Battle Scars

I don’t watch the news. Too much negative stuff I don’t want to fill my head with. I figure, if it’s important, I’ll find out. And I always do. But I must confess I’m still in shock. The headline that flashed up as I logged on certainly got my attention. Angelina Jolie announcing she’s had a preventative double mastectomy. And I’m still processing it. That woman we’ve all admired for her humanitarian concerns. Okay, maybe not just for those. Let’s face it. She’s gorgeous. With an amazing physique. And those awesome curves.

And she sacrificed it all to make sure she’d still be here for her kids. Knowing that she carried the gene. Not a guarantee that she’d get cancer. But certainly a strong risk. She lost her own mother to breast cancer a few years back. I don’t know if I’d have made that decision. I could never know until I’d walked in her shoes. But what I do know is that it takes incredible courage, to do something like that, doesn’t it. Amputate perfectly healthy and beautiful breasts, part of her livelihood I would guess, because of the risk.

She now carries some of the same scars I do, emotionally and physically, no doubt. And it’s sobering to realise we now have something in common. But as I see it we get to choose whether to look at our scars with horror or with love. Because those scars can either remind us of our darkest days or reflect back to us our victory. Our courage. Our love for ourselves, for those around us and for life that helps us to make such difficult decisions. It was Byron Katie who helped me see how a mastectomy can be one of the greatest acts of self-love. And it’s an incredible reframe.

A wise friend once said to me he’d rather be scarred than a perfect corpse.  For him it was a sign that he’d really lived. Not just existed in a protective bubble. But really lived. Experiencing life in all it’s colours. Because our scars tell the stories of our lives, don’t they, and our stories hold such riches. And I’m told soldiers often proudly displayed their battle scars. For them, a mark of honour. Because a scar was a sign of the courage and strength they had shown in the face of adversity…

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