Okay, more like the second one than the first one, but still, not quite.
My friend snuck up behind me and poked me in the side. He was just being playful- just trying to get me to squeal loudly by way of reaction. I’d been in a bad mood, and at the time, I chalked my negative reaction up to that. I apologized that I was surly, but I’d been in a bad mood- certainly not a fun, poking mood. Sure, a lot of my reaction had to do with being in a bad mood at the time, but it wasn’t until later that I realized the real reason that I reacted in such a volatile manner is because he’d scratched at one of my scars. Unintentionally, he’d found a scar that I didn’t even know I had.
My ex used to poke me all the time. And given how badly things ended and how I feel about him now, being poked in the same way triggered muscle memory. And I didn’t like it. And so I reacted. But at the time, I just knew that I was irritated beyond explanation. And later it dawned on me: being poked reminds me of him. It’s one of my scars.
We get scars from many things. Sometimes they’re badges of honor, sometimes they’re sources of shame. Sometimes they’re just there, just out of sight. Most scars come with some sort of a story- some more exciting than others- but others we couldn’t tell you how we got them.
They heal with time. They scab over and finally become smooth. They begin to fade.
We heal too. And we begin to forgive (hard), forget (harder), and move on (hardest).
But sometimes when you touch a scar or when someone new notices it and you have to explain the story behind it for what seems like the millionth time, the wound feels like it’s been reopened and all of those memories that you’ve repressed or even come to terms with come flooding back- sometimes more painful than you imagined. Things you thought you were over suddenly bother you again in that fleeting moment, and the pain of the memory is like that of touching a hot stove; you react before you even know what caused it.
As much as these experiences, these ones that bring our scars into the light, can be painful, they also serve as a powerful reminder. You survived. Sure, whatever-it-was left a mark on you. But you survived. And is it really so bad if a situation altered your life in some way? Even now I stand by what I’ve said about everything happening for a reason and all the little moments of your past adding up to one, great you who wouldn’t even be you if you changed the past. Your scars helped make you who your are. Be thankful for them. They’re marks of survivors. The defeated receive the fatal blow; the triumphant walk away with battle scars.
And if your scars are still a little painful, just remember that at least you can feel them.
So, thank you, Jay, for reminding me that it’s okay to have scars. And not only is it okay to have scars, but it’s okay to feel them once in awhile. They’re still there. They’ll always be there. But they’re fading.