When princess Eugenie, one of the lesser British royals, got married last week, the media almost went into collective hysterics over the fact that her wedding dress was cut to reveal the scoliosis scar that runs along her spine. The princess was hailed as brave, courageous and an inspiration to young women for daring to show her scar to the world.
I admit, I too was taken in by the gesture, which I believe was heartfelt and genuine, but may I point out, that she’s not the first bride to show off her scars. I got there before her!
Ok, so my wedding wasn’t broadcast on TV and I didn’t have hundreds of guests in attendance, but my wedding dress was also cut low in the back, revealing part of the scar that runs from in between my shoulder blades to the front of my ribcage. Alas, no one called me brave or courageous, and as a 38-year old bride with a 2 ½-year-old daughter and ten weeks pregnant with my second child, I was certainly not anyone’s inspiration, and thank goodness for that.
No, no, I am absolutely not dissing princess Eugenie; as I said, I appreciated her gesture even though I wouldn’t call it brave. That’s because scars have been part of my life since the day I was born and had my first operation. Scars, in my world, are perfectly normal, and I don’t think I ever felt particularly self-conscious about them, least of all the long one on my back. It never stopped me from wearing bikinis or low-cut dresses and tops, although there has been the odd sales lady reacting when I’ve tried on party dresses in shops.
And because I find scars to be perfectly normal, I did feel a twinge of sadness that the princess’ choice of dress proved such a sensation only for what it revealed about the bride’s body.
One of the things I love about scars, in general, is that each one of them tells a story. Princess Eugenie’s scar tells the story of her childhood battle with scoliosis; my scar on the back is the result of an operation on the day I was born to repair my oesophagus, a story I’ve blogged about previously. Each one of my scars, some visible, others less so, tells an important story of my life and, therefore, I’d never dream of covering them up.
Speaking of scars; as we’re moving closer to Halloween, the day when children and teens love to dress up in scary outfits and go trick or treating, I’m imploring any parents reading this, to think twice before helping your child stick fake scars on their face. Scars are not scary, scars are not ugly, and scars are definitely not evil. By all means, go all out with the blood and gore, but please be mindful of people who live with real scars, many of which tell a story that holds both trauma and pain. To these people, scars are no joke.
_ _ _
It’s my children’s half-term holiday next week and we’re leaving town for a few days, which means I won’t be posting a blog next Thursday. I hope to see you back here in two weeks’ time.
Love that photo!