Loving My Scars. ~ Samantha Ushedo

Via Samantha Ushedoon Mar 10, 2014

scars

“What are these scars from?” she asked.

“They’re battle wounds,” I replied.

She looked at me for a long time.

“Who were you battling?”

“Myself.”

A jumble of words mixed in among dozens of inspirational quotes on a Pinterest board, but for me, the words stood out as if they were written in bold font on a neon background.

I read the quote over and over, and as I struggled to figure out why this image affected me so deeply, it suddenly hit me: the passage spoke of my complex relationship with my skin.

While I’ve spoken about my challenges with cystic acne before, I haven’t really admitted that from time to time I still experience breakouts. While I’ve talked about the incredible lessons I’ve learned from my journey to clear skin through experiments in loving kindness, I haven’t really owned up to the difficult thoughts I sometimes experience if I catch my reflection in the mirror. While I’ve thanked my body for sending me the signal that I needed to listen up and make a change, I haven’t really spoken about the aftermath of the carnage that is still present on my face even now that the severe breakouts have passed

The pits, redness and dark spots that have permanently marred my skin are a constant reminder of an incredibly dark and challenging time in my not-so-distant past. But rather than allowing that reminder to plunge me back into that dark place, I use it to reaffirm my strength.

My scars are the map of my journey to health, if you will.

And while I still have moments of despair when I look at photographs of my near-perfect skin from only a few short years ago, I remind myself of how far I’ve come and what I’ve learned about myself and my body in the process.

That girl on the street with flawless skin and not a stitch of makeup on? I may still feel the sting of jealousy when I think about how nice it must be to not obsess over how to hide the newest glaring imperfection.

How about the woman with the invisible pores who eats fried food, doesn’t exercise and sometimes washes her face—if she remembers? Sometimes I can’t help but be frustrated that I was forced to cut out gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol and caffeine in order to cleanse my system of toxins that may have been the source of my skin problem.

Or the doctor that helpfully offers (unsolicited, may I add) to prescribe me antibiotics, the birth control pill or a course of Accutane to treat my condition? I can acutely remember the nights I cried myself to sleep wishing desperately to wake up and find out that my skin woes were nothing but a horrible nightmare.

But you know what? The girl on the street may have lost a loved one to cancer and is hanging on to her emotions by a thread, the woman with the poor diet may be suffering from mental health issues that she tries to numb with food, alcohol and hours of television. And the doctor? He’s just doing his job.

If I’ve learned anything from my experiences as a nutritionist, coach and in my own battle with my skin, it’s this: just because someone looks “perfect” on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling in some other way.

Everyone responds to the stresses of life differently.

We all have crap we’re dealing with. For some of us, it presents smack dab in the middle of our face. For others, it’s less visible. Chronic pain, digestive issues, mental health challenges—the face of suffering is different for all of us. And rather than allowing our own pains to isolate us, we need to band together and support each other, not compare or judge.

By recognizing that each of us is flawed in some way, we can each be perfectly imperfect.

Rather than feel trapped by our challenges, we can choose not to let our current state define us. We can choose to empower ourselves to be the best possible version of ourselves.

When I look at my skin, beyond the pits, redness and dark spots, I see triumph.

I refuse to be ashamed of the scars that were left behind during a difficult period in my life. I will remind myself that a scar represents the end of pain. It proves that I endured and I am healed. I healed myself.

My scars will forever tell the story that I overcame life’s challenges and I survived. I was stronger than whatever tried to hurt me.

Scars show us where we’ve been, not where we’re going.

 

Relephant reads:

Oil Cleansing: How to Have Amazingly Clear & Radiant Skin.

I Caked My Bad Skin with Makeup, Until I Faced my Fears & Tried the Caveman Regimen Instead. 

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Editorial Assistant: Paige Vignola/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Image via Bhumika Bhatia on Flickr

About Samantha Ushedo

Samantha Ushedo is a game changing, truth speaking, Mean Girl busting, wellness warrior who believes that health and wellbeing begins in the mind. She helps liberate women from the mental battles they carry out against themselves so they can move toward a new freedom of thought and a new relationship with their bodies. Samantha is on a heartfelt mission to help women develop a beautiful relationship with the most important person in their life…themselves. Through her booming online community, blog, and coaching programs, Samantha is transforming the lives of women around the globe. “My mission is to help women heal by resolving old belief patterns, silencing their inner critic and giving them the tools they need create a life they simply love living”. Follow Samantha on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on her blog.

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14 Responses to “Loving My Scars. ~ Samantha Ushedo”

  1. Ashleigh Hitchcock ajhitchcock says:

    This is awesome. I'm currently healing my relationship with my skin. Thanks.

    • Samantha says:

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I wish you all the best in your health journey and that you remember to be kind to yourself and trust that your body will heal itself. xo

  2. Tara says:

    I too have a network of spots, pits, and angry red and purple marks from my ankles all the way up to my chest. I have often referred to them as my battle scars when feeling positive. When feeling frustrated I usually see myself more as the sad parrot in the pet store who rips out it's own feathers until it's a bleeding mess.

    • Samantha says:

      Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to embrace the good and bad days. You are SO much more than the marks on your skin and your battle scars tell a story of survival. Thank you for sharing Tara, xo

  3. Nadia says:

    This story hit a strong chord with me and it touched my heart! Amazing Samatha.

  4. M says:

    This has really touched a chord within me. I have suffered from acne for years and have terrible scars on my back for years more than 20 years. Last year I had a bad break out on my chin snd neck area which has left terrible black scars. I have tried every product under the sun & every beauty therapy conceivable. I refuse to take any more antibiotics but all I seem to be able to do is time limited management. I would be really grateful if you could please share any insights you have from your own experience around preventing breakouts..

  5. Kate says:

    Thank you for posting this – it is true whether the damage and scars are from a physical problem or self-harm I think. It is a sign of winning over whatever harms you.

  6. L W says:

    Sam – what a wonderful article on self acceptance. Your words really resonate with me and the many health struggles I have had in recent years. I too get caught up in looking at others and wishing for something they have, but we don't know their story, so you are so right, it isn't fair to presume we do. It is difficult to accept the cards we have been dealt, and yet I do not spend enough time practicing the self love you discuss to appreciate the positive cards I have received! So easy to get caught up in what we would like to change, instead of embracing what we love. Thanks for your insight :)

  7. David Marrocco says:

    Samantha my friend

    I recall your struggles and feelings of despair as we have had many conversations with your painful experience. I have also suffered for years back in my teenage years with a case of extreme acne that left me feeling alone day after day. Teenager’s can be so mean. You have stuck to your guns and healed yourself and for this I applaud you. Scars are the past, brightness is the future. You rock girl. I never for a moment ever thought you weren't beautiful inside and out. A babe is what you are and will always be. That smile that melts the hearts of many and a mind that is so bright that leaves many behind.
    Cheers girl and all the best and God bless you. I am richer man for knowing you.

  8. lisavanahn2013 says:

    "Scars show us where we’ve been, not where we’re going." just moved and Thank you for this beautiful work!

  9. Danielle says:

    Thank you Samantha for sharing! I have been battling the same problem for years and years but I am healing myself.

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