When I started public speaking, I was passionate about approaching schools to talk but was turned down because scars were “too heavy and scary”. This seemed ironic given the fact that 13/15 of my surgeries happened when I was a child. There is no “too young” when it comes to these conversations because this IS the reality for some kids and whilst those kids may not be yours. They will be someone else’s.
I do go into schools now. Mainly because the importance of body positivity is being seen. And when I do, I tell them about one story when I was on a swing. I was in Year 5 and my top had blown up with the wind. A little girl around the age of 5 pointed at my stomach and asked “mummy, what’s on her tummy?”. Her mum turned to her and said “do you remember Madeleine? (It’s a kids show about a French girl in boarding school) Remember how Madeleine has her appendix removed? That girl had a similar thing.” Was it the best way to have a conversation? I don’t know. But was it better than hushing her daughter and hurrying her away? 100%
So how do you have a conversation about scars with children? BY HAVING THE CONVERSATION. Do not shy away from it. Face the difficult conversations.
Being an adult now, when this happens, I join the conversation. I explain the scars myself because it makes them look at my face, not just my scar. I do it because it makes me a complete human, rather than just knowing one piece of my puzzle. So have the conversation, for the sake of every Scarred human in the world. Have the conversation because it might be them one day #ScarredNotScared
This delightful photo was part of the @love_disfigure shoot and the gem with me is Elsie! She is 5 and I’ll never forget the best hug she gave me when she said bye on the shoot. She just radiates love 💖 her mum’s account is @gemmadrysdale83 📷: @sophiemayanne