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Growing up, I had a scar on my face--a perfect arrow in the center of my cheek pointing at my left eye. I got it when I was three, long before I knew that scars were a bad thing, especially for a girl. I knew only that my scar brought me attention and tenderness and candy. As i got older I began to take pride in my scar, in part to stop bullies from taunting me, but mainly as a reaction to the assumption that I should feel embarrassed. It's true, I was embarrassed the first couple of times someone pointed at my cheek and asked, "What's that?" or called me "Scarface." But the more I heard how unfortunate my scar was, the more I found myself liking it. My friends liked it, too. They made up elaborate tales about how I'd gotten it in a fight or from a dog attack. They laughed at their stories and thought I was all the more interesting because I could laugh with them. When I turned fifteen, my parents--on the advice of a plastic surgeon--decided it was time to operate on what was now a thick, shiny red scar. As my father drove me home from the local mall, he explained that I would have the surgery during my summer vacation, to allow time for it to heal. "But I don't mind the scar, really," I told him. "I don't need surgery." It had been years since I had been teased. And my friends, along with my boyfriend at the time, felt as I did, that my scar was unique and almost pretty in its own way. After so many years, it was a part of me. "You do need surgery," my father said, his eyes on the road, his lips tight. "But I like it," I told him. "I don't want to get rid of it." "You need surgery," he said again,and he lowered his voice. "It's a deformity." I don't know what hurt more that day: hearing my father call my scar a deformity, or realizing that it didn't matter to him how I felt about it. I did have plastic surgery that summer. They cut out the left side of the arrow, leaving a thinner, zigzag scar that blended into the lines of my face when I smiled. The following...
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