Scars. Most people have them. Some you can’t see. I have a friend who wears