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Scars…from bikes, toilet seats, words and such

I have a scar on my knee from when I was five and fell off my bike. I have a scar on my left hip from my first chicken pock (a billion followed, but that one left the only scar). I have a purple and black bruise under my thumbnail from when, and I’m not making this up, a toilet lid chomped voraciously down on my hand about three months ago.

But those are physical, visible scars. And others aren’t. Some are hidden and are only felt when you happen to hear a certain word or song, when you’re called a certain name, when any host of reminders makes them suddenly rise up in your internal landscape like a random speed bump on a long, empty highway – forcing you to slam on the brakes, interrupting your travels. Lurching you suddenly back in time. Thwump. Smack. Blam.

The thing about scars, whether you can see them or not, is that they last a long time, some even for a lifetime, but always way past the trauma of the actual incident. The wound was inflicted. The scar was created. And when it was made, it sealed the essence of the damage, of the story, beneath it’s pinkish, smooth sheen. Bruising, swelling, searing pain, heartache, regret, sadness – all tucked in.

I recently met with a client who has become a treasured reader, a favorite writer and, I’d venture to say, a friend of mine. And in our last meeting, he told me about one of his scars as we explored his work and his moving forward with it, because we had to, because there the scar was – big, lumpy, impeding, obstructive. Without apology, it demanded our attention.

It’s an old, ancient scar, but when touched upon, the feelings that lay beneath it rose up viscerally. The heart pounded, the cheeks turned red, the hands shook, the nerves tensed. And the real questions surfaced: What now? Where to go from here? What to do with it all?

There are a few options to consider:

  1. Let it bring you down again and again. Like an anchor that refuses to be towed back on board. Every time you see it or bump against it, focus on it, allow it more space on your knee or in your gut than it rightfully deserves.
  2. Ignore it. Don’t give it another thought. Step over it, walk around it, divert your eyes.
  3. Learn from it. Let it remind you to do things differently, to not make the same mistakes again. Make it a guidepost as you continue on your way.
  4. Wear it as a medal, a badge of honor, a touch point. A reminder that you survived, that you healed. That your body, mind and heart are able to create themselves anew, with the unbelievably miraculous powers of resuscitation, regeneration and revitalization. Albeit, with this indelible mark.

Image credit: bredgur

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • number four is the only way to go. Yeah, this thingy has changed you, but you are still you and will continue to be you. Yeah, you can learn from it, but if you don’t incorporate it into what you are, you didn’t really learn from it, and you won’t be able to understand it completely.

  • Jason says:

    I have a sizable scar on my back. lost a few ounces of flesh that was classified as a malignant melanoma. I was 17, a good time to go through such a thing, IMHO. Over the years I have accumulated all types of scars, many mentioned in UR post. However, like opinions, I have found that meanings change as time passes. Inevitably, you can choose to acknowledge, but move beyond, like a three legged dog. Dog don’t go to physical therapy when they lose a limb. They adapt to their situation, but surely avoid the situation that caused that loss, if at all possible. We can learn a lot from dogs…

  • Amanda says:

    I’m all about the wearing of scars like a badge of honour. I have scars from BMX’ing. Old bruises that never quite faded from when I played rugby. The ones you can’t see are the ones I wear the proudest.

    If nothing else, at least we know that nothing can stop us. Not scars. Not bruises. Especially not the past.

    What a rockin’ post. Thanks Julie. <3

  • Julie Roads says:

    Amanda – why does this not surprise me? BMX? Rugby. So hot, so badass. And you are right. Nothing can stop us!

  • PicsieChick says:

    Wow, Julie, it’s like you’re in my head! I’ve been thinking a lot about scars the last few days….actually about broken-ness. I was composing a post for it yesterday, but decided to stay lighthearted instead.

    I’m proud of my physical scars – wounds of skin, broken bones that have healed – but those deeper, more meaningful scars, they baffle me.

    Because I do not remember what they are from.

    I know they are part of me, I don’t know what caused them, and I’ve spent most of my life realizing that this is significant, but convincing myself that knowing would change nothing.

    Yesterday I wondered about that.

    And today, regardless of whether I learn more about the cause of these scars, or I do not, I choose to see beauty there.

    Hugs and butterflies,
    .-= PicsieChick´s last blog ..The 700 contest =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Love that…and love when people find old posts!!! So much fun to go back and read where I was – and see that I still agree with myself!

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