This is part of Thank You Notes, a series of letters offering gratitude to the people and things that inspire us most. Like many others, Allure has spent this summer looking inward — the place from where, as the saying goes, beauty springs. What we found was pain, love, humor, and powerful gratitude, for the people we know and the world we live in. Then we wrote.
To my scars,
I am proud of you. Together, we have come so far.
When so much of my womanhood was taken away by breast cancer, you were there to remind me that who I am comes from within. Thank you for showing me that nothing — no doctor, no disease, no operation — can take this away. That our physical bodies will never define who we are.
What began with a painful introduction has evolved into a beautiful bond. Since the moment every last stitch dissolved, I watched you transform from two intrusive incisions across my chest to being one with my skin. I’ve realized, watching you heal how important it is to allow myself time to recover. When I look in the mirror and see you in my reflection, my mind flashes through the lessons I’ve learned.
I see the beauty in everything, everyone, every single day. I’ve learned pain is temporary. I trust the timing of my life. All things get better with time. I’ve learned to embrace every part of who I am. And now, I accept you for who you are: Perfectly imperfect, resilient, and strong, you are the most empowering beauty mark on my body. I have become stronger. You are a testament that I am a survivor. You are proof of the good that comes from having faith. You are a sign of the beauty in change.
I love myself enough to be an advocate for my body, my health, and my life... as you remember, that’s how I saved my own life. All it took was trusting myself and using my voice, even when repeatedly told, “You’re very young, you’re healthy — nothing is wrong.” Our words have so much strength, so much power. And no one understands your body better than you. You have taught me the language of self-love.
Self-love is an ongoing journey — and each day, I love us more. Thank you for loving me back. I am who I am today because of you.
More stories about recognizing the signs of breast cancer:
Now watch a metastatic breast cancer patient's journey in six photos: