Life has a funny way of knocking us all down, making it seem impossible to get back up. Luckily, the human spirit is stronger than disaster, able to withstand things we thought we weren’t capable of. For some of us, life marks its territory in our lives through physical scars. All with names. Dates. Places. Stories.
A constant reminder of what’s happened to us through old, puckered skin.
Scars aren’t pretty, no matter what anyone says. I should know, I have quite a few. Most from stories told to me, not ones I myself can tell. Scars lining my chest from operations, saving my life, but I don’t remember those tales with my own eyes.
What I do remember is ridicule I received from them. Young girls and gym locker rooms can be a horrible place, full of anxiety and tears. Those days made more scars, both on the inside, and on the outside. I regret the ones on the outside. After so many years, I didn’t magically love my scars, but I co-existed with them. They were telling stories too, and those stories made me. Instead of pride, I was reminded of the things that knocked me down, and I felt stronger because of them.
There are scars on my legs from where I horridly failed to ride a skateboard at twelve. Scars on my hands from stray kittens, when I was only trying to feed them. Scars on my hand from where I broke my pinky in two hauling wood with my Father. Scars with feelings attached.
The only scars life doesn’t show to the world with constant reminders, are the internal ones. The scars I’ve chosen to show. The scars people actually admire, with interested faces asking, “What does that one mean?” The beautiful colors so carefully drawn, swirling symbols and objects. The deepest scar I chose to have being the crown on my ribs, blood splattered from its gold points, dripping down in pools.
Aethetically? It’s hauntingly beautiful. The reminder is not. The memory attached is as gory as the blood, twisting me up inside. But we co-exist, that memory and I. I was eleven when my Mother was diagnosed with Bipolar/Depression. It got so bad she had to be hospitalized for a while. When she came back, I was overjoyed. Over the moon. So happy I could scream!
That feeling didn’t last, the taunts came shortly after her return, directed at my Father and I with accusations that made my skin crawl. Names thrown at me that no child should ever hear, cutting deeper than knives. The one she favored most still sets my teeth on edge. Queen.
I can’t even count how many nights I cried myself to sleep. I even wished she would go away again, and knowing I once thought that now sickens me. She was sick, not the names I called her in my head, just ill. Help came for her, normalcy returning in our lives. I would even go so far to say we’re closer because of that hell of a summer.
I’m even grateful she barely remembers it, like a foggy dream, because I can’t forget. I don’t want to forget. I chose to embrace it, and the scar on my ribs isn’t pretty.
It’s made me strong, and it’s the ugliest scar I have.