Scars are stories…
It is quite enthralling to know that much of the knowledge we have of the Earth has come from the commodities and scars that have been left behind by the past. We spend so much time drawing stories onto our skin with needles and artificial ink, but fail to recognize that the most important ones are hidden behind the lines created by the genuine scar tissue that develops in response to the incredibly complicated beauty of life. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if we were born without the ability to see flaws, both in ourselves and in others, but it’s this conclusion that blinds us to the beauty of diversity and the charm of multiplicity. The scar that lines your back from a transformative summer in 2014 when you finally had your spinal fusion, the mark on your knee from when you fell down as a little girl, or the metaphorical scars still connecting their fibers together around your heart…they all tell a story, some more painful than the previous, some less severe than the last, and just like the Earth, we see our own history unfold.
You take your finger and trace from your toes to your nose, and along the way you feel the divots, the canyons, the mountains, and the valleys of your past. You cringe at the heartbreak, you revel in the trials, you squirm at the pain, you dissolve into laughter, and you realize that living a life blind to the charm of it all would be nothing short of monotonous and ordinary. There will be a million people to fall for your inexcusably perfect smile and only a few that will fall for your immutable scars, but what they will fail to notice is that the smile capturing their heart is just a consequence of the scars that you’ve spent so much time trying to hide. You detest the light-purple marks on your belly that have since been consigned to oblivion due to many painfully rewarding hours of labor, and you continuously attempt to iron out your frown lines in response to your tainted reflection, but never fail to forget that their permanence is a reminder of your stunning capacity for empathy. These marks and these scars reintroduce us to the nettlesome discomfort of the rearview mirror, but always re-accompany us with their remarkable ability to recall the sweetest moments…the most perfect memories. You trace the bump on your knee and you feel the rapid twinge of embarrassment swell up in your chest, then you move your finger to the heart-shaped scar on your elbow and reminisce the serendipitous bike ride to the ice cream shop where your since-been-forgotten middle school crush kissed you with his sweet, strawberry stained lips. It’s the cleanest contradiction because each moment is magnificently fleeting and completely eternal and we are met with the same problem we run into all the damn time: How can life be so impossible and completely achievable at the same time? We refresh our memories of these moments with the eternal markings that we carry and are gently reminded that what we once believed to be impossible is nothing short of achievable. It becomes so clear through these voyages that one’s capability isn’t defined by a constricted thought process but by the strength buried in the honeyed marrow of our beings, even if we walk away with a few scars.
Graduating feels like an impossible stepping stone, but before you know it you’re throwing your cap into the blinding May heat, and while the idea of love once seemed inconceivable, you blink and you’re saying yes under the Christmas tree. It’s these cracks in time that stamp themselves into the chronicles of eternity and into the reference books of this seemingly impossible but perfectly achievable life. Sometimes the scars we are left behind with aren’t shown by a patch of flawed skin but instead become a highlighted sentence in our own personal “guides to life.” Life isn’t eternal, but the feelings we leave with are, and it seems so perfectly planned to have just enough time to reference the permanence of the past to adjust the elasticity of the future. It is a gift that is so often taken advantage of because the convenience of comfort is so much more complacent than adding another mark to the many. I must point out that it is the most decorated house that receives the most attention, the pink hair that almost always draws a second glance, and the gnarliest scar that tends to the best story. The convenience of comfort is just as dangerous as the next big move, regardless of the scars you gain or not, because convenience and commitment are on opposing teams. Convenience will leave you with pages and pages of words while commitment will finally highlight the sentence you’ve been waiting to read. Everyone carries a representation of their history, some stitched into the lining of their souls, and some graphed into the skin protecting them from the vulnerability of humanity, but all of them lend themselves to the pink-haired and gnarly-scarred perfection of permanence.
Permanence is a scary word because it implies forever. Humans reject the idea of forever because it implies commitment, and in many cases the commitment to permanence is incredibly daunting. “Putting a ring on it” ties you to a promise that implies forever, signing a contract usually suggests a “really long time”, and it’s these undying realities that cause us to grab a hold of the temporary. Temporary isn’t lasting, and while it may leave us with moments of comfort, it doesn’t impact us the same way infinity does. Infinity is interesting because it doesn’t exist in humanity the way it is conceived in space. In space, there is one infinity by the simple fact that it goes on and on forever, but for humans, the impact of just one day can infinitely effect us and become a part of a collection of a hundred other infinities. Such a seemingly complicated subject is easily simplified: These infinities are the permanence, the avoidance of temporary, and the scars that we fall asleep with at night and carry with us into the next day. They are the experiences that are so incredibly hard to explain, yet so easy to understand. Your scars, your marks, and your feelings are your own little collection of infinities.
Scars, the pain of a heartbreak, and the joy of success become reference points as we go through life. There is no official guide to help us through it all, but it’s the lasting effects of these impressionable events where we learn to write our own. The torn fibers of your heart remind you to never give it away too easy again, the scar on your shin reminds you to refrain from bicycling while drunk, and that icky feeling you get when you see him reminds you that it takes a thousand toads to find your prince. There is no use in being ashamed of your bumps, bruises, and scars because regardless of their connotations, they lend themselves to the beautiful human that you are slowly becoming…and it’s true, you are beautiful. Some of the most beautiful people I know are the ones that have the most scars, whether I can see them or not, because they have so much more to offer than a story about the convenience of comfort. They cut the pages and pages of meaningless words and finally read the one sentence that you’ve been waiting to hear. Experience is a delicate gift but we do it an injustice to assume failure prior to taking a chance. The scar of not trying is so much more painful than the scar obtained from giving it your best. Life is so much easier to look at and learn from when it’s in hindsight. You can’t learn from anything if you’re stuck and you will never be able to find that sentence if you’re too afraid to acquire a few scratches along the way.
I don’t have to see your scars to know that they were created by the tenderness of your beautifully complex history. I have my own scars, some that I am ashamed of, some that effect me daily, and some that I will always be thankful for, and it’s through these markings that I have begun to write my own guide to the complex permanence of experience. The scar that traces your spine is so incredibly important to your story and it will continue to sew itself into the pages you have yet to write, the mark on your knee from when you were a little girl will always be there to remind you of your carefree spirit, and the fibers of your heart will always find a way to repair themselves in preparation for the inevitability of heartbreak. To be blind to these flaws would simply be a misfortune because it would remove the empathy necessary to cope with the sting of history. These scars, these bumps, and these bruises are so much more than a result of the faulty system of life. They are a part of your beauty…they are the scars to your beautiful.
…like history written on your body
Inspiration for post: Maddy, the permanence of the past, elasticity of the future
Cue The Music: (press to listen)
ºYou & Me by Marc E. Bassy now that’s groovy
ºHuman by Jon Bellion (soooooo good)