26 June, 2013

Scar Wars

My posts occasionally refer to 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 "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 ... well ... more permanent. That's not to say they are disfiguring. That determination, by the way, 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 treat me according to their label's expectations.

I wrote the following a couple of years ago.

          There are twenty-four scars on my body.
          Each one tells a story.
          No one asks to see them.
          Only a few know 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, some not so faded. On a typical day, however, only one site lies unhidden by clothing. So people are generally unaware of them - at least until 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 has taught me to be proud of them; they are badges, not baggage. After all, a scar is 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.