By: Colette Pfeiffer
We learn at a young age the difference between good and bad. Good makes us happy, we want more of that. Bad hurts us, brings us sadness, and we learn that we want as little of that in our lives as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t get to decide how much of each we get. We do, however, get to decide what we will do with it. We have the ability to take any hand that is dealt to us, harness its energy and use language to help us in the process. Within its definition, “wicked” means both, “evil, bad, intended to harm” and “incredibly wonderful, outstanding.” How can a word have two truly opposite definitions?
I was born with a Sacrococcygeal Teratoma, a rare birth defect occurring around one in every 40,000 births. Within hours of being born, doctors found a tumor in my coccyx. This condition causes some babies to not make it to birth. For those that do, doctors attempt to remove the tumor but when you are that little, there isn’t much to work with. As a result, I was left with a massive scar across my backside and no right butt cheek. I was fortunate to make it through. Growing up I would repeat to myself how lucky I had been as I stared in the mirror, reminding myself that my scar was a small price to pay.
Yes, in a world of relativity, my price was small but it left a lasting impression, and somewhat of a sixth sense that one can only have when they go through life being “different.” You can feel the eyes on you, and hear the whispers spoken.The thought of summer days at the swimming pool made me cringe. As you can imagine, it is hard to conceal in a bathing suit when you are missing half of your bottom! I remember once when a mother at a pool party asked me what had happened to me, prompting the entire party of little girls to point and chant “Eew! Eew! Eew!” I thought: “What’s wrong with you, lady?!” At a young age, I understood how her comment was completely unnecessary. I also remember that one time when I came out of rehearsal to see “HALF ASS” written on the back of my car. And I remember that time when I wanted to join the high school swim team but decided against it because I knew everyone would stare at my scar in the Speedo uniforms.
High school was a tumultuous time, but it was especially hard when I tried my best to hide my missing cheek. My incredible and thoughtful mother even fashioned a prosthetic made from a shoulder pad so that I could wear it underneath my clothes. I quickly realized, however, that hiding would only work for a while. You feel it when you’re beneath that veil, a feeling like someone is always about to “catch on” to your secret….and that is no way to live.
So in my young adulthood, I made a change. Not in myself, but in the way I viewed others’ opinions of me. I decided to embrace my scar not for the reminder of the bad that had happened, but as a reminder of how truly resilient and strong I had once been at less than 24 hours old. My scar reminds me that I have been wicked strong, wicked brave, and wicked victorious. It reminds me I am now, and have always been, just exactly who I was meant to be.
Colette Pfeiffer is the author of the blog Wicked Flaws, where she writes about her faults and how she embraces her flaws. You can follow Colette on her blog and on Instagram @_wickedflaws.