vent sesh: the truth about scars

June 12, 2014


I have a scar on my left cheek. It’s been there since I was around 10 or 12 years old when I had a birth mark removed. From the moment I could wear any make-up until just a few months ago, I wouldn’t leave the house without covering it. What’s probably unnoticeable to you has always felt like this obvious red scar in the middle of my cheek that I didn’t want anyone to see.

Granted its faded over the years but who wants others to see their scars? To see what feels like a battle wound? Perhaps symbolic of my chunky childhood self. The person who was never the popular kid. For the people I’ve reconnected with through Facebook, you know it’s the truth. Concealing — with my favorite maximum Clinique concealer for nearly two decades — was a daily occurrence. Go to the gym or the pool without it on? Never. Try to kiss me on that cheek? Hated it. I was constantly aware.

More recently it finally hit me how silly this was, how tiny this scar was…and how it was not obvious to anyone but me. We all have scars. Some visible on our bodies — from days of playing sports, from clumsy moments, from who knows what. Others have internal scars. Some of emotional abuse, or hurt and sadness from a lost relative, a broken relationship. Those are the scars that often hurt the most and take longest to heal yet there’s no magic concealer for that. If only Clinique could, right?

Ironic that I spent so much time covering up the tiny little thing — perhaps because it’s easier to slather on concealer — when really I have my our shit.  We all do. My years of feeling inferior due to being overweight, and even weight loss caused other mental issues with food and body perceptions for a long time.  My bladder’s so badly damaged from being sick a few years ago that I have botox injected into it so I don’t pee on myself. Truth. Feeling scarred by not having those friendships since I was in kindergarten since we moved a bunch of times. Of, being from a family of divorce. I’m sure there’s more, but who cares. They’re not painful, they’re simply reminders of another time in my life. Just like the scar on my face. They’re part of me, but not who I am or what define.

Either way, most have faded and others, mostly related to my health, I push down because I can’t let them get the best of me. If you do, they win and I have way to much joy in my life to let them do that. I realized though letting a stupid little scar — now probably the size of some teenage-pimple-popping-gone-bads-size scar — get the best of me. Or at least take up even a second of my days.

It’s these scars that make us who we are. Who shape our world view, and hopefully make us stronger. That help us rise up and realize we can’t let any bad experiences, self doubt or loathing get the best of us.

Hopefully this doesn’t sound like gibberish. When you take the time every single day for 20+ years to conceal something, and then finally let that go, it’s a big moment, despite how small the scar might be now.


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  • Kimberly

    So proud of you for being vulnerable enough to share this - and, for the record, I’ve never noticed that scar. Probably because I was blinded by your beautiful smile and generous spirit. There is nothing that compares to the freedom that comes when we let go of those things that we once feared, held us back & made us insecure. Love you :)

  • Mz Savvy Style

    Wow! Thank you for sharing your heart! My daughter has huge scars on her stomach from two Crohn’s surgeries and she wears her battle scars proudly. She sees them as a sign of how strong she is, and I agree! You are beautiful and I’m so glad you found freedom in letting your scar go!

  • Kayla Wallace Gilbert

    Aww I love you Alyson! Love that you can share this kind of stuff - makes all of us love you even more.
    PS - I have bladder issues too! I had to have medicine injections for a year.. UGH!

  • ashleigh

    I have a one inch scar on my arm from a barbed wire fence fail. I hate it. Have you tried the clinique scar fading serum? Or Maderma? They work on old scars.I know you’ve decided to “let it go” but it may be easier to do if the scar were to fade away.

  • Lia ~ Smart n Snazzy

    Alyson I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me. I too have a scar on my left cheek from a birthmark I had removed when I was 12. I always felt it was so noticeable too, and would take extra care to apply more concealer to the area and blend blend blend! I think I stopped doing that a few years ago, when I pointed the scar out to my boyfriend (when I was makeup free, as I usually am when I’m home) and he said “honestly, I’ve never noticed it before.” What?! I thought. But my takeaway was that it was super-annoying to me because it reminded me of that horrible birthmark I had when I was younger (and got made fun of for, incessantly throughout elementary and junior high). Coming to that realization for me was paramount. I was trying so hard to erase who I was; I was trying to hide that part of myself. And it is silly! Thank you so much for posting this, Alyson. Let’s proudly flaunt our scars - they make us us!
    xo ~ Lia | Smart n Snazzy

  • Dianna Muscari

    Interestingly enough, earlier this week I was dwelling on my belly scars from the surgery I had at the end of last year and wishing that I could look at my {growing} belly without focusing on them. It’s true — we all have scars & most of the time we are the only ones who truly notice them, but boy can they be hard to overlook! Glad you’re saving time in your routine by embracing your scar {which I’ve never noticed, by the way!} :)

  • Kelly in the City

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Alyson! I can completely identify. I get ridiculously embarrassed when my skin breaks out from stress-so much so that I don’t even want to leave the house. Caught without foundation during these times? Never. Really helpful to hear your insight on a similar matter! (And never noticed it on you before. ;) You’re gorgeous!)


  • Lyddiegal

    I think it takes most of us our whole lives to truly accept ourselves. To not feel like we have to hide things, or feel ashamed. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where no one cared about appearances… and even stranger, to wonder if I would even want to live in such a world. A couple of things I irrationally feel the need to conceal: a chicken pock scar on my forehead and birthmarks on my left arm.

    Chic on the Cheap

  • Tove M Stakkestad

    Good for you! I think it’s important for us to show the world our true inner beauty - and by that I also mean scars, stretchmarks, and other perfect “imperfections” - like you said - they are part of you - and make you the person you are today. I am trying to embrace all of my “scars”… it takes time! 20 years is like warp-speed in healing time!


    Very honest and an important lesson for us all… how can we expect others to accept us as we are when we can’t accept ourselves? I’m trying to let a lot of things go myself and am a work in progress. I hope you have experienced some freedom from letting this go!

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