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  • Madeleine Cowey

Behind the Scars

Way back in December I took part in the BehindtheScars project, a photography project initiated and run by Sophie Mayanne that follows the stories of hundreds of people and their scars.

I was lucky enough to take part, and be made to feel beautiful by Sophie's incredible talent (I mean just LOOK at these photos!). She has a great way of making you feel very comfortable, and considering the intimate and vulnerable nature of the photography that is perfect.

Sophie posts all the photos and their attached stories on Instagram and her website.

This project is so incredibly important as the photos are all completely un-airbrushed and unedited, contrasting the typical images seen throughout the media. BehindTheScars celebrates human 'imperfections' and makes them beautiful - a message about beauty that needs to be heard more often.

Scars can often be viewed as 'ugly', and many people remain self-conscious about theirs for years, if not their whole lives. Instead of such imperfections being something frowned upon by society they should be celebrated, and seen as marks of humanity, of living. Everyone has scars and marks on their skin, and everyone has a history, and finally here is a fantastic project to share them!

So here are my scars in all their glory - and how good has Sophie made them look! Even though I did already love my scars, these photos have been very empowering and allowed me to see myself, my story and my scars in a new, even more positive light.

I'll put the story I wrote for the project down below!!

Thanks for reading and I hope to write some more posts soon (now that I'm finished with my uni studies - eek!!).

Please do check out the project too.

M x

The story behind my scars:

"When I was 18 I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS). The diagnosis was a long and drawn out process – the “suspicious lump” in my shoulder not being taken seriously by either doctors or myself.

Unfortunately after months of scans and appointments I was told what nobody wants to hear. I had just started Uni, and all of a sudden my life was turned upside down.

The two scars on my left shoulder are from two surgeries. The first, to remove the primary tumour. The second, almost a year and a half later to remove some of my scapular to which the cancer had spread. The first time I saw my new scar, I was devastated. It felt like the end of the world – up until now the whole diagnosis felt like a bad dream. I thought the scar was horrific and that nobody would find me beautiful every again. It didn’t take me long to get used to it, and now I am obsessed with both of them. The cancer has also spread to my lungs and is currently “incurable”. Traditional chemotherapy is ineffective, and there are no drugs to get rid of it. I hope that whatever new scars I may pick up during my life I can learn to love as much as I do these. They may represent my disease, which I hate, but they make me unique and that’s awesome."

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