I grew up "the fat kid".
Looking back, I wasn't fat. Not by a long shot. But the two girls in my neighborhood were underweight so I was the fat girl, by default. With that title, days in elementary and middle school were filled with insecurities and daily thoughts that no one liked me because I was fat. I was an easy target for others when the tears flowed easily and I missed a lot of school because of those insecurities.
*Let me clarify that, not for one moment, do I blame my parents for my insecurities. My peers created them and I fed them. They are mine to own and mine to conquer.*
When I entered high school I decided, once and for all, the fat girl was NOT going to exist. She was going to disappear for good. Instead, people were going to meet an outgoing, funny girl who didn't care about appearances. I was going to be friendly with everyone and never give anyone a reason to dislike me. In four years, I perfected that personality. So much so that when I was talking with a high school friend after the cheek gash incident that I was feeling insecure, they couldn't believe that vanity was my biggest issue. I had learned to hide it from even the closest of friends.
And then I entered college. And drank beer. And ate food at 2AM. And spent a summer in Alaska eating everything I could as an emotional reaction to heartbreak and change. And I became the fat girl. Again. Only this time, when I look back, I really was fat and there was no excuse or chance to hide behind humor. I was fat. Luckily, I had friends who didn't care. They loved me despite of the weight. But I never loved me. With time, I dropped most of the weight and when I left college, I felt ok about myself. Yes, I always thought I could lose more weight but honestly, I don't know a time when I haven't had that thought.
Enter a man who loved me for me. Enter a man who showed me how to shine with confidence. Enter a man who taught me to surround myself with good people who made me better. I may never have truly learned to love myself but with Eric's love, I have learned how to feel confidence in myself and put old insecurities in the past. I love working out now and feeling good about my body. I love that I'm working on it and Eric is fully behind my choices to be healthy. I may still want to lose those extra 10 lbs but I have learned to love me, despite the body image issues that flare up.
So, imagine my surprise when all those old insecurities rose to the surface on the heels of Friday's accident. One 3 inch gash to the face and I was instantly transported to the 12 year old fat girl. I was instantly transported to the days of hoping others wouldn't see my physical flaws because they wouldn't gauge me worthy of their friendship. And I was instantly transported to the days when I hated myself.
It's been a rough couple of days and not because of any physical pain. Having to explain the story over and over again and have people stare has not been easy for a girl who hates physical scrutiny. I hated growing big during pregnancy because I equated it with "fat girl". If I had known it would be my only pregnancy, I would have embraced it differently.
I know the injury could have been worse and don't think for a minute that I don't thank God for watching over me.
The scar will heal. I'll do my best to manage it and make sure I have done my part to keep the scar to a minimum. Just like I have done all these years to keep my "fat girl" scars to a minimum. It's time to love my fat girl self so she can heal, too. Without her, I wouldn't be who I am.
All scars tell a story. Be them emotional or physical. We carry them with us to remind us of lessons learned.
And every single lesson is worth learning.