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Scars are badges of honor

by Meghann on August 3, 2012

A couple of weeks ago Derek and I were on the couch watching tv. He was sitting up and I way laying across the couch with my legs resting on his lap. During one of the commercial breaks, he gently asks,”What happened to your knees?”

I looked down, but saw nothing out of the ordinary – they were the same busted-knees I’ve come to know as my own. There were no recent scrapes or bruises, just scars from life come and gone. I looked at him and said “life happened.”

Truth be told, I’ve never given my knees or legs much thought. They’re scarred on the outside, but they’re strong and healthy on the inside. They’ve seen me through seven marathons, a half ironman, and countless hours of training in between. They haven’t let me down yet (knock on wood), even though I’m sure I’ve put them through hell and back.

And, trust me, I’ve put them through hell.

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There are the holes on either side of my shin from when I broke my leg as a kid.

A deep scar from a collision with another cyclist last summer.

And plenty of surface scars from the many falls I’ve taken over the years (especially during runs).

A long time ago I knew a girl who didn’t like to wear shorts, dresses, or show her legs. She had a few warts removed as a kid that left tiny scars that made her feel a bit self-concious. She showed me the scars one day, then I looked down to survey my own scars, which in my head were larger and a bit more obvious. The idea of covering my scars never even occurred to me until that point. Was I supposed to care? Was I supposed to cover my legs so strangers couldn’t see my scars?

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I’ve only had a handful of people ask me about any of the scars (specifically the holes in my leg), and when they did, I was happy to tell the story of how they came to be. Pants and jeans have never been my thing – shorts, dresses, and skirts are always my go-to choices for comfort. And, the more I think about it, the more I know there really is no need to hide them.

My scars are my badge of honor. They’re my proof that when I get knocked down, I will rise again. It won’t be the first time I’ve fallen and it won’t be my last. Why would I want to cover up that?

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So, yes, “life happened” to my knees. And I wouldn’t wish that away for a second.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sana August 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Lol Derek finally noticed your knees after all these years? I guess he was distracted ;)
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2 Krissy @ Shiawase Life August 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I’ve still got my scars from this fall in February!

https://shiawaselife.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/warrior-wednesday/
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..The Plan for Marathon #4…and #5 (?!)

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3 Kashi @ Cape Island Runners August 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I am also a fan of scars – they all have stories and usually tell of a life well lived (or a life fought for, as can be the case with people who have scars from medical issues). I don’t have too many, but I fondly look at the ones I do :) I also like to hear about the stories of others.
Kashi @ Cape Island Runners recently posted..Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan – Fall Marathon Training

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4 Anna August 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

My legs look very similar to yours!.I love all my scars and are sad that some of my softball ones have faded away. I love showing them off. I always love showing how tough I’ve been and telling people how I got them. I never shy away from shorts, skirts or dresses. I agree they are badges of honor and I’m pride of mine!

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5 Shannon August 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Hey meghann, I just clicked on the link to your broken leg story and I had the same kinda of cast when I was 3 years old. I fell off a swing and broke my right femur and had a full body cast! My mom made velcro underwear for me to wear over the cast. I don’t remember as much since i was so young but my parents tell me that it was a tough time! And here I am 23 years later and I am have run a marathon, 5 half marathons and 6 triathlons!
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6 Carly August 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I am super proud of my scars. Really, it’s more like one knee that gets all the abuse. First I tore my ACL, and the surgery left me with a line of scar tissue and two little dots of scar tissue on my knee (if they’d just cut horizontally for the hell of it I’d have a smiley face).

Then about a year ago I fell on the same knee and scraped the crap out of it…so now my smiley face looks a bit like Gorbachev.
Carly recently posted..Roamz Gives You ‘Social Goggles for the Real World’

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7 Laura @ sweatingforit August 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

My legs are scarred from childhood softball games, a couple of epic running falls, getting hit by a car while running, and a Muddy Buddy race. They are just part of who I am and I’ve never worried about them.
Laura @ sweatingforit recently posted..The Dairy Queen

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8 Cait @ Cait Strides August 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm

This is interesting. I never thought to cover up my bruises and scars either. I’m proud of my legs. Like you said, they’re strong, even if they are a bit black and blue!
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9 Ali @SeeAliEatSeeAliRun August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I slipped on black ice last year while running and I tore the cartilage in my hip, requiring major surgery. I’m about 5 months post-op right now and I absolutely hate the way my scars look. The surgeon told me you wouldn’t be able to see them, but the tear was in a different location than they thought and required two ports-so now I’m stuck with visible scars. I’m sure I’ll get used to them, but right now I don’t like the reminder.
Ali @SeeAliEatSeeAliRun recently posted..Pay less for compression

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10 Gabby (Quest for Delicious) August 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Scars always give you stories to tell!
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11 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut August 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Ehh, battle wounds are pretty badass. :) I have two scars: One on my shin from a ridiculous drinking accident in college and one from slicing open my finger from an attempt to cut up a huge spaghetti squash! Ouuuuch.
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12 Lindsay @ prettylittleparadise August 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

i LOVE this post! i think i have gotten more scars as an adult than as a kid/teen who played lots of sports growing up! i definitely see them more as badges of honor, too, nothing to hide :)

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13 Annette @FitnessPerks August 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm

AMEN! Wear ‘em proud!

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14 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama August 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

My knees are pretty beat up too. I’ve got one big scar from a mountain biking accident (which also a reminder of an ex-boyfriend who caused the accident). Even though I’m having a little knee issue currently, I still love ‘em. Scars, bruises and all.
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15 Alyssa August 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I have scars from a surgery I’ve had to get, and then had to have redone this past April. For almost two years now, I’ve had three scars on each of my lower legs; two smaller ones on the outside of my leg and one large one down the inside of my leg. Totaling six scars. I embrace them. The surgery was for compartment syndrome and I had it done so I could run and race comfortably. It’s a constant reminder to keep training well and eating well. I went through surgery to be able to compete in college athletics, why let it slip with something I can completely control!

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16 hellonheelshon August 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Great attitude. I completely relate. My knees are BUSTED up. After countless surface scarring, two minicus tears and an ACL replacement.. I get it and whole-heartedly agree. Definitely badges of honor! :)
hellonheelshon recently posted..Houston Round-Up

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17 J August 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

It’s great that you see your own scars in a positive light, but when you were describing your interaction with your friend who has scars, you come off as a bit insensitive. Some people have scars from illnesses, accidents, or other serious events. They may constantly draw the stares of strangers and questions about something they don’t want to relive. If you want to show off your (very) small scars, then good on you. Just be careful when you look down on others for not doing the same.

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18 Susan August 5, 2012 at 9:04 am

I am littered with gnarly looking surgical scars on my skin and have scar tissue on my heart and lungs that show up in scans. I’m proud of my scars in the sense that I don’t go to any lengths to hide of cover them up. But when strangers ask me about my collection of surgical scars, I don’t ever go in details about them because my surgeries were all so emotionally traumatizing. I have however just decided on my very first tattoo after years of not wanting one. Now that I have all these scars, I like the idea of having a “scar” of my own choosing :)
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