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:
- 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.
- Ignore it. Don’t give it another thought. Step over it, walk around it, divert your eyes.
- 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.
- 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