Every scar tells a story

I know it hasn’t been that long since I last posted, but sharing my musings on scars has been on my heart this week (no pun intended). There are a number of different reasons for this.

For one, it is the national awareness week for Heart Kids NZ, a charity which has supported me both physically and emotionally over the years, and without whom I would not be the person I am today. Heart Kids support both little and big heart kids every step of the way through out each heart journey. I am quite home-sick this week, as it’s the first time in years that I’m not helping out at awareness week and getting stuck into the events! If you’re in NZ, and see the Heart Kids team around please go and give them love! And for everyone else head to http://www.heartkids.co.nz to check out this years awesome campaign (and please donate if you can!)

Another reason for this post is that I’ve had multiple conversations recently about feeling self-conscious about scars and ways to hide them. Lastly, a friend who I have been close to for numerous years deleted me off Facebook for my “inappropriate profile picture,” where I am showing my heart scar.

In case any of you missed the picture it is here:

I shared it as part of the #havealittleheart campaign currently running as a part of the Heart Kids NZ awareness week. I did not intend for the picture to offend anyone, and thought I am actually quite covered. If you ask me, this picture certainly creates awareness, and most people I know have supported me and left me lovely comments.

But there are always those few people who feel the need to put you down.
To be honest, the scars that arise from hurt stemming from nasty/judgemental comments, are often far worse than the physical scars.

When my whangai sister Rainer asked to take these photos, I was hesitant and quite self-conscious. I know many of my heart friends feel the same way – we know our conditions are a part of who we are, but we try to cover them as much as possible, whether that be to stop people asking questions, or because we think they are ugly. I remember both Elliot and my bestie Sammy saying that the pictures would be good, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of my scars. The raw images Rainer captured that day really show how much my body has been through, as many different doctors have tirelessly tried to fix it. And I thank those doctors, as even when things have gone wrong, they have always given their all to help me get better.

It took a lot of courage to have those photos taken of me, and it is certainly something I wouldn’t ordinarily do. I stand by my point, though, if it helps raise awareness for the charity that has offered me so much support, or gives confidence to other people with scars which they feel are ugly, I’d do it again.

When these images first came out, my high school best friend sent me texts explaining his thoughts about the ‘inappropriateness.’ For context, my friend is a religious Christian, who wholeheartedly believes I am not fulfilling the level of righteousness that God expects of us. He thinks that Christians should not show that much of their body, and implied the picture was provocative. And he is not the only person to have opinions on my health and faith – I cannot count on my hands the number of my Christian friends who have told me “if I had more faith I’d be healed” or “just pray and it’ll go away.”

These friends are not always consciously attacking me, although sometimes the hurt coming from these comments makes it seem like that. And as a follower of Christ myself, I apologize to all of you with illness/scars who have ever been put down/belittled because of your illness.

I think I will stop there, as I do not want to sound bitter, or direct this post at any one in particular.

If anyone want to discuss this further that’s totally cool – I’m always up for a discussion – especially when I can give my testimony of why I am still a Christian and I still stand firm in my faith, regardless of my chronic illness.

I merely want to tell you all that scars are beautiful. Scars tell a story of where we have been. They are constant reminders of our courage, and a reminder not to give up when the going gets tough.

“Scars are a symbol of where we have been, they do not dictate where we are going” – Unknown

Until next time,

Keira xo

photo credit to Rach Walker and Rainer Evans

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