By Mary Sturgill

As I was getting a facial the other night, I lay there thinking about my skin—more specifically, my face. Growing up, I had a scar that was about an inch long on my cheek. I had it since I was a baby; apparently, I had scratched myself. For as long as I can remember, that scar was there. During my preteen and teen years, when I looked at myself in the mirror, that ugly scar and my crooked teeth were the only things I saw. I felt ugly, marked.

But as I lay there, I suddenly realized that scar has been gone for years. I am not sure when I stopped seeing it.

I wondered: Did I stop seeing it and then it disappeared, or did it disappear first?

So much of my life and how I saw myself was marked by that scar. But at some point, it stopped being my focal point, and I stopped seeing it when I looked in the mirror. I don’t know if it was my late twenties or early thirties when it happened.

As I lay there reflecting on this imperfection, I realized that I stopped seeing this flaw when I started to discover that I am truly so much more than this physical form I inhabit everyday.

We are all so much more than our physical form. Yet, when people greet you, probably the first thing out of their mouth is a comment about how good you look. I will say it again, how good you “look.”  Not a word about the beauty you cannot see, that comes from a beautiful soul. Is that because we’ve been programmed to say it that way, or is it because we are a superficial nation? A little of both, I think.

I remember being upset when I first started teaching. It was the end of my first year, and we had a big meeting. As the principal went around the room talking about our accomplishments for the year, he got to me and said, “And we have the prettiest tennis coach in the conference.” My mouth dropped. I was SO disappointed. That is not an accomplishment. Looks are dumb luck known as genetics. I have absolutely nothing to do with them except the fact I was born. The accomplishment that year was that my students had the best writing test scores of all tenth graders in the district. Why didn’t he mention THAT?

Many people complimented me through the years, but I did not appreciate the compliments because I did not see myself that way and just wrote it off as them being nice, not as them being honest. But at some point, I stopped seeing that scar that had so defined me my entire life. I think that is when I found my inner strength and began to change the direction of my life. I think that is when I realized that I have a beautiful soul that tries to love everyone. I think that is when I realized that the only person who holds me back is myself. I think that is when I realized that I need to live my life, not just exist in it. I do think that most of us choose to just exist, to just make it through the day. Admittedly, I have those days too, but at the root of my being is the desire to take life and ride it for what it is—not to necessarily control it.

Oftentimes, we don’t have control, but we can choose to react in a positive way to what life throws at us—to embrace the difficulties, to embrace the heartache, to embrace everything we face and learn and grow from it. I think that is when I began to appreciate what I have, whom I am becoming, and this beautiful world we live in. That is also when I realized that if there is something I don’t like about my life, I have the power to change it.

When I found that inner strength and began to come to these realizations and when I began to study myself and get to know myself, that’s when I stopped letting that one-inch scar define me, and that’s when I think it disappeared.

Mary Sturgill is a news anchor for KBMT in Beaumont, TX and has received numerous awards including Best Newscast and Best Hard Feature Report from the Idaho Press Club and Best Investigative Report from the Society of Professional Journalists. Although she often has to tell viewers about the horrible events of the day, she tries to live her life in a positive way. To that end, several months ago, she started writing about things that happen to her or make her think and that she believes other people can relate to. To learn more about Mary, follow her on Twitter or friend her on Facebook.

*Photo by .imelda.