My Vain Scars: Proof That I’m Human, I’ve Lived & I’m Still Alive

The Seven Deadly Sins Via Disney Characters
The Seven Deadly Sins Via Disney Characters

Vanity is considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins, falling under the category of being Prideful. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was punished for his vanity via drowning by falling in love with his own reflection in a pool. Nowadays, if a vain person was to be punished in the Saw series, the clown would make the person to scar themselves before considering to let them go free.

Scars usually receive a negative connotation. When people think of scars, they think of the negative emotional scars that famous people always talk about, usually accompanied with some story about the bullies in school, the neglectful and abusive family, or the struggle of identity.When people imagine a person with many scars, they think of some grotesquely deformed person, such as Alastor Mad-Eye Moody from the Harry Potter series.

Mad-Eye Moody
Mad-Eye Moody

But fictional characters aren’t the only ones that have scars. In a New York Post, they highlighted 15 celebrities with their scars (some more noticeable than others). The list includes Tina Fey, Harrison Ford, Joanquin Phoenix, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kaley Cuoco.

Two other well-known persons with head scars would be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge AKA Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Kate’s scar is said to be the result of a ‘childhood operation‘ that is rumoured to be minor, such as a birthmark. Prince William received his so-called “Harry Potter scar” at the age of 13, when he was hit by a classmate with a golf club.

 My Harry Potter Scar

Similar to Scott Eastwood’s life (said back in my previous post Boys, Boys, Boys: Sex, Gaybaiting, and Gay-on-Gay Bashing), my parents thought it was good for their kids to be relatively well-travelled as well as connected to our roots. Since the 80’s, my parents have gone back to Vietnam with their children.

When we go back to Vietnam, we spend our time with my father’s side of the family. In the village, we have a very extensive extended family, where everyone’s required to know the family line going back from my great-grandfather; however, I am essentially related to anyone if you search far back enough.


As for close-proximity relations, my father was the youngest of 2 sisters. Over 75 years old, my oldest aunt was adopted into the family as a child and had 6 children ranging in age from 40 and 55 years old. Obviously, her children have children, with the oldest being 28 years old and the youngest being born recently. Still further, my second cousins recently had newborns themselves.

My parents would constantly let my dad’s cousins, my aunts and my cousins watch after us children when we’re in Vietnam. Being around my age, I would play with my second-cousins in the village, which would involve sticks, mud, ducklings, and large beetles at the time because back then, Vietnam didn’t have running water, electricity, or any modern conveniences America took for granted even for the time. My parents allowed us to be somewhat independent in an unfamiliar place, which, thinking back at it, probably led me to be a strong independent traveller later in age.

As I’ve been told, my Harry Potter scar came about in my 1993 Vietnam trip. My oldest cousin’s daughter Phuc and I had been playing outdoors when apparently I was annoying her. She had grabbed up a stick and took a slice on my forehead. It left a Harry Potter scar above my right eyebrow.

My Harry Potter scar.
My Harry Potter scar.

Initially, it’s not a scar that’s noticeable to people. It’s my friends who really realise it’s there later after seeing me a few times, and they rarely actually ask how I had received it. I remember during one particular time of hanging out with Ginger and Tinker, Ginger had asked about it and I had told her but usually, I don’t even remember its there, even if I’m looking in the mirror. My Umbridge Scar, however, is a little harder to forget.

 The Umbridge Scar

In my private school system, you could go in two routes for elementary schooling. You could stay downtown and go to two different schools (one for Preschool to 3rd grade, another for 4th to 6th grade) or you could go to an elementary just outside town centre that goes from Preschool to 6th grade before going to the Jr./Sr. High School. Going into the 7th grade is always the ‘stressful’ part of growing up because the adults told it will be, because we will be mixing with the ‘rival school’ and have to rebuild our reputation.

To start up my reputation properly, I joined the 7th grade football team. I had joined football because my brother had played football and enjoyed it a lot and I thought I would too, despite my lack of experience in it. I made it through two-a-days and through the first week of school before calling it quits, coincidentally soon after the team photos and individual photos were taken.

