Learning to Love Scars…
I have a few…some quite visible, most not. I, like everyone else on the planet, walk around in this human suit, marred by the things that have happened to me. I have spent the better part of my life covering them up, hiding them, fearing their expression leading to the ultimate rejection. But scars are the place where healing happened. Where once there was injury, pain, something else has replaced it…a scar. An indelible reminder of all that occurred before.
I do not have any disfiguring scarring, except on the inside. But even those emotional wounds that were left long unattended have, by now, been addressed and continue to be because a few of them are life lasting. They will never go away. The things that happened so long ago, have long bony fingers that reach up into my present and silently touch it, make it shudder and remember. This usually causes me, in particular, to act out. To run, to hide. To leave. It has historically been the only way I felt safe. But I am older and wiser today, and thanks to a lot of therapy and EMDR, today I can stay while the past does its thing. I am no longer haunted. I am no longer occupied or possessed. I am simply forced in the moment to deal with some discomfort, a redressing of an old wound, the scar.
It used to take me much longer and it used to be way more scary but I have made friends with my scars. They no longer threaten to open and leak. They are firmly sealed shut and while not the most beautiful part of me, not the ugliest either. No, the most ugly thing about me is all those years that I tried to destroy myself because of the scars. Thinking that the scar ruined me forever. That was misguided and wrong. But I didn’t know any better. Until I did.
Today, I wouldn’t say I am proud of my scars, the ones you can see and the ones you can’t. But I do know this, they are mine. I lived through the trauma that caused them and it has been my inadvertent life’s work to heal them. And that took an immense amount of care, love and attention. Which has landed me in a place where I no longer feel the need to apologize for them. And while loving them may be a stretch, it is a stretch in the direction of goodness and I will make that trip any day.
It has been a long hard road toward healing but I am no longer terrified by what I see. I accept it. And I have even learned to not hate it anymore, and while not hating is a far cry from loving, it is still not hating.
Life seems to be a long journey away from ourselves and then back again. We start out so self possessed; all full of piss and vinegar. Then life summarily kicks us in the teeth and we learn to leave, be it through drugs, booze, sex, gaming, food, exercise, dating, shopping (those are a few of my favorites for sure) until one day, if we are very, very lucky, we see that leaving will never provide relief. Ever. So we have to face all that we have run from and find a way to welcome it home to this body, this mind, this me. And the day we begin to do that, is the day that we begin to heal. And once the healing begins, the living gets fun. It gets real. It gets ours. You cannot really live your life for anyone else, but my oh my, how we try. But then one day, when pleasing others loses its luster, if you are lucky, you face yourself and take ownership of this life and call it home. We call it ours. We stop being victims of the world and we learn to love our scars.
This has been my process. And this blog has been my attempt to share the journey. To show you my nakedness. To show you the scars…to allow you to see mine so that you are less afraid of your own. Perhaps it has worked, perhaps it has not. Regardless I have tried. I have pulled out the puckered and pink flesh and attempted to show you, if you could and would look. I am not sure that I have ever done a more daring thing. Really. Like ever. Some looked, some turned away, but I healed and that was really the point. I am so grateful for this life I have today, and I love the me that I am better than I ever have. I have come to see the scars as memorials to the life that I have overcome. The very painful, sometimes often almost fatal, life that threatened my existence, that I beat back. Scars are landmarks of healing, and for me, they are the most beautiful things about me today…or any day really.