“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
We’ve all got scars – on the inside, if not on the outside.
It’s been a rough week. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to write about – decisions, depression, death – but I want to try and end this week on a more upbeat note. I know, Dear Reader – scars aren’t the most upbeat of subjects, hence the more part.
Lately, I have been spending a lot of time in self chosen isolation, pondering my life and what I have to deal with. As I wrote last week I’ve begun (or rather restarted) a difficult project that has me revisiting a lot of painful memories – wounds inside of me that have yet to heal. I’m hoping that by end of this I will have turned them into new scars instead. Scars are a good thing, really – they are proof that we have healed and recovered, stronger than what was before we were wounded. Every scar comes with it’s own story and it’s own lessons, helping to shape who we are. Many cultures have used scarring in one form or another as rites of passage; proof that the person carrying them has matured into a new role – as an adult, as a member of a certain tribe, to fulfill a certain function in society.
Scars have power.
Most of my scars have been on the inside, until recently. As part of my healing process – and as a rite of passage of sorts – I chose to display my inner scars on my skins in the form of a tattoo (a small part of which you can see above). That step has really helped me work through things and move forward, a visualized turning point in my life.
Regardless of what wounds we have suffered in our lives – physical or psychological – the important thing is that we have survived them. We’ve dealt with the pain, gone through the healing process, and we’ve moved on. We’ve changed. In some cases it has made us stronger, in other cases weaker, but in all cases it has made us wiser and more experienced.
So whether you show them or hide them, whether they are on your body or on your soul or both, be proud of your scars. They helped make you who you are.
- Read – A Grief Observed; C. S. Lewis
- Watch – Gran Torino; Clint Eastwood
- Listen – If I Ever Leave This World Alive; Flogging Molly
I sort of just stumbled upon your blog and found your notion of scars interesting. As someone with a physical scar as a result of depression, I used to look upon it with a sense of dread. Nowadays, it’s either a neutral feeling, or a sign of having overcome hardship, as you’ve described it.
Hi Joseph, thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
I used to feel a certain ambivalence about my scars – and scars in general – but over time I’ve shifted more and more to seeing the positive: to see them as reminders not of the bad thing that happened, but of the growth and healing that came after.
We all deal with things differently, of course, and I’ve known people who couldn’t heal the psychological damage until they had cosmetically lessened the actual physical scars that came with it.