Scarring

Scars are funny things. They vanish without saying goodbye, or linger like unwanted guests. They are the props with which I narrate my stories, illustrations of my missteps and stumbles.

I can trace the outlines on my thumb, my eyebrow, my hand, my knee, feel the bumps and lines from stitches and cuts. I daresay I would look nicer without them. Certainly I didn’t ask for the wounds that were their predecessors.

And yet…I wouldn’t wish them away, given the choice. They remind me about myself. That I am foolish: who goes running down a hill in the dark and snow? You deserved every inch of that one. That I am not quite as strong as I like the think: yes, you fainted when you chopped your thumb (though thank you Lord for sending attractive men in the ambulance). That I am stronger than I think: You climbed and limped your way out. You sat alone in that emergency room and made friends instead of feeling sorry for yourself. You got through the stitches without anesthetic. You know what it’s like to hurt, and you can handle it.

Scars are funny things. The marks of injuries that no longer sting. Some of them have disappeared, but I still feel the shadows where they were. Others have stayed so long that I would feel blank if they were erased now.

I wouldn’t trade my scars, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like not to have known them.

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