When I was eight years old, I experienced second degree burns on my upper stomach thanks to a boiling cup of water I mistakenly thought was empty. Today, I've finally acquired enough courage to embrace my scars in swimsuit season. I have long avoided showing this area of my body to the world because of shame, fear of disgust from others, and a serious lack of self-confidence. While my old self would have dodged any reason to rock a bikini around strangers, I finally realize that there are more reasons to show off my scars than to hide them.
I had no idea when I tipped that cup so many years ago that the two-to-three-inch wide blotches would affect my life in the ways they did. I've skipped out on bikinis and crop tops, declining beach and pool invitations along the way. My scars aren't as severe as those of many others, but the general consensus in our current society — and I'd argue especially for women — is that scars equate to flaws, defects, and ugliness. In reality, they are anything but.
Swimsuit season, while intimidating for most people, is a better time than any to learn as much. Ahead are 11 reasons to love your scars this summer and every season to come. Because you deserve to fully adore yourself, scars and all.
1. They Aren't "Flaws" At All
Just because a scar wasn't once there does not mean it is a flaw or blemish. I've learned to accept that my scars are hardly negatives, but just another part of me. I may not have "flawless" skin, but it's my skin.
While some people may cringe and show distaste at the scarred skin of others — especially if the person is sporting a bikini on a beach or at a pool — that doesn't mean you should feel less like yourself. Show up the haters by showing off your flaws.
2. They Can Be Memories
Whether it's a scrapped knee scar you have from that one attempt at skateboarding, or the scars you were left with after a major back surgery, every mark is a memory. They may be scary memories — they may be memories of pain — but scars prove that you moved forward regardless. Your scar may be completely visible in that swimsuit you love, but try to embrace the memory for what it's taught you.
3. And They Tell A Story
Additionally, scars can tell a story. More importantly, they can tell your story. There are women out there who openly embrace and voice the stories that their scars tell, whether they're related to a surgery they had, or they reveal their skin diseases. Scars come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, and at the end of the day, they prove that you have a tale to tell.
4. They Highlight Your Strength
Sure, you may not look as flawlessly airbrushed as the model in a an advertisement, but your scars show the adversities you have faced, and they're a reminder that you are still here today. In a skin-baring outfit like a bikini, no strength or courage can be hidden.
Like I said before, no matter how big or little the scar is, every mark is the remnant of a situation you were strong enough to move past.
5. They're Great Accessories
Are they "scars" or just a great accessories? If you ask me, my scars go with everything. For all the reasons above and below, they're part of me. So why wouldn't I wear them with confidence and poise?
I admit, scars may not be as fashionable as the latest, greatest it-girl handbag. But now that I have accepted them and love them as part of myself, my stomach blotches are a great detail to rock, even in a revealing bikini.
6. They Don't Have To Be "Fixed"
There are plenty of ways to "fix" a scar, whether through creams or even plastic surgery. But at the end of the day, scars shouldn't have to be fixed. You may have been taught that a scar takes away from your fun, colorful bikini, but in reality, it adds to the many quirks and idiosyncrasies that make you you.
7. Nor Do They Need To Be Hidden
I used to think that the best way of dealing with my scars was to cover them up and pretend like they weren't there. But I quickly realized I was stopping myself from reaching for the things I really wanted to wear, like crop tops and bikinis, just to save myself from perceived embarrassment.
Those days are long gone, because nothing — not even the most noticeable scar — should ever dictate how I express myself.
8. They Might Make You More Accepting Of Others
It's easy to think that only you understand how having scars affects your life. But the truth is, most of us have a scar or two and have experienced similar emotions. Granted, every situation is different. But having scars might just make you more accepting of other people who also have them.
Although she's seemingly flawless at all times, Kylie Jenner revealed her leg scar in 2015 and openly showed it some love. Yep, even your favorite celebrities have scars and show them off not only on beaches, but on the red carpet and A-list events.
9. They'll Teach You To Love Yourself
It may be hard to come to terms with the fact that a scar will remain on your body for a very long time, if not the rest of your life, but hating on yourself because of it is only a detriment to you and your mental health. Your scar is completely and uniquely yours, so it's another reason to love your individuality. Yes, even in a bikini.
No flaws or embarrassing blemishes here: My scars are my story and my body, and I love that they are now a part of me.
10. They Teach Confidence
There is no reason for you to feel ashamed or ugly because of a scar. If you can accept them as part of your identity, your scars might even help boost your confidence tenfold. With your head held high, your skin glowing, and your smile as wide as can be, swimsuit season will be easier than you'd ever thought it could be.
11. They Are Part Of You
Ultimately, all of these factors go back to one crucial point: Your scars make you you. They should not make you decline a pool or beach invite, they should not make you feel inferior to your peers, and they definitely shouldn't make you feel less like yourself, whether it's in a swimsuit or not.
Your scars tell your story, showcase your strength, and highlight your confidence. Swimsuit season may be intimidating (trust me, I know this), but for all of the reasons above, you've got every reason to embrace your scars during it.
So throw on that swimsuit and show off your scars. There is no better time to fall in love with your body than when over half of it is on display.