MTV's Two-A-Days (2006-2007)
MTV’s Two-A-Days (2006-2007)

When it came time for my 9th grade year, I thought I’d join the team because my brother would be a senior and could help me out. Note that I saw that I just join the team and not try out because my school is so small, there wouldn’t be a cut for sports like football or baseball, and only a minor cut for basketball. My brother and I went through two-a-days, after school practices and games throughout the first few weeks of the school year. I wasn’t exactly loving it because for some reason, the playbook didn’t stick with me and I would get boggled sometimes, but I stuck to it because it was the only year I’ll play with my brother.

However, being a freshman player also has its drawbacks. Aside from always playing second-string on the JV team, during practices, you play scout team whenever needed. During one particular practice, I was playing on a scout receiving team of a punt. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing but I remember going one-on-one with a short sophomore player. I got my hands up and thought to give him some resistance when his ducked his head and my hand met his helmet.

I went to the Athletic Trainer later in practice, complaining about my hand. It wasn’t in excruciating pain, but it was an aching pain that I wanted to consult her. Examining my soft, unworked hands, she told me that it was just a bruise and that if I wanted, she’d give me a make-shift hand brace. She heated up a piece of plastic and formed it around the outside of my hand and put velcro strips on the 4 corners to wrap a cloth strip around my hand to secure it. I took her word that it was just a bruise and let it go.

Harry Potter's Umbridge Scar Saying, "I must not tell lies"
Harry Potter’s Umbridge Scar Saying, “I must not tell lies”

I thought that Athletic Trainers were very capable of knowing injuries. My sister was also studying to be an athletic trainer in her undergrad and I held her as high standard. However, after over a week of the same initial pain in my hand, I asked my mother to take me to the doctor because a bruise would have subsided a bit by then. My sister and mom agreed and I went to see my family doctor.

After having x-rays done, it was verified that the dome of my knuckle has been fractured. After being redirected to a surgeon, they told me I would need to have one screw in my hand. I remember my mother asking the doctor, “Will there be a scar? Just don’t make it too noticeable! You’re going to ruin his chances to be a hand model!” After 11 days of the aching pain in my hand, I was undergoing surgery for it.

A 1-hour surgery took 3 hours, which really wasn’t a difference to me since it seemed like a second either way. The surgery would’ve lasted only one hour if it had been as simple as one screw fixing the problem; however, the surgeon believes that since I had waited so long for the surgery and didn’t do much to cradle it (as in stopped playing football), the dome of my knuckle shattered further and it took 3 screws to fix my hand.

My Umbridge Scar on my Left Hand.
My Umbridge Scar on my Left Hand.

After my surgery, I went back to my football Athletic Trainer and the stupid twat said, “Oh! Well, that teaches you to leaving things unchecked!” I left it unchecked because she thought it was a bruise. From then on, her opinion didn’t hold any water left to me, but it didn’t make much difference since my football season was over. I stayed on the team as a sort of manager/assistant athletic trainer, learning to tape up ankles for JV team and other times when the Athletic Trainer wasn’t there (since she sometimes wasn’t there for practices).

I had to undergo Physical Therapy to work out my hand and I had my stitches taken out by a nurse-in-training, who didn’t know how to cut a mattress stitch and ended up needing to cut into my skin to take it all out. As a constant knuckle-cracker, I still have some trouble cracking my left index finger’s knuckle and sometimes, it aches which I semi-jokingly say is due to the weather and my old age.

I only have two major physical scars thus far. I won’t pretend that my Harry Potter scar is symbolic of something greater than it is — a childhood tiff, but I also can’t pretend that my Umbridge scar is anything less than a badge of my strength, regardless of how it came about. As like countless famous people have talked about emotional scars, obtaining my Umbridge scar had made me a stronger person, and allowed me to see my limitless capabilities. 

I may be somewhat vain in my looks, with my always perfect hair, my big innocent eyes and my sensuous mouth but I wear my scars with pride. Even though my scars aren’t as scary or ‘grotesque’ as Mad-Eye Moody’s are, our opinions on our scars are similar in that I’m glad I have them to show that I’m human, that I’ve lived and that I’m still alive. And these scars are proof of it.


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