09 November, 2011

Scar Trek

On occasion I think about scars. We all have them - at least in the figurative sense. Some might say in that case I'm talking about 'baggage,' but for many of us, they really are scars - which are, in some sense, 'heavier.' You can 'unpack' your baggage which is a great metaphor for learning from your misfortunes, and baggage is easily left by the door, stored in a closet, or lost by your airline. Scars aren't.

Scars are more permanent. This is not to say, however, they are disfiguring. That determination is purely in the eye of the owner of the scar, and I am the owner of mine. I will be the one to decide if they are beautiful or only merely gorgeous. I refuse to delegate that responsibility. I refuse to give someone else the power to label me and then treat me according to their label's expectations.

          There are twenty-four scars on my body.
          Each one tells a story.
          No one asks to see them.
          No one knows they are there.
          But, there are twenty-four scars on my body.

There is a very literal truth in that stanza. There really are two dozen scars from various medical instruments scattered around my body. Some are quite minor, some not so minor. Some are quite faded and some not so faded. On a typical day, however, only one of the two dozen lies unhidden by clothing. So people are generally unaware of them - at least until a few years ago when I began writing and discussing that medical history, the one I described as "remarkable" in a previous post (See Missing Extremities).

The passage of time and support from family and friends have taught me to be proud of them. They are badges, not baggage. A scar is, after all, evidence of healing, and only we survivors have scars.

          And there are more stories on the inside.

This is also literally true, but it's accurate in that figurative sense as well. The experiences - both good and bad - of our life's Journeys leave marks. I'm still learning to see each of those as beautiful, but that's a life long process. I'm pretty happy with my progress.

My wish for you is that you learn to see the positives inherent in your own scars but also that when you notice the scars of others, you see only their beauty. That would be a good thing.