Monday, May 18, 2009


Jim Morrison sang, "No one here gets out alive." It's equally true that no one gets out unharmed. We are all damaged and wounded people, marked and marred by scars both visible and unseen. Scars are like magnets. They both attract and repel. A scar says that there is a story here, but learn it at your own risk. You may be intrigued or bored or so deeply disquieted that you'll be forever changed.

A chronic illness of unknown origin has left me with many scars. I'm fortunate that they're not publicly visible. Injuries and operations have added to the tales my body bears. Last year, I found out that even my brain is visibly scarred when seen with the right technology. Every day I am reminded of the toll that life has taken on my body. I cannot hide from the fact that I have experienced pain.

Emotional scars are equally significant and just as lasting as physical scars. Their endurance though is not the only attribute they share with their tangible kin. A scar is both the tissue where the injury occured but different from it as well. It is denser, tougher, harder and less sensitive. Despite this, a scar can still ache, echoing the original pain a long time after the trauma occured.

Earlier today, I realized that I've been hardening my heart for years. It's been a survival tool. One cannot survive by letting themselves stay too tender. Scarring has been essential; it's how open wounds knit themselves together again. A scar can say that this person is functional. I can look at each scar and know that I have been healed, but sometimes I wonder if I wouldn't get stuck in the pain of certain events so much if I didn't have so many tangible reminders of having been hurt. If you don't see something, you can deny its existence.

I've wondered many times how some people can just not show their pain. Common sense says that it has to be there, but some seem to be made of teflon, gliding unwounded through whatever life brings them. Is it strength or is it callousness? a constructive or destructive toughness? Teflon people can seem less than human. So do their polar opposites, the perpetual victims who refuse to conceal their hurts.

I've had an image growing in my mind for some time, a heart split by many breaks. Growing from those wounds are roots which spring up into a wide branched, lush leafed tree. It's the icon of a goal, to let pain, injury and grief to give life to something vibrant, healthy, beautiful, and strong. A wound can be the compost for a life better lived.


Blogger Jul said...

Scars serve as a reminder of what we've been through and also a remider that we have overcome what created them, both inside and out.

The visible ones are easier to deal with for me because I look at them and feel somehow victorious, that I won and that little or big mark is my badge of honor and courage, no matter how ugly it may be. It's mine, I earned it and I beat it to the point it can no longer hurt me. Some scars can be a lesson and a reminder to not make the same mistake again.

The invisible scars that seclude us or make us reach out are tests. Over time many become smaller although some may never leave totally and need to be put into a different, more palatable perspective. That's where acceptance comes in and the test is to either move forward, change or hold on to the scar and remain stuck.

I am confident in your ability to move forward and create changes to make your life what you want it to be. You've already come so far. I know days will come where you will feel defeated, tired and cannot get out of your own way and will dwell on both the superficial and emotional scars, that's only human. As long as your goal is to have less of those days than more, you're on the right track.

May 18, 2009 7:02 AM  
Blogger Indigo said...

That last paragraph said it all dear friend. I have to believe something of beauty comes out of the pain...some days it's the only thing that keeps me going. (Hugs)Indigo

May 18, 2009 12:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Oh...I know something comes out of the pain of injury... But I'm not sure it's always vibrant healthy or beautiful. Certainly it's strong, but it can be strongly negative. The trick is to push away the negativity and focus on the vibrant, healthy, beautiful stuff...

May 19, 2009 12:33 AM  
Blogger daringtowrite said...

Amen. And the grist for a writer's mill.

May 21, 2009 8:38 AM  

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