Accepting My Scoliosis Scar

Words: Poppy Fitzpatrick
Image: Haley Lawrence via Unsplash

This is a piece for my younger self, my younger sister and anyone that needs to come to terms with what is historically classified as a ‘physical flaw’.

I wouldn’t call myself a royalist. I don’t really pay much attention to the day-to-day Royal Family news and unless there’s a street party or David Attenborough involved, count me out.

This however, is most definitely a game changer. Despite not knowing Eugenie personally, I’ve always felt an alliance with her as we both undertook the same spinal surgery treatment for scoliosis. In layman terms, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. You’re physically growing at an angle which if left untreated can impact breathing, pregnancy and crush organs. 

After 6 years of having a curved spine – something that subconsciously dented my self-esteem, the curve got worse and in 2012 I underwent a 9-hour surgery procedure. I fortunately had a naive ‘yes man’ attitude which distracted from the severity of the operation. I spent three nights in ICU, ten days in hospital and months off school. I had to learn to walk and wash independently and deal with my physique changing permanently overnight. 

Three months later I visited school. I think it’s safe to say I went to the London equivalent of North Shore High School and like every school, we had our fair share of Mean Girls. 

A particular ‘Regina George’ strutted over and foolishly stated ‘boys won’t fancy you because of your scar’. From that moment, I’ve done everything I can to embrace, sex-ify and own it. I have a metal structure around my spine, which basically makes me a transformer and honestly, what’s sexier than a transformer?!

When Eugenie wore her Pilotto and De Vos dress last week at her wedding she made a subtle but empowering statement that undoubtedly caught the eye of millions. Regardless of her status, it brought a tear to my eye seeing a strong woman showing off her scar on one of the most important days of her life.  

Instagram is increasingly becoming a hub for positive self-expression and body appreciation. However, this tends to be left on the algorithm-driven social media platform and doesn’t often follow through in real life. I hope Eugenie’s actions have inspired others to care less, show their battle wounds and tell their stories. The mantra continues, that the moment you become at peace with your scars, body and mind is the moment you’re freed from the opinion of others.

As cringe as it sounds… your scars are beautiful, you will love them and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Embrace it whole heartedly and live courageously knowing you’ve overcome something momentous.