The most beautiful thing about children is that there are no filters. They say it as is, and it’s refreshing.
With kids, my hands or rather the lack of it, is a huge area of discussion - from discussing how they actually cut my hand, if I was/am in pain, to detailed discussion on the remnant palm, why is the left softer than right, why does the right hand have so many colours - there are no dearth of questions.
One of the questions that struck me was why did I did not make it look prettier - in their words ‘colour it the same’.
While I had just amputated, I hated looking at the mirror. I was ashamed, disgusted with the way I looked. I remember walking around with shawls to cover the scars and in my mind I just felt there was just too much of ugliness on display. I remember going shopping with a friend who pointed out a lovely top, and I telling her 'its sleeveless, too much for other people to handle it'.
At around the same time, I had to get a picture taken for a Government Disability Card, which required all my disabilities to be visible. This is a picture of me in shorts ensuring all limbs were visible. I remember being so hurt that day. I was angry, ashamed of that picture and I felt like my very dignity was destroyed. For the longest times when I passed through airport security I would put that card face down – I did not have it in me to look at it.
I'm not sure when I made that transition – was it was a moment or a phase? I today do not care what someone else thinks. I've figured it is someone else's problem if they cannot look at my scars.
I wear what I want, go where I am and no longer bother with the stares – I tell myself I’m a movie star(except I don’t have the money!)
Today I flash that Disability card with a lot more of confidence and aplomb...it’s no longer face down.
And to finally answer question on why I did not make my scars look prettier is just this – I am actually proud of them!
I've just read the english translation of "Ponniyin Selvan", which is a story based during the Chola rule. The extremely descriptive book, speaks a lot of the strength and valour of the men during that era. Vijayalaya Chola was matchless in his fame. He had received 96 battle scars. The later poets sang 'the king who got twice three number above ninety scars and he who wore ninety six injuries like ornaments on his body"
It got me thinking...
I'm wearing my scars as proudly as Vijayalaya Chola did, as they are a testimony of my battles both physical and mental. They are a reminder of my journey and what it took out of me to accept this and finally be proud of the person I became - the lack of limbs a minor impediment.
And even more interesting is that all of us have scars - some physical that you can see and most metaphorical. I do not think there is a single person on this earth that doesn’t have one. Some of these scars take us to our childhood where these scars stood for being fearless and taking risks or just plain happiness or stupidity. And some scars take us to darker places.
But if all of us could just accept and be proud of our scars because they stand for our journeys and triumphs mostly – the world would be a less darker place.
They teach us that the wounds always heal, though the scars stay.
And with time these scars just get lighter and sometimes accidentally when we run our eyes or hands over them they remind you of all the emotions that caused them, but most importantly I hope you can remember that you triumphed over them.