Battle Scars and Beauty Marks: A Lesson in Reframing

Sometimes the most sage advice and wisdom can be found in a simple children’s show. Recently while scrolling through list of recordings on the DVR, I happened to find a delightful cartoon called “Doc McStuffins” whose star “Dottie” is a young, African-American girl who fixes up toys when they fall ill or need nurturing in her playhouse clinic. When Dottie’s stethoscope is put to use she magically “awakens” her patients enabling her to communicate with them. Now how this *magically* found it’s way into my recordings is another mystery since we’ve no small children living at home but grateful it did nonetheless!

In this particular episode, Doc McStuffins fixes up a fallen fairy whose wing gets torn on a tree branch. The afflicted fairy worries she’ll never fly again and “look fabulous” with a gash in her wing. She fears she’ll be sidelined with her “scar.” But before long the good doc assures her that she can find a way to repair her wound not with stitches but with a jazzy patch! This seems to assuage her bruised ego and boosts her sense of style. Smiling again, Frida the fairy discovers her battle scar is a beauty mark and her unique brand of fabulous. Truth be told she was never not fabulous. Sometimes we need reminders and reframing to see the full picture.

As a teen, I covered my big forehead with bangs; I was ashamed that it was a focal point that eclipsed the other features of my face. It seemed colossal and compounding it’s girth that I allowed to compromise my self worth was its square shape and it bore the brunt of all my toddler falls. I still carried battle scars from headbutting the ground fighting to maintain balance and stay vertical. So I covered this “shadow” feature shielding it from view.

One sticky summer day in my early twenties before stepping out onto the back porch to dry clothes on the line, I pulled all of my hair back including my bangs into a ponytail. I felt so “naked” and a bit nervous but somehow stepping outside coupled with a quick way to keep cool with this new look signaled the emergence of a budding new self. Slowly that weird tingly discomfort dissipated and my forehead felt less of an anomaly and more of beloved and now accepted family feature affectionately known as the *Watkins head* in all it’s geometrical glory! It’s also a testament of all my tries and fails and tries again. It’s been nearly 20+ years later and I rarely if ever wear bangs now. Serendipitous act of growth born simply out of circumstance helped expand self-awareness and increased my styling options. Maybe that tingly feeling was my wonder woman magic working? Or parts of myself “waking up” to a higher sense of self…hmm.

What I do know is when I scan the expanse of my anatomy and settle upon streams of stretchmarks and circles of cellulite, I now appreciate these details as part of my narrative especially knowing they were created in part while carrying life for 9 months. I must admit though I sit somewhere between gratitude and dashing off to the beach in a thong bikini, not quite there yet. And perhaps the 2 inch keloid  perched on my right leg from a muscle biopsy many moons ago is really waiting to morph into a butterfly; it serves as another sign that I survived childhood with a neuromuscular disease.

Sometimes self-acceptance begins with one small step. And a deep breath. And another step, some rest, a piece of chocolate, oh and reminders from fabulous fairies. Let me go see what else is on this DVR.


5 thoughts on “Battle Scars and Beauty Marks: A Lesson in Reframing

  1. GREAT piece Heather! Love the last paragraph. “Sometimes self-acceptance begins with one small step. And a deep breath…..” So very true. That path can be very lonely, long and painful, but the arrival…so worth it!

    Again, thank you for sharing so much of yourself. You truly enlighten and encourage with each piece you do, Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredibly beautiful words! My dad used to actually make me wear a helmet to keep from “messing up my face” from falls. The two by my eyebrows are proof that didn’t work. And yet, I love them. Thanks for sharing your wisdom…and I love Doc. My 5-yr-old niece has me hooked!

    Liked by 1 person

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