Follow the Map of the Scars to Liberation!
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like being in a room full of cancer survivors. There is an aura of emotional courage and camaraderie which is unmistakable. During last Saturday’s Survivorship Symposium hosted by Morristown Memorial Hospital, I had an especially meaningful experience which had to do with “scar stories.”
During the Art and Music Therapy program, facilitators Maria Lupo, MFA, MA-ATR, and Leah Oswanski, LAC, MT-BC, led us through an exercise of drawing to music. My friend Lockey and I were sitting together and, like so many other adults, we didn’t relish the opportunity to draw.
I guess we were embarrassed, which led her to say all she wanted was a cup of tea. So, I drew her one and we were off. I was drawing nothing major (food, a sofa -we’re redecorating her house), when she suddenly put crayon to paper and started drawing her cancer scars. I joined her and we put together a collection of our individual scars on her piece of paper.
It was an amazing moment of sharing. We even added our knee scars from childhood. (Doesn’t everyone have those?) When she proclaimed the drawing “The Map of the Scars” we laughed so hard I was afraid we were making a scene.
Earlier in the program, Melanie Davis, EdD, CSW, spoke about "Sexuality and Body Image" and how we all have “scar stories.” Lockey has no idea why she started drawing those scars, but we shared our “scar stories” through that drawing and it was liberating!
Looking back I am amazed that there was no self-pity, only a lot of laughter. My scars truly didn’t bother me at that moment. All I wanted to do was laugh about them with someone who shared the same experience and give her a big hug for being there with me. So, put on soothing music, get a big piece of paper and start drawing. I'd love to see your Map of the Scars and learn how it liberated you!