The thing I learned early about scars is that some never fade.
I’m one of those people with scar prone skin. I also have sensitive skin and a tendency to not leave things well alone, so my whole body is covered in scars. I’m not even kidding. If you counted every single blemish, they’d likely number in the hundreds.
If I was waxing poetic I would say they are a road map to my life, each spot a monument to some time when the figurative hard knocks of life crossed into the realm of the literal, leaving a reminder that shit will happen and there’s not a fucking thing I can do about it.
But really they’re just scars. Black, brown or white and shiny blemishes on my skin which remind me of every mosquito bite, every fall, every beating, every iron burn, knife cut, boarding school trunk accident, hot water spill, scratch, surgery, bite, fight, adult acne break out, skin infection that I have ever had, with the promise of more to come, a morbid documentation of my fragility. After all anyone of those wounds could have been fatal.
I did, after all, grow up in Cameroon.
And they never fade.
They never fade.
I’ve tried it all. Creams, pomades, treatments, vitamins, scrubs. Serums, oils, peels, washes. The appearance of some diminished somewhat but I can still see the line formed by the hot coals that fell on my lap from the iron. I should have known better than try to iron my birthday dress myself. My mother made me wear a horrendous track suit to school. The one day I got to not wear the school uniform, I wore a track suit. I was crushed. I was 5 years old.
I remember the taunts. Form 2 and 3 in Saker were hard times.
The girls at the tailoring shop. The one who couldn’t contain her dismay.
“Mamamiye, na weti chop me this pikin e foot them so?”
Blurted out in that genuinely harmless but still tactless way us Cameroonians have about us.
The guy friend who apologized to me after loudly complimenting some random girl’s legs.
Bless your heart.
I’ve learned to live with them. Make peace with them as best as I can. I don’t find always beauty in them although some days I trace the lines and jagged edges and chuckle, wishing I had that minimum of fucks to give that would let me just forget they’re there or do something radical like turn them into tattoos, a random pattern unique to me. I’m still self conscious about them. I still wince when I wear a mini skirt (but I will wear the hell out of that mini skirt). I still wish I had smooth blemish free skin. I still wonder what my partners think. I still linger in skin care sections longer than I need to and will read up on the latest skin care fads.
And I tell myself it’s ok. I’ve made it this far with them. And the show must go on, I guess.