Last night I watched with interest the Miss South Africa 2012 pageant on TV. Over the years, the pageant’s popularity has outwardly waned and it is not as widely publicised as it used to be. I still think the whole affair is good entertainment though, and moreover, the South African beauty contestants are not the stereotypical “airheads” as is sometimes expected.
Perhaps I’m a little bias; after all, I can explicitly recall parading around my garden in my swimsuit at the age of 12 under the pretence that I was a contestant in Miss SA. I also had high hopes of being a successful model with my face plastered on the cover of every glamorous fashion and lifestyle magazine. Unfortunately that hope was severely shattered by the realisation that models do not have scars – nevermind facial scars at that!
I actually have many scars – eight to be precise, and three of which are on my face. Back then my scars were something I felt self-conscious about. They were also the obstacle standing in the way of my dream to be a beauty queen and model. Today, I view them differently: they are a testimony to a life well lived.
The two worst scars, on my face and on my upper right arm, were caused by the same knife accident when I was only five years of age. Amazingly, had the cut on my arm been 1mm deeper, I would’ve lost my arm. Two other scars are visible on my left leg where incisions were made for the insertion of a metal pin in my upper femur. This was due to a complicated fracture which can often leave people with a leg that is slightly shorter than its partner. Luckily in my case, both legs are still the same length and I have only lost a little flexibility in my leg. The same can be said for the small scar on my upper lip that was the result of a bull terrier’s bite. The dog fortunately let go and barring a few stitches, I escaped fairly unscathed and without too much trauma.
Hence, as the scar tissue fades over the years, so has my embarrassment. I have a new found appreciation for the scars that I once hid behind clothing and make-up. They add to my individuality and more importantly, they are evidence of just how fortunate and blessed I really am!
I believe that every person has scars – whether physical or emotional. Our scars are life experiences that have contributed to the person we are right now. They do not make us less beautiful and they do not make us less worthy. Quite the contraire! They add to our unique value. Remember this, even though our life experiences can often alter our course, in the wise words of Ernest Hemingway: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”.