I’m a sucker for happy endings but sometimes I just need to read a story about defeat | Lee Kofman

Popular culture is saturated with so-called inspirational narratives. But we can’t always overcome adversity or find closure

Earlier this year I appeared on a television morning show to discuss the many scars that crisscross my body. The scars are a result of several childhood misfortunes, and I was invited to talk about how my scarred body has affected my life – my sense of self, the choices I’ve made, the opportunities I’ve had, even my personality. I had a brief slot to try and unpack my complex story. Because I’d acquired my scars in quite exotic – to Australian audiences – circumstances, having been born in the Soviet Union, we spent most of the time rehashing those tales. Soon, one of the hosts realised we were running out of time and asked me the final question – one that I expected, albeit not in the form it arrived: “So now you accept your scars, don’t you?”

Well, yes and no. In some ways or at certain times, and not in others. My truth is so complicated – just as many people’s relationships to their bodies are complicated – that recently I even wrote a book about it. I tried to fold the various shades of feeling into my answer, but under the pressure of time and the spotlight, did so lamely.

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