Lights Out

Lights Out


The sirens were roaring, flashes of light, quickly I was placed on the gurney, the clicking of the doors as they swung open. Faces, many faces, an oxygen mask placed over my mouth. I heard the sound of scissors -- then before I could process it -- my pants and shirt were cut open. Fading in and out, whispers, needles, cold metal, machines all around as my now frail body was being scanned.  


As I watched the knife go down my torso in the ER, my mantra to the surgeon was, “ I have insurance, I am a young actress, please don’t leave me with scars.” I kept repeating the same sentence and then black rushed in-- lights out.


The echo of voices, my eyes flicker open, it’s blurry, white curtains and the smell of rubbing alcohol, I gaze down and see a tub, where am I, I am in a hospital. Tubes and machines all around, my throat is dry, my body aches from head to toe. Oh no, I am late to the movie set; I need to go, they are waiting for me. I place my hand on the bed rail and press down to get up; an electric jolt of pain shoved me back down. Tears streaming down my face, I gasp for breath, fear and sadness wash over me. What happen? Oh, a car hit me.


“I thought to myself “I wish my mother was here.” A hand wraps around and the curtain is drawn open. My mother, she is here, she grabs my hand and kisses my forehead. “I’m here for you, my baby girl.” 

A year has passed and the road has been rocky, challenging and humbling.

The doctor has removed the 50 stitches down my belly. The scars are healed and the bruises have faded, yet the memories linger, the shame and reminders remain. 



Years pass and time helps heal all wounds… “they say”. Who are they anyway? I have always wondered that, have you? For me my scars have at times held me back, not because of the scars themselves but my attachment to them, my belief that they were bad, ugly and something to hide. Now I see them as just a story, a story that I am the author of. I know now I get to create what ever I want and if it wasn’t for these scars I would not have the understanding, compassion and perspective as to the hold they can have on a person and how they choose to live out their life.


My friend Tim got the shingles and he was sharing how they have affected him, the discomfort, then the healing process and now the marks that still remain on his once-smooth porcelain skin. How shameful and self-conscious he felt which were new feelings for him. He always felt comfortable in his own skin and now all he wanted was to jump out of it. Feelings of self-consciousness and disgrace currently wash over him.


As we sat over sushi, wine and sharing I feel blessed to have the scars I have, because if it were not for them I would not understand Tim’s pain, nor would he be sharing his deepest feelings with me.


We all have our own set of scars of some kind, whether they are visible, emotional and or physiological. I have come to understand that these events that happen in our lives help us grow and that each one of us in every moment is here to contribute and help one another in some way.  


Carrie Costello