I have two scars on my right upper lateral thigh, at one point they allowed access to my hip capsule. Like every scar on my body, they have their own tale. These scars don't tell the tale of flipping over my handle bars on the mountain bike. They don't tell the tale of that one crash in that one race. These scars, they aren't like the one down the middle of my shin from falling off my bike at 12 years old, or the emotional scar I was left with after being hit by a car 1 month after that. These two tiny itty bitty scars, they remind me of my strength, not just my physical strength, but my mental and emotional strength. Every time I look down and I see my scars I'm reminded how far I've come. From the first day of pulling off those Post-Op bandages and being scared of what I might see, to holding back tears prior to my first race 1 week ago.
These scars, their tale is that of persistence. Persistence of watching myself walk in a mirror (over and over and over again) and not allowing myself to walk with a limp when I got off crutches. Persistence of never giving up when at 3 months everything hit the fan, I couldn't lie down, stand up, or sit without excruciating pain in my back and consequently my hip flared up. Persistence of building back everything I lost, and building it back better than it was before.
These scars, their tale is that of dedication. Dedication of going to the pool when I truly despised it so I could get my Range of Motion in when Chris was at work (those silly circles). Dedication of hours of PT work to gain muscle function and strength back. Dedication of daily foam rolling and stretching to keep my hip feeling "loose". Dedication to following my surgeon's protocol to a T.
These scars, they have a tale of patience. No, you can't do that yet, be patient, was something I heard way too much. Patience of not doing too much when all I wanted was to go for a 5 hour ride in the woods (still haven't done that yet). Patience of listening to both my surgeon and my PT. Patience when I was finally allowed to ride outside, but only for 1 hour. Patience for that 4 month mark when I was finally allowed to start "pushing" it. These scars, they learned patience, and gained a lot of it.
These scars, they remind me I'm not that speedy, agile, athletic (and totally emotionally unstable) 15 year old anymore. I'm no longer that 22 year old Group Fitness Instructor doing crazy fancy tricks (it's probably what killed my hips anyways) in the gym. These scars tell me I'm not 25 anymore and I can't ignore a nagging pain in my hip and think it will go away. These scars remind me I'm 32, they remind me how much I love myself, how proud I am of the strength they gave me. Of all the scars I have on my body (there's a lot...trust me), these are my favorite. They tell the story of an emotional war I had with myself for months. These scars, they tell me I'm better, more fit, and happier than I was at 15, 22, and 25.
Every time I look down and I see my scars, I smile, because these scars, they make me proud of what I went through. These scars gave me strength I didn't know I had. These scars, they showed me persistence, dedication, and patience. They allowed me to love more than I knew I could. They taught me gratefulness, be grateful for the body I was given, the activity this body allows me to do, and grateful for the team behind me. These scars remind me I'm stronger than anyone thought I was. I have scars of strength, and when I line up for my first big race of the season (7 months, 3 weeks + 1 day post-op, but who's counting anyways) in 4 days, I'll smile, because I'm lucky to have my scars of strength.