Saturday, May 28, 2011
And what you're looking at is my scar. I've had other scars, and those have faded for the most part, unless you knew exactly where to look...but this one...well...the doctor even said I will most likely not see it go away. It will probably always be there with me.
Sometimes, when I'm somewhere fancy or dressed nicely, or at a job interview...situations like that...I become really really self-conscious about it. For one, it's pretty prominent. Even moreso than the picture would lead you to believe. Sometimes when I'm nervous, when I've been working out, or random other things that get blood flowing to the area, it gets red and is even more noticeable. It's raised and you can feel it easily if you touch my arm. And quite frankly, it looks a bit like a scar you'd see on someone who was a cutter. And while people that really know me wouldn't think that, sometimes I wonder if that's what people see when they see it.
Sometimes, on better days, I look at it and I smile. On the good days, I'm actually proud of this scar. That seems like a damaged point of view, doesn't it? But the truth of the matter is this: This scar is from the first day I lived in New Mexico. It happened when I was moving boxes around in Los Alamos. I thought it was just the box that cut me, but in retrospect, I don't know that cardboard could cut quite that deep, so it may have been a staple in the box. The weird thing was, I didn't feel it. I think that was a combination of fatigue and altitude and complete emotional chaos. Steve just told me I was bleeding, and when I looked down, I definitely was. I remember being a little shocked that I was bleeding that *much*. It didn't want to stop right away either. Many months later at the ER for something completely unrelated the doctor saw this scar and told me I should have gotten stitches for it. I didn't have insurance and I sure as hell didn't want my first day in the state to be at a hospital/er/clinic. So...once the bleeding stopped, I let it go. I actually got to watch it heal. It closed itself up...little filaments would bridge across the sides, it would scab up, that would fall away, and then more bridges, more scabbing, more falling away. Eventually, it settled in to what it is now. I know it's a little gross to think about, but it's also kind of amazing the way the body can actually stitch itself up, if given a chance.
And on a good day, I'm proud of it, because it stands for so much for me. You can't look at me and see the sleepless night in Libertyville before I left. You can't see me on the hotel bed the first night of the drive, trying to coax Ana out of her cage, watching her little body shake in fear and feeling awful for scaring her and uprooting her, and realizing I felt the same. I called Pastor Lynn from the hotel room that night, and as soon as he spoke I fell apart. I sobbed until my body shook. Afraid, sad, so much wanting a hug from him or my mom, not sure what on earth I was doing or if I should do it. He told me it was ok to be scared and that he loved me. I managed a thank you and cried til I felt like I couldn't breathe. But I washed my face off, and I watched the dirt (how I got that dirty on the road I don't know) swirl down the drain, and I got past it. And I drove, and when I crossed the border and I started to see the red rocks rising out of the flatness, you couldn't have taken that smile from me no matter what you did. It was literally 100 degrees and i just wanted to fling the doors open, get out of the car and run until I couldn't run anymore. And when I see that scar on my arm, I remember that I got it doing something that not everybody will ever do, or can do. That that's from when I changed my life and followed my heart, and that it ISN'T something everyone will do or can do. Sometimes, that scar reminds me of my strength.
The truth is, tonight isn't a good night. Tonight, the various scars I've collected in my life are red and inflamed. And I'm having trouble seeing beyond that. Right now, I'm seeing the walls I've built. The way that I'm erasing the good that that scar does me. Because I don't feel brave. I feel like I can't say what I need to say. There's people that I should stand up to, there's mistakes I've made that make me feel disgusted. I feel like I can give all this good energy and care and I'm completely giving it to people who don't care and will never even have the capacity to reciprocate, and I'm keeping it from someone who does because I'm afraid to get hurt. Because I can't remember right now that I have the capacity to heal and grow past it. That it will close up and fall away. That the glaring white I see as ugly is new skin where there was damage. And I want to go past that. I don't want to sit here and feel misdirected, sad or lonely. But if I was being honest, that's how I feel. And I'm not letting the wound heal over, but I know I want to. I always saw people who couldn't get past the things that hurt them and I felt bad, because I knew there was so much in them, that they had the capacity to just...be so happy and so loved, if they'd let themselves. And now? Every so often I look in the mirror, on a bad day, and I'm that person.
And that? I don't want to be. I want to always see those scars as strength, and capacity to heal.
So this is me, trying to write a bridge across the wounds that hurt tonight.