Real Women Have Scars

When I visited my daughter last month, she showed me her ankles and complained about all the bug bites that have turned into scars.  She unfortunately has quite a few on her ankles, but when I looked at them, all I could think was –

I’d rather you do things and risk scars than do nothing and look perfect

I’ve felt that way my whole life.  My mother despaired of my sister ever wearing skirts because of all the scars on her knees from falling in the gravel when she was running.  I’d look at the latest set of cuts and think, “at least you were doing something”.

My sister and I holding some kittens. I’m on the left.

Women complain about how how their bodies scar and sag after having babies.  Well ya’ know, I think that’s pretty darn normal.  It’s a sign of beauty, not something to obsess about because of Hollywood’s unrealistic expectations of how a woman should look just weeks after giving birth.

My daughter has scars on her ankles because she’s out in the yard every morning and evening taking care of her dogs.  The flies, mosquitoes, chiggers, and fire ants have all chomped her at some point.  She’s in the yard because she’s a successful and well-regarded breeder of Italian mastiffs, a business she started from scratch.  She grew it on her own, learning along the way.  It wasn’t something her Dad or I showed her how to do.  She works all day with computers and all night taking care of her big babies.

Big Red snuggling with his Momma.

When she isn’t working with the dogs, she’s taking care of the old farmhouse that she owns.  She repairs and maintains it, sometimes with her Dad’s help.  She loves puttering around her yard, putting in trees and shrubs, planting a garden, and picking apples, pears and blackberries in her own back yard.  She’s not yet needed stitches for hurting herself, thankfully, but she’s had the usual aches and bruises that comes with being active.

Taken in her from yard last month. So pretty!

I have my own scars from being a real woman.  Some have faded with time, like the scar from my C-section and the severe burn I got from oven a few years back.  The two on my face are still noticeable  (from splitting my head open as a child and from a skin infection I contracted after travelling).

I don’t have the scars she does, mostly because I haven’t done the things she has.  I’ve had a good life, but I envy that she’s had more of a life than I did.  At her age, I was establishing my career and struggling to be a full-time employee with a small child.  My scars weren’t from doing things, it was from wondering if life would always be so stressful (yes), that I’d never have time to myself (somewhat improved), and how to raise this child when I was so busy and tired all the time.  My favorite boy toy was still in the workplace and found his life as limiting as I found mine.

Of course, when I walk around looking like this, no one is going to think I’m very particular about my appearance! I’m heading into the botanical gardens and am dressed very comfortably.

The purpose of this post isn’t to talk about the scars inside of us.  It’s to remind myself and everyone else that the scars we see – the imperfections that result from living our lives – like the Velveteen Rabbit, are part of what makes us real.  Real lives, real scars.

In a world that is so fast to judge on superficial appearances, it’s no surprise that I go against the flow and find it to be much more genuine when real women have real bodies, complete with scars.  It would be nice if we could all look flawless, but that’s just not how it works, as my self-portrait above shows :)

Life Lessons Real Women

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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

29 Comments Leave a comment

    • I’m glad you liked it. It sure was important to me to say. I can see why my daughter was frustrated, but the only way to avoid scars is to do nothing.

    • Lynda – thank you so much! I’m glad we’re friends too. I’m amazed at the people I’ve met and so very much enjoyed through blogging. Friends such as yourself are my “celebrities” to follow. You know that Intel commercial – your rock stars are not our rock stars? That’s how I feel about my friends on the Internet. They’re my stars in the game of life.

  1. Love this post! Our scars are like badges demonstrating courage in the line of duty…mundane, everyday sorts of things…nothing glamorous. Congrats to your daughter for growing her own life…and you and your boy toy for loving and supporting her in her venture. :)

    • Derek – you are really right that too much emphasis is placed on the outside, especially with the teens. Somedays you probably feel like it’s an uphill battle with them, but you’re planting and watering seeds that are needed in those kids lives. It’s much easier to be perfect when you do nothing and take no risks.

  2. What a lovely post. I need to hear stuff like that every once in a while, because at last count, I had 129, plus whatever is on my back that I can’t see. I think the photos are all lovely — your daughter is beautiful; and I love that you included a photo of you — Always nice to put a face with the posts and comments! 8-)

    • Thanks Judith! I’ve posted other pictures of myself – you must have missed them. I agree with you – we all need to be reminded that our scars are part of our living a life. It’s so easy to forget and obsess on not being perfect anymore.

  3. Love this post. All hands in the air as we vote for REAL. I live in my little RV and one of the few books that made the shelf is Velveteen Rabbit. Debbie, my bff, gave it to me when I was desperately trying to find a reason to live and felt just like that beat-up stuffed rabbit. I learned that scars of all kinds are really ok, physical, emotional, psychological…whatever. I’m trying every day to be a little more real and remove the fake from my life. This is a refreshing post. Blessings to you and your sweet daughter.

    • Awww. . . what a nice comment! I love your story – thanks for sharing. I agree that we need to vote for REAL, which was why I wrote this up. It really bothers my daughter to have those scars on her ankles, but I’m so proud of the things she does and scars are part of the price.

  4. Your daughter is lovely. You must be very proud of her accomplishments. That’s a great picture of you, rested and ready to have some fun. :) Good for you.

    • Thanks Patti! I am very proud of her. She’s fearless and works hard for the things she wants. I’m glad you liked my self-portrait. It was fun trying it.

  5. You bet, real women have scars, inside and out. It is what makes us who we are. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I’m glad I’m real and I’m glad I’m strong. No regrets!

    • Darlene – You are SO right. The scars do make us real and strong. It’s too bad it takes us until this age to learn to live without regrets. I remind my daughter of that a lot and I don’t think she struggles with regret like I did / do.

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