Proof of Survival (by Julie Baun)

Julie Baun is someone who is teaching me to live life as is: messy, broken, and beautiful. She drove two complete strangers and me into downtown Chicago last November where we ate deep dish pizza and told our life stories. You can’t get much braver than that. Julie is a mother, cheerleader, and a survivor. Scars may make a warrior, but an honest heart like hers makes the world safe for the rest of us. Julie blogs at Real. Life. Truthfully.

I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar. I don’t want a scar.

But now I have two.

Two scars I absolutely hate.

Like crooked seams sewn into my once smooth and perfect skin; they look like mistakes.

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And not little scars, either. Long ones, on my collarbone and along my wrist.

{Over two months ago I was in an accident that broke my right collarbone and left wrist. Both injuries required separate surgeries; both surgeries required plates and screws.}

And up until very recently, I’ve kept both scars completely covered- partly because I just didn’t want to see them (though my wrist was covered by a cast anyway), but partly because they also sort of embarrassed me and made me feel self-conscious. They made me sad and angry. They kind of grossed me out. I was worried they would gross out other people, too.

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But all along I’ve been thinking, ‘You’re gonna have to face these scars. Uncover them. Accept them. Make peace with them. And <gag> embrace them. Because they’re not going anywhere.

And I guess it’s pretty possible (and was even unwelcomely suggested) that maybe the big bandage over my collarbone is more conspicuous than the scar itself?

So. Last weekend, I braced myself. I set out for a trip to Target. In a sundress. Scar uncovered. But my first stop was to see my best person and neighbor for her reaction.


Me: Hey! Do I look okay?

Neighbor: I love your dress! It’s adorable.

Me: That’s nice. How about my scar???  Do you love my scar? Is it adorable too?

Neighbor: Ummm. Honestly, I didn’t even really see it. IMG_6008

Me: Did it gross you out? Do you feel offended?  Do you think the people of Target will be mortified?   <irritated, blinking rapidly>

Neighbor: What? No! What do you mean? I said I didn’t even really notice it right away.

Me: Fine.   <exasperated sigh>


As it turns out, the people of Target were not offended. In fact, they didn’t really seem to care at all. Super disappointing, right?

And I realized the obvious: Nobody really cares about or notices my scars nearly as much as I do. We’re all pretty consumed with our own scars and so much of the time, we hardly notice other people’s. And I’ve realized now too, when I see someone with an obvious scar, I don’t feel grossed out at all. I feel compassion. Curiosity. Knowing and understanding there was trauma in that place, but they survived. And now there’s a scar.

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A scar is like an engraved timeline from our life story.

Tangible Proof of Survival.

Instead of seeing only an angry red crevice when I look at my scars, I want to remember how I was fully loved and supported through an extremely difficult time. I want to remember that I know how to be brave. That depression won’t last forever. That my body is actually amazing in its ability to heal and recover. It can and it will. That I can do hard things. And that some things just require time and space…but they will be okay again.

There’s a story behind every scar. Of pain. Of grief. Of courage. And of healing.

And maybe–just maybe– that’s what other people will feel when they notice mine. DSC04778

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August 9, 2015