When I was 7 years old I catapulted from a hotel mattress into a head board with many points, one of which collided with my forehead sending blood rushing down my face. My mom, distracted by the sight of my younger sister scissor-styling new bangs, turned around to see me covered in blood. Some panic, clean-up and bandages later, I was good as new. Well, almost. The mess went away but the scar remained.
A scar is an imprint on who we are, influencing further discovery and development. A mark that tells a story of a certain time and place carrying emotional value and depth. A representation of experienced healing and growth for all to see.
As a culture we aren't interested in 1. scars and 2. showing them. Instead, we are obsessed with concealing, distorting and hiding the "imperfect" parts of who we are. Believing beauty only comes in a package titled, "All You Really Need: Smooth Skin, Long Lashes, Full Lips, Big Ass, Shapely Boobs, Sculpted Tummy." Great, is that it? And when did I forget to check in with myself about what I believe beauty is? When do I start questioning the desire of surface appeal for the value of expressing who I really am?
I've spent the earlier part of my twenties in and out of the modeling industry, cycling through a variety of photo shoots and staged experiences. What you do see is the make-up and the hair and the sexy clothes. What you don't see (though you hear about it) is how much is taken away, removed, from the model completely in the published photo (thighs taken in, collar bones protruded, blemishes vanished, to name a few). What you will never see is who I really am. Why? Because who I really am isn't on the surface. Because who I really am is deep and complex and fascinatingly flawed.
And because I know that about myself, I know that to be true about you, too. I know that what makes you beautiful isn't what you're wearing or how current your hair style is. I know that it has nothing to do with perfection's false promise of, do all this first, then you will be beautiful. What's true about you is what's true. And what's true are the things that have happened to you. And the things that happen to you leave scars, sometimes visually, other times internally. Scars remain and we all have them.
Scars share the stories of what is, over what our culture implies, should be. Influenced by popular opinion, we buy into the notion that being seen, as we really are, is too dangerous and undeserving of love and belonging. Isn't it ironic then that the people we gravitate towards most are those whom we feel we can really see? We ache for nothing more than honest connection built from people simply being who they are.
We cannot continue to perpetuate the belief that perfection is attainable. Or desired even! That concealing, distorting and hiding our truth is worth it. It isn't. It never will be. Not as long as we are carrying around these human bodies with heads and hearts as part of the contract. These pieces of us contain so much more depth than we allow ourselves to share with the world. And at the expense of what? Of appearing like-able in every category instead of demanding honest, vulnerable, life-changing conversations, experiences and relationships? That is too great a loss.
Scars tell the stories we've been dying to hear. Of challenging fear, of being bold and brave and human. They teach us forgiveness and resiliency. When we embrace our scars, we take a step closer to who we really are. And, if we keep sharing from this place, eventually who we are is all it will be. Scars seen and appreciated as necessary pieces of our personal expression and ability to connect. No more cover up. No more illusion. No more deception. No more time to waste.
How do you see your scars? What stories do they tell? Would you be who you are without them?