Nayyirah Waheed writes:
the wounds have changed me
I am soft with scars
breathes and beats stars
If the scars peppering my body represent a constellation of stories on my becoming, surely they’d reveal my clear, honest biography. From chicken pox to childbirth; too-rough games of backyard two-hand-touch football to mastectomy, my body is a canvas showcasing the most mundane and most life-changing experiences.
This corporeal record of my life binds me to particular communities. For example, as a hostess of many-a-Thanksgiving, I can laugh about the brand on my forearm from multiple oven rack scorchings as I annually neglect to fully open the oven before pulling out the turkey. An experience I have in common with my dear friend missing her finger tip from hasty chopping with a dull knife. We’re bound together by our less-than-serene preparation tactics in kitchens that are far too small.
But the community of scar-carriers I feel most connected to is the group of women who wear these marks boldly across their chests. Here we are victorious. We find little ways to celebrate even the most difficult parts of our journeys, like meeting new friends who provided solace, rejoicing in the perkiness of our implants, feeling overjoyed about simply being alive.
Each of us faced our mortality, either preventatively or with a breast cancer diagnosis, and is trying to find peace in our new bodies.
As we ease into our lives anew, the physical and emotional side effects of our experiences color how we function. Bravely we trudge forward despite the loss of sensation, nagging pain, relentless coldness, loss of sexual desire, tormenting fear, PTSD, self-consciousness, weight loss/gain, exhaustion, and any number of other things impacting our sense of self. Many of us suffer through this silently, and I want to change that.
I want to help with changing the way women talk about comfort, strength and resilience.
Let’s begin a conversation.
With open ears and compassion,