Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I have a tiny scar on my left knee. No one else has ever noticed it or pointed it out. But I know it’s there.

We used to live on a street with a deceptively steep hill. It seemed like just a slight decline from our house, but once you headed down it, you realized how steep it really was. There were lots of injuries created by that hill. My brother knocked out his two front teeth skateboarding down it. And I, not the most athletic kid ever, was roller skating and wasn’t able to stop. Now I have the aforementioned scar.

Thinking back, I’m not sure I ever went back down that hill after that traumatic fall. The memories of falling were burned into my brain and I let my fear stop me from trying again.

I recently read a quote that stuck with me: Don’t become your scars.

I thought about that phrase a lot this weekend. Saturday morning, I spoke at Camp Strong4Life, the Children’s wellness camp designed for children and their families. I shared a little bit of my story and then they asked me questions. I had no idea how that experience would affect me even several days later.

I told them that I understood how they felt. That I remembered being 12. Being made fun of and bullied. Not liking myself. Sneaking food and hiding the evidence. It’s hard enough to grow up, but when you feel like an outcast, as I suppose we all do at some point, it’s even worse.

I walked around camp for a while after I finished. I talked to parents and kids. A few of the moms asked me for advice. It hurt my heart that I don’t have all the answers. But what I did tell them was the truth: the fact they care enough about their children to spend the weekend with them, learning about nutrition and exercise was a great step. What lucky kids to be so very loved.

But I have to be honest with you all. Meeting those kids was like confronting a part of me I had forgotten. It was uncovering those scars I had kept hidden. Have I become my scars? Or have I let them become part of me.

See, I think the latter is OK. I think our scars are part of what makes us who we are. Each represents a battle fought, whether won or lost. I may have lost my battle with that hill from my childhood. But I am working to win my battle against food addiction and feelings of worthlessness.

Camp stirred up a lot of feelings for me. I think I’m still processing it. So this is a topic I’ll continue in future blogs. In the meantime, tell me. Do you think you have become your scars? Or have they become part of you?


LT said...

Love this post Erika. My scars have become a part of me. You know, scars are unique and have character. I think my scars have enabled me to have a unique approach to wellness and helping others. Being an overweight child myself, I have always had a special place in my heart for other children growing up like I did. The happiest times of my career was working with Fit Kids and TIPPS for Kids. Although it was sometimes disheartening to see children in that condition, to know that I helped them take small steps to a healthier life brought me joy beyond words. I know having to relive those memories had to be tough, but the difference you made in those families lives will be greater than the pain from that time in your life. What a blessing for them to have you!

Anonymous said...

Both, ouch, both.

I am a giant walking scar.

You're amazing. : )

Anonymous said...

I'm proud of my scars. They remind me of how much I have overcome and remind me how strong I am now. I used to be ashamed of them and think that they made me different. Now I'm happy to share my success with others in similar situations to hopefully give them some pride in their scars. Great post!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting perspective to share. You are awesome and were so wonderful at camp!! I'm not a big fan of reading in general, but I can't read your posts fast enough. :)

Anonymous said...

Every time I read one of your posts, I am surprised by how open and honest you are. I have a huge, still fresh scar from something that happened to me last year. I can already see that I will be able to grow from it and incorporate it into my life, but right now it is still dominating me somewhat. I look forward to that subsiding and am confident that it will.

Anonymous said...

Love this post. I too have been overweight most of my life. Now I am proud to say 100 pounds down I am a scar survivor. I love life now, and I am the person I am today for them. You should be so proud of who you are today and the wonderful hope you are giving these children. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Scar tissue is a ugly ugly thing i have had hernia surgery so i can say from 1st hand!! i want someone to invent a cream you rub it on and wake up and they are gone!!!! While I keep hope alive on that one!
Great Post keep keeping on!

TeresaR said...

I have become my scar, but I'm working to defeat it. I'm overweight, your blog inpsire me to push forward. I read it faithfully. Thank you for coming to camp to speak to the kids, you gave me alot to think about.

Anonymous said...

Great post Erika...I'm so proud of you. O.k., when is the book coming out? You've got so much to share with others, ma'am! Jai