“You have bone cancer in your pelvis” was less foreboding than my first school dance, where a bigger girl tried “the helicopter” on me: she picked me up and spun me around her head. Though far too shy to make moves, I was a desirable sixteen year old. I had long corkscrew curls (my He-Bro), my own car (a red Chevy Cavalier straight out of Swingers), and a dresser full of single-, double-, and triple-hand-me-downs.
Then I was diagnosed with cancer and my left hip was removed, leaving me with a scar wrapping around half my waist and causing me some really uncomfortable rehab sessions at the pool. Children glared at my thick purple incision as I relearned how to walk. But by a year later, embarrassment was replaced with pride as I strolled shirtless through my University of Virginia dorm. Most hallmates looked away politely. Nobody glared.
After graduating in 2007, I strove for the elusive 8% body fat following too many Ryan Reynolds and Will Smith Netflix rentals. I quickly found that my 15-inch scar could be a tool more useful than any body fat caliber or scale. Without a hip bone, my scar region had acted as a pocket for excess skin and fat accumulation. But as I slimmed, the region regained muscular tightness and lost its curves. I was wearing my fitness success like a scar.
Summer is here. Twenty-somethings are whipping into shape and buying hot new swimsuits, bikinis, and the occasional banana hammock. Me? I have slimmed down once again to flaunt the scar that once needed 50 staples to close. Since I am short, pale, have one leg 2.5 inches longer than the other, and carry the wounds of surviving cancer twice, I am disqualified from being a lady killer. However, I advocate making the best with what you have, and changing what you can to better yourself. Unwilling to wear height lifts or track down A-Rod’s “doctor,” I will use my unique body fat tool to attain a worthy beach body with one addition–my now whitish scar.