Scars have represented many things for me over the course of my life. From minor scrapes to near death experiences, each scar tells a tale. At times, I’ve worn them like a badge of honor. Other times they’ve been a source of great shame. I am now coming to accept them as a physical record of things that have marked me, but do not define me.
I have scars all over my body – mostly little ones. They are all over my hands, arms and legs. I was a fearless lad who grew up in a neighborhood filled with rambunctious boys of all ages playing dangerous games. We rode BMX, mountain bikes and skateboards. We wrestled and boxed. We played tackle football. Cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones and knocked out teeth were commonplace.
We wore our wounds with pride. I can recall, with some fondness, those times when everyone rallied behind the man that went down. Many of these remain moments of great import from my childhood. The bonds of friendship were made stronger with the kids that I shared blood with.
-But not all scars are tethered to memories of friends and childhood.
Some scars are the tattooed memory of an event, condition or situation that you survived. They are a testament to your resolve and proof that you had the courage to overcome. I just read a great article by Diana Phillips about her experience.
Others can feel like a constant reminder of a nightmare from which you cannot awaken – in my case, a 3 inch gash on my face. For a long time, this ghastly wound was my penance for an accident that was entirely my fault. The sight of my own face was so thoroughly distressing that I chose not to look in the mirror for months. To see the wound immediately brought me back to the moment of impact.
I am fortunate to have survived that accident (and the aftermath). I am more fortunate to have accepted that I cannot remove the scar any more than I can forget what happened. Moreover, it’s not even the coolest scar on my body (check out the one from when they removed my lung).
A mentor of mine once said “two pieces of wood glued together are stronger than a single piece of the same size.” Similarly, scar tissue is tougher than untouched skin. In healing from our wounds, we are made stronger and more resilient.
What’s YOUR favorite scar? I’d love to hear your story.