By Monica C. Voskamp
6 years ago, I held a sharp blade in my fingers. It was a tiny orange paper cutter blade. The slice was narrow, red. The first cut into my skin was jagged; I had pulled the blade with hesitation. I can still see the skin breaking. Scared to go too deep, I pulled awkwardly, slowly on the blade. It was a horrible feeling, like I was tearing apart, ruining sacred ground. It was a legit feeling; I am sacred ground.
I cut again. I went deeper this time. It looked legit. Sadly, that satisfied me. My stomach curls tight as I remember. Slicing gently, I cut just enough for me to see it tear and expose a thin line of red.
It was May 2012. I was 28 years old and 230 pounds, struggling with anxiety, headaches and depression. I had just resigned from my dream job; I couldn’t measure up to my expectations of perfect. There was this label I saw stamped on me: FAILURE.
A sliver of a white scar on my arm remains. No one but me would notice it now; however, that scar tells a story. It’s a story of hopelessness, agony, despair, disappointment, loss, pride and self-hate. We all have scars, be it visible or invisible ones. Each scar is a reflection of a turmoil it endured.
The scar spoke of pain simmering below. I had no idea how I hated and demanded of myself. I placed my worth on what I could or couldn’t do. What I saw in the mirror was a revolving door of my value. Figuratively and literally. With weight loss or gain, I accepted or rejected myself. If I could do my career, I felt purpose and useful. When health problems prevented me from achieving successes, I lost hope. My identity seem to vaporize. My value was locked in all these fluctuating variables. No wonder my identity blurred; I based who I was on so many changing factors.
That harsh spring of 2012 was the start of an awakening. My soul’s door exposed a dark world in need of critical care. Darkness will either feed more dark or make one crave desperately for light.
Thoughts of suicide began to fade as I sought light; a seed of hope was ignited within me. The cutting stopped.
It was less than a year later, when I finally faced my unhealthy 248 pound self.
I started a journey to take ownership of myself. I now have scars telling a different story, a story of loving me. 🙂 These scars are also known as stretch marks. 😉 No, I’ve never been pregnant. My stretch marks are still warrior scars. They were a turmoil endurance of years of pain and self-abuse.
I had to face the reality of years of self-hate and embrace a life-long vow commitment to loving me. I’m still on this journey! The angry red marks which use to cover my stomach from being stretched beyond their capacity are now faded white. These scars on my sides tell a story too, a story of love. ❤
Embrace your scars, all of them. We are all warriors together in life’s battlefield. None of us are immune to pain. We’re each vulnerable to darkness. Scars help validate our humanity. When we are honest with our stories to ourselves and each other, the power of healing is released. This is when our scars become beautiful. This is where freedom begins.
“…Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” (John 8:32, MSG)