I would like to share a post I made on 12/1/2016:
I am sad that one of the most frustrating aspects of this season was dealing with comments on my facial scars. This ranged from simple comments that I have stuff on my face (mud, ink, nail polish [?!]) to advice on how to minimize scar visibility to assumptions on my healing progress based on scar appearance. My importance or ability or worth are not related to how my face appears. My recovery is not measured by how scars look. I’ve been taking this on and getting mad at myself that I am not good at responding without having an emotional reaction to the comments.
It’s my face, plain and simple.
As you all know, everything affects everything, and this affected me more than I ever expected. These awkward conversations will continue to happen and I will continue to refine my reactions to this issue.
More than a year has passed since that post. I still have awkward conversations about the scars on my face. I have constant nerve pain in my face and mouth, but the sensation and intensity varies. If the pain is intense, I have little patience for comments on my face and it is difficult to respond gracefully.
People do not mean harm when they ask if I’ve crashed or tell me I have something on my face. But the scars represent a trauma, so bringing attention to them is bringing attention to the trauma and pain.
I would love to be completely at peace with pain and scaring, but I am not. I sense folks wondering about the scars when the lighting changes. At times, I feel like scars are all people see – I don’t feel like I am seen as a whole complex, multifaceted human. This makes me think about how we treat each other.
I yearn for compassionate interactions. I wish for connections free of assumptions. It’s a lofty goal to treat everyone with compassion. Maybe we can all work towards that lofty goal?