This post was co-written with Samantha Gluck
We all have scars. Some are small and others more prominent. Some fade and are forgotten while others persist as vivid reminders of past trauma. Everyone makes a choice how to grow and move forward in the wake of their wounds. How you choose to cope with your scars affects your quality of life and the impact you have on the world.
There are different seasons in life, and each offers opportunities for transformation and positive change. The triumphs and trials we experience can empower us as individuals, and enable us to pay it forward. Some see scars as ugly or disfiguring. But believe it or not, scars can make your inner spirit soar and become a vital partner in helping you make a difference. They can be an inspiration and lead to a positive impact on your own life and the lives of those around you.
Amy Tippins and the Live Wright Society, co-creators of the Scars R Sexy campaign, have done just that -- turned their wounds into wisdom that they share with others in empowering and positive ways. We recently had an opportunity to interview Tippins about her part in the campaign:
Photo Courtesy of Amy Tippins
Amy, tell us about scars in general. We all have things that challenge us -- that temporarily knock us off our path. How can people cope?
The word "scar" initially strikes us all as an imperfection on the body's surface brought about by an accident, surgery, or burn; and at times these experiences can alter the course of our lives.
But there are other types of scars as well -- those invisible scars on the inside of us -- scars that shape our thought processes and personalities. These emotional scars could come about as a result of bullying, rape, abusive environments, or accidents that alter our physical capabilities or motor skills.
The moment we become aware of our imperfections from society's viewpoint, those imperfections become scars.
Ironically, we can choose to make these imperfections our perfection. We decide how we deal with the negative words from society and those around us -- whether to allow them to destroy or to empower us.
By sharing our stories, we just might have the opportunity to help heal the scar of one person out there -- maybe even more. If we help one person heal from a scar, then what other amazing things are we capable of accomplishing?
Tell us a little about your liver transplant. How what was the experience like?
I got sick at age 12, right when I started puberty, but did not get properly diagnosed for five years. Prior to diagnosis, the experience was intense and challenging. My peers picked on me to the point of tears on a daily basis -- ridiculing me for my sickness.
Teachers and coaches labeled me lazy; parents did not want their children riding in the same car as me for fear their children would catch my "unknown" disease; it caused a tremendous amount of pain within my family dynamic as well. One doctor told my parents that I had nothing wrong with me -- that it was psychological. After a while, all these things begin to weigh heavily on a person. They caused me to develop a tremendous sense of doubt in my own sanity.
Once diagnosed, it took about six weeks for my medical team to find a new liver, but I was at the top of the list.
Did you have any personal struggles in coming to terms with the physical scar left by your surgery? What about any emotional scars that the experience left behind?
For a while, my physical scar left me feeling unworthy of love -- that no one would ever really want to be with me. It wasn't the new liver, but rather what my body went through. I no longer had the perfect, flat stomach, and at the time had gained 65 pounds due to the medication I took. I became known as "that girl who had the liver transplant." I thought to myself, "Who would ever want to have a relationship with someone carrying around a suitcase of drugs that might not be around in the next six months?"
The physical scar represented all the turmoil going on inside of me. I since lost the extra weight and never had a problem wearing a swimsuit that showed my scar, but I think that was more a reflection of my desire to get the inner turmoil out of me so I could finally heal.
What are your reflections regarding your experience?
I would not wish my childhood and teenage years, or the transplant, on anyone. I honestly am not sure how I survived it mentally, but I wouldn't take a moment of it back either. For better or worse, the universe chose to give me a little more time. When I look back on every moment, it takes my breath away as I notice all the sweet blessings that are interwoven in my experience. I would choose it 1,000 times over again for everything that has come from it.
What kind of feedback do you get from others who've gone through similar circumstances?
I receive simple, but powerful feedback. People send me emails saying things like: "Thank you. I felt like the only person who is dealing with this." "Your campaign is making me think about my own scars and that is helping me to heal." "This is the year of my liberation from my binding scars."
How are you going to use social media to raise awareness for your Scars R Sexy campaign?
People will share their scar stories via various social media platforms throughout the duration of the Scars R Sexy campaign -- to help them heal their scars and their hearts. We're already starting to see people telling their stories on our Facebook page and their own pages.
Celebrities are getting involved by talking about it on their own social media platforms. We'll ask people to share their stories via YouTube and Twitter. Strangers helping strangers through social media, virtual love, and the Scars R Sexy fundraising campaign. It's what we're put on the earth for, right?
Rock your scar. Pay it forward.
Authors' note: This video gives the reader further perspective on why Amy's story is resonating. WATCH:
To find out more information about the amazing Scars R Sexy campaign, follow its Facebook page. To connect with Amy Tippins, follow her on Linkedin.
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