.
"Oh..." There was a long pause as the girl took in the inforamtion. "Can I touch it?" She asked finally. That was a question that caught me off gaurd. A 15 year old high school student asking to touch my scar. I am used to 5 year olds asking, but not teenagers. I told her yes and she reached over and ran her pointer finger down it slowly, petting me.
"Does it hurt?" She asked as she stared at the scar, tracing her finger dow it.
"Nope. I don't really feel it. Like I know you're touching it and I feel some pressure, but I don't feel the skin to skin feeling I would if you were to touch my arm or something." I explained to her. Thankfully my mom pulled up right then and I jumped up from my seat and grabbed my bag. "Have a good break." I told the girl.
"Thanks. Sorry if that was awkward or rude." She apologized.
"Oh, no worries. I'm used to it. Besides, you weren't rude or anything about it. You were curious, that's all. I actually like it when people ask questions about my scar, that way I can raise awarness about heart defects." I explained to her.
"That's a good way to look at it." She said with a smile. I nodded and said bye once more before climbing into the car where I told my mom about how the 15 year old girl asked to touch my scar. She thought it was a bit odd and funny aswell.
"It's odd Becca, how many people you have had comment or ask questions about your scar in just two weeks or so." My mom pointed out to me later that night.
"Yea, I wonder why it is." I commented.
"You should put on your blog a 'Scar Comment' sidebar, keeping count of the number of comments you've had and what they are." My mom suggested. And with that, I crawled in bed and slept silently.
While the events were a bit awkward and some parts of them were not very sensative, these comments didn't leave me feeling mad, hurt and completely uncomftorable in my own skin.
I posted on my Facebook status that my camp friends and I should buy shirts that say 'No You Can Not Touch!' It would be funny to see if people understand what we are talking about.
Anymore Comments? Lol,