I have spent the days since my surgery recovering. Trying to heal from the cuts, tears, stretches, and glue they've used to try and remove something from my body that didn't belong. During that time I struggled a lot. I struggled with the fact that I am 24 and I now have a very large, Frankenstein-looking incision that covers almost half of my abdomen. I have spent a lot of time crying over the fact that I look freakish; that my body will never be the same, and that putting on a bathing suit will forever be a different experience for me now.
I spent time crying into my boyfriend's shoulder because I was afraid he wouldn't find me attractive, that my wrists were so painful and bruised that it hurt to move, and that I had this terrible looking bump above my incision that I was afraid would never go away.
A few days ago while I was carefully washing around my incision I made a decision to embrace this war wound that I had endured. I like to dabble in photography so I decided I wanted to document just how my body looked in this state: swollen, battle-scarred, and bruised. I wanted to use my experience and my ability to empower any woman who has ever felt like something they've experienced has made them less than perfect in the worlds eyes.
I did this for myself. To make sure I remembered this stage of my life when I felt like an incision, a painful incision, made me less beautiful when in fact it showed the world just how strong I could be. It took a lot of people, telling me numerous times that they thought I was so brave and so strong for me to start believing it. But I want every woman and every girl to know that the scars that this world leaves on you, whether it's on the inside or the out, are just marks that show how incredibly strong you can be.
I took this picture on my own, with tears streaming down my face because I finally realized how beautiful a scar, my scar, could be.