We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

← Back to all stories
Photo ofMaclara Rouk

As a little kid, I thought of the lumpy scar at the top of my chest as a bit weird and bizarre, but I didn’t really think that much about it. Not until people started asking “Why do you have that? What happened? What is that?” and staring at it. Once, when I was at church with my family, there was this family in front of us that had a little girl with them, and that little girl in front of us would turn around to look at us sometimes, but she would look at me more. I don’t know what she was really looking at, to be honest, but I just sat there a little uncomfortable because she kept looking at me and I didn’t know what to do. When the church was over, my cousin that sat next to me walked beside me while we were walking to the car and talked about the little girl, and how she was staring at one thing in particular on me which was my scar on my chest. Then my cousin told me how she had glared back at the girl. I laughed at the thought of my cousin but also felt uneasy because I hated being judged by people especially strangers. Another time when I was on a field trip to the Kaufman Center, I was walking to the location where we were supposed to go. Our parent chaperone was with us with her child. I remember just talking with my friend that was with me at the time about how boring this might be until I took a glance at our parent chaperone and she was just staring at me. More specifically my scar, in disgust. Her face looked like she was nauseated by the sight. Ok ok, I may be exaggerating a little bit but, this made me feel really uncomfortable since she was an adult and parent. I expected a parent to be less judgmental or even less disgusted, at least not to the point that you can see the person’s disgust. I also felt that they would be more understanding than to just staring at it. Although I was very uncomfortable with my scar, I still wore shirts that would expose the scar, like V-neck t-shirts. By doing that, I realized that I shouldn’t really care what people think or say about me, or more specifically myself. It is me that makes me feel that the scar is something more disgusting than other people probably think. When I got into high school, I started to care less about what people would think, what I looked like, the clothes I wore, and if my scar was showing or not. Looking back to when I thought that my scar was something weird and bizarre, I laugh. Now, I think of my scar as something that I should be proud of and not ashamed to have, and that it shouldn’t be hidden—it should be shown to people to see that I’m strong and the judgment of other people doesn’t matter to me anymore. This scar has a story that people don’t know, and I’m honored to have it.

© Maclara Rouk. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.