Dear Baby Girl: Love Is Worth The Scar Tissue

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“I’ve got love, got confidence you’ll rise above” 

When scar tissue forms over traumatized portions of our body, it breeds a stronger layer than the skin that was there before. Why then are we so afraid of exposure to pain? 

As my clothes fell to the floor this morning, I stared at all the nooks and crannies of my body where the scar tissue was so apparent and I asked myself the same question — why am I so afraid? 

The stronger layer of skin would be invisible to anyone else’s eye, but lately it’s all I feel. Tougher, rougher, and yet still receptive to Lubriderm’s Body Moisturizer. Durable, able, and beautiful, every single inch. 

Some days it feels like loving myself is born by way of accepting all the inches of my five-foot-two body that are covered in scar tissue. Other days I am stubbornly protective of the 3 x 5 inches of surface area right by my heart that escaped untouched, as if they are the only inches worthy of my appreciation, worthy of other’s love. 

Of those two experiences, I know which one is worthy of celebration, and yet, I still huddle over endlessly trying to figure out how to protect those 3 x 5 inches from harm’s way. 

I placed my hand along my stomach and noticed the faint, discolored line that runs down vertically from under my belly button for a few inches until it’s crossed by two faint horizontal lines. As a kid my mom would tell me that the lines symbolized my likelihood of having twins when older. I was a twin and my mom was a spiritual creature who believed her own myths versus the assumption that twins skipped generations. 

My fingertip ran over the line that contrasted against my fair skin. So many of the lines, scars, and crevices of my body tell stories of my spirit, my soul, and my heart - why then am I so afraid of gaining more through battles of love? 

The memory of my mom talking to me as a child about the possibility of twins as an adult was met with thoughts of my own future baby girl. She would carry her own set of born-with marks and world-given scars, how would I want her to navigate being the owner of the 3x5 inches of heart that had survived? 

I would want her to risk it for the possibility of gaining more battle wounds to be proud of, maybe her own baby girl one day, a partner who himself (or herself) stood at 5 to 6 foot something of scar tissue and smiles. 

We protect the parts of our heart that survive untouched like they are the real trophies to hold up above the crowd, but what does it say about us that we didn’t think to risk that corner of ourselves too? I want to risk. I want to love well and if loving well means that my body becomes an ever-evolving map of the places I’ve been, hearts I’ve touched, and moments of hurt I’ve survived, then so be it. 

We’re privileged to have the chance to pick our own partners and to map out our own futures, I don’t want to squander the opportunity by stripping down in front of bathroom mirrors and staring longingly at the 3x5 inches of my heart that survived and that I’m seemingly unwilling to expose. 

Everything we want tends to be on the other side of bravery. We leap not because we know what will be on the other side, but because we know what doesn’t exist on this side. There’s emptiness where you want fulfillment. There are your own hands where you want someone else’s. There’s 3x5 inches of empty heart where you want 3x5 inches of a loving story. 

I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to look into the brown eyes of a baby girl and say: 

You come from a long history of female warriors who understood scar tissue in the context of love and their own existence in relation to that of the greater good. Every generation that came before you made it possible for you to love openly and eagerly because each generation gifted you a safe space to rest your head during those moments that exist between open wound and healed tissue. It’s the 3x5 inches of heart that were sewn together by all of our own wounds and that you inherited the moment you were born. Like the faint lines on my stomach, the ones that spoke to me of you before you were even a dream on my heart, that sewn heart speaks to you of survival by way of living. Stories by way of love. 

I snap out of my trance and step under the showerhead. The warm water washes away my sins, their sins, my fears, their’s. It takes one hard second and one good look at the strength found in scar tissue to know that love is worth it all.