By: Yana Santiago, Guest Blogger
I stared at the full body mirror in front of me. I looked closely at my own reflection, which I haven't done for some time now as I am often on the move.
I was stuck at home after a tiring day at a festival. Someone who was selling skincare products told me that I was pretty, but I should get rid of all the scars on my body.
So there I was, in front of the mirror. I saw a girl with lots of scars and probably two shades darker from her original skin tone. The most significant one is on my right leg, from an accident with a three-feet porcelain vase. I can hear my mother in my head: Please take care of your body, especially your legs, your precious legs. You will never become a beauty queen with those scars! Scars are hard to remove, they may last forever.
I realized how unkempt I was, from head to foot. I had gone to more places in three months than I have ever been for the past twenty-two years. I decided to invest in living, laughing, dancing, sweating, learning, searching, and discovering the world and myself.
I survived cold showers (or no showers at all), sleeping on uncomfortable beds, bug bites, diving/river rafting wounds, lack of cleanliness, crowded buses, and conversing with strangers from different walks of life.
As I looked at each of the new “battle wounds,” I realized that every scar has its story. These stories often lead to the adventures I have chosen to take and the risks I have made. These scars have become part of me, someone I never could have expected to be. Someone who is wiser, stronger, and happier.
Scars are life's marks that we have encountered something and have gone through it. They are reminders of the zits we have obsessed over. They are reminders of the many times we fell to the ground on a camping trip. They are reminders of a life-changing tooth surgery we were too afraid to remember. They are reminders of our carelessness when we run too fast or play too hard. Scars are reminders that you can't choose what happens to you. It just happens.
Sometimes, my scars are still a tad unpleasant to look at especially when I'm wearing a lovely dress in a festival. But I have seen beyond them and they look nothing compared to the stories they tell.
We may hurt, but we always heal, and we have scars that prove it.
Yana Santiago is a wanderer and the founder of Olivia & Diego, an enterprise that supports and empowers women through fashion. She studied Clothing Technology in the University of the Philippines.