The past year has allowed me to become an advocate for cerebral palsy through my writing, becoming a better part of the community. What I want to talk about to kick off the new year are the scars I have received over the years from surgeries and what those scars mean to me.
At first, I was very insecure about my scars. I used to be so afraid when I wore shorts because of what others may think. I don’t really think anybody knows how I felt about myself at that time in my life. I would consider myself to be an emotional wreck. I never expressed it because I was always afraid to be the negative person, especially since I was always taught to be positive. Now that I’m older, though, I feel as if I need to express this so that I could help other people with disabilities become accepting of their scars and willing to open up and tell people their stories.
Every time I used to look at my scars, I would be ashamed of them and thought of ways to cover them up. I hated the idea of wearing shorts — if it were up to me, I would be wearing long pants all time — but since my mom dresses me, I didn’t have that option. I hated the fact every time people would look down at my legs they could see the scars I have on my hips, the one side of my leg, and on my hamstrings.
I guess you could say I was embarrassed by my own body for years when I shouldn’t have been. I should have been proud of those scars because it allows me to reflect on the long journey I’ve been on for 22 years.
So, what do my scars mean to me? Strength, courage, and pride. Those are things I never thought I would say about my scars, but I’m happy to say I’m entirely comfortable in my own skin. Now, I am more than happy to wear shorts, as every time I look down at my scars, I’m so proud of myself — the journey I’ve been on and how far I have come.
My advice for anyone struggling with a disability, or anybody who has gone through surgery, and are struggling to accept your scars: you are beautiful. Having a disability makes you more beautiful, and it makes you more unique. Remember that.
And don’t ever be ashamed of the battles you’ve won that have left you with your scars. They are your prizes, your trophies, at the end of the day. Don’t let anybody tell you different.
Tylia Flores is a 26-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world. In doing so, she hopes to help others with disabilities realize that they, too, have the potential to make their dreams come true.