I was listening to someone talk about scars a few weeks back and something he said really resonated with me. He mentioned that scars were the ultimate ice breaker. That it was the easiest conversation starter because we all have at least one.
And the more I think about that fact, the more I believe it to be astoundingly true.
I mean, really think about it…
Scars are more often than not, one of the most interesting things about a person. Or at least I think it is, and not only because I’m a nurse. Be it an emotional or physical scar, it somehow draws the most interest.
And I think that’s because behind each scar we bear, hide or parade is a story. And we as humans, well we love stories. From the smallest of age we loved being read stories at bedtime, we loved it in grade six when the teacher would read to us, and you bet your bottom dollar that we still love a good story over a cold beverage now.
So when it comes to a scar, we are more than happy to hear all about it. I should know, I have four sizeable scars – all from particularly epic accidents involving wheels. After writing off two cars, a motorbike, scooter and a shopping trolley – I’d be almost disappointed not to have some sort of war wound to prove my talent for crashing all things mobile.
The point is, from the moment someone see’s one of my many daredevil acquired scars the first thing they ask is undoubtedly, “How did you get that!?”.
And yeah I’m pretty enthusiastic with my story telling. Just ask my high school friends and they’ll most likely tell you about the many times they heard about my weekend from the other side of the Collage Green. But even if I told my story in monotone, I guarantee you’d still listen just for the simple fact that stories are intriguing – so as it would follow, stories about scars are just downright undeniable.
The other reason I think we love scar stories so much is because we know what it’s like to have one. This is about to get a little bit deep, so hold on tight. We love hearing about other people’s scars because we know that even if your laughing about it now, it’s an imperfection that caused you pain once upon a time and in some odd way, it’s a comfort to know that we are not the only ones to have survived that same pain and bear the proof.
It’s these very scars in which we find commonality and because of that we can relate to each other on a level much less superficially than “Hey, how great is the weather lately?”. We know what it’s like to hurt, and so we know the journey it is to heal.
Last year, I spent a lot of time healing my wounds from the year previous. If you’ve been following you might remember the moment I lost a very close friend towards the end of 2014. Sometimes I think I’m still grieving, but the wound of losing her to me, feels a little more like a scar now. Tender to touch, but no longer bleeding. I know that that scar will always be there, but it’s a perfect imperfection that I think has only made me a little stronger than I ever used to be.
While 2015 was a year of healing, I never really learnt to love my emotional scar as much as I’ve come to love my physical motor vehicle inflicted scars. Because I was never really sure how to love something that caused me so much pain.
But I realise now that embracing a scar (and especially an emotional one) isn’t really about learning to love what caused the pain. It’s about learning to love the journey after the pain. About letting your scar be a reminder of how you fought well enough to survive your greatest battles and knowing that there is purpose behind every hard day.
So this year, 2016, I’m making it about learning to love my scars and all my perfect imperfections. Because they are proof that we can survive our darkest days and sometimes that’s all the reassurance you need.
Happy (Belated) New Years.