“We have blemishes and we carry scars. We are tarnished, tainted, and decorated with filth; but beneath the dust, the dirt, there lives always diamonds, and behind the cloudy night, lives always, a sea of endless stars.” — Christopher Poindexter
When I was 13, I fainted at a carnival and fell on my face. I landed on my chin and broke my jaw in 3 places, and my braces cut straight through my bottom lip. I ended up needing 8 stitches and had my jaw wired shut for 6 weeks. I was left with scars under my bottom lip that became more prominent when I smiled. I had a scar under my chin that you could see when I looked up.
So I stopped smiling and started looking at the floor. I began to hate looking at myself in the mirror and started wearing makeup to cover it up.
When I was 19, I fell in love — really fell in love — for the first time. It was a maddening, confusing, suffocating, jealous type of love. The kind of love that isn’t sustainable but consumes you so completely that you can’t plan because you can’t see past tomorrow. But the day after tomorrow comes, and reality hits you in the face. Love is love, but sometimes what love isn’t, is enough.
So I stopped loving and started giving myself to people who were emotionally unavailable. I pretended like I didn’t need to be loved the way I love. I vowed to never love anyone like that again. I settled.
When I was 25, I became a mother. My sons said introduced themselves in dramatic fashion. I felt the gamut of emotions in a single second and never ever EVER wanted to bury a child again. My C-section scar is still thick, and it tingles from time to time. I often trace my fingers over the stretch marks left on my skin.
So I stopped wanting to have more children, and vowed to give all of my love to this miracle little boy.
When I turned 30, the man I loved broke my heart in a way I had never before experienced. I loved him so completely, and he simply… did not. I was bruised and heartbroken. I was beyond my wit’s end and tired my heart’s capacity but still had so much love. The kind of love with so much promise and so much disappointment.
But something else also happened at 30. I became comfortable with myself. For the first time ever, my skin felt good… like warm sheets out of the dryer and freshly shaved legs. Like, a good stretch on a sunny Sunday morning, except I started feeling like that everyday. “No,” became easier to say and “What do you want?” stopped being such a scary question.
I started walking down the street with a little extra pep in my step and swing in my hips. I stood at five foot three, but I felt seven feet tall. I thumbed all my imperfections — the scars on my chin, my stomach, my stretch marks, my wrinkles, my heart. I examined them closely, and decided to love me anyway.
So I stopped putting myself down and stopped letting mirrors lie to me. I stopped making excuses for other people and stopped building the walls I put around me. I stopped ignoring my own feelings and needs. I stopped crying.
And then I began.