Wednesday, December 17, 2014

on wounds and healing

They say that time heals all wounds. 

They being that anonymous, formless voice of knowledge and wisdom that we revere and that represents collective history and mutual human experience. 

They say that time heals all wounds, and I believe them. 

What they don't say is that time won't leave scars. 

No, the scars remain, a reminder of the pain the wounds once inflicted. And a reminder that what once was a gaping wound—raw, aggravated, and painful—is now knit back together and puckered. 

Most scars fade with the passing of time. But like the burn mark on my left forearm, they still remain. Others may not notice the wrinkled skin between my wrist and my elbow, but I do. I know it's there, even though I don't remember the pain of its creation. And maybe by the time I have my own two-year-old who disobeys when I tell her no; no, don't touch the iron—it's hot, and it will hurt you, my own scar will have faded enough that not even I notice its presence. 

But maybe not. 

Time heals all wounds. But time does not reverse the injury; it doesn't take a burn or a cut or a scrape and revert it back into the smooth, unmarked skin it once was. It takes what it has and molds it as best as it can to fit your body in its present state. Time doesn't erase; it doesn't turn back the clock.

And as time heals, it make those wounds and those scars a permanent part of your being. The jagged, wrinkled, puckered skin of a scar merges seamlessly with the unmarred stretches of skin around it. The scars and the wounds don't huddle together in one portion of the body—the blemished away from the whole. Scarred skin and unscarred skin inhabit the same portion of the same canvas.

And though the pain of a wound will eventually fade, the fact that it once existed changes you, even if it's just in the slightest way. You're left with a memory of an embarrassing fall or a spiteful shove or a hilarious mishap.

But when it all comes down to it, I love my scars—both the ones visible on my skin and the ones imprinted on my soul. I think they're beautiful, and I think they make me stronger. Yes, sometimes they bring back memories of excruciating pain, but more often they remind me that after the pain and the hurt comes healing. And after the healing comes renewed strength. After the healing comes the growth and change. 

I choose to grow from my scars; I choose to be proud of my experiences—even the painful ones—instead of hiding them away. 

I choose to let my current wounds heal, to not poke at scabs or irritate sensitive skin, so that someday I can grow from those scars too, and I can see them as the beautiful experiences that they are. 

1 comment:

  1. Um, yep I needed your beautiful words. Way to go Maddie. Show them scars off.