Friday, January 3, 2014

Growing up

Most of you that know me are well aware that I try to show my scars everyday. I like them.  They are part of me.  They aren't pretty, but they, the new me.  Those scars were there during a HUGE transformation in my life.  They will be there with me during the ups and downs for the rest of my life and I am embracing them the best way that I know how: by loving them.

It's not like I'm walking up to total strangers, pulling down my shirt or lifting up my arm while screaming, "Hey dude, check out this awesome shit!"  I totally just got a vision of the scene in Jaws where they're on the boat, drunk and comparing their battle wounds.  I wear tank-tops everywhere possible.  I made mention in previous post (here) that I've even cut tee-shirts into tank-tops so they will fully expose the scars. Seriously, some days my clothing decisions are based on if my back is exposed or not.  Unfortunately, once it gets close to laundry day I am forced to wear something that covers them...or in the rare cold day in Orange County.

I guess I am hoping that someone will ask about them.  O-kay, fine - I want people to ask about them.  In almost a year I've only been asked twice.  I was standing in line at Rite-Aid and the man behind me said "That must have hurt" and I said "Oh, it's just Melanoma and I was totally out when that happened so I didn't feel a thing".  Even when I was in that one support group, I was crying and told them that I felt stupid for crying because I was losing my mind over stage 1b Melanoma. I feel terrible for saying it.  I feel even worse for thinking it.

So, the last time I was asked I made sure to say 'it's Melanoma, the creepiest form of skin cancer because it likes to go to your organs and often doesn't ask for an invite'.  I felt good that I educated two people that day of what to look for on their skin, finger nails, eyes and mouth.  It made me feel stronger that I wasn't hiding behind humor like I normally do.  But then it also made me a little sad because I wasn't hiding...I was out in the open, acknowledging that I actually have it.  It's easy to type it, to write it, to say it over the phone - but to say to someone face to face that is curious about the gnarly scars you have is a different story.  That day I grew up a little bit.

This year I promise to not hide behind realities.

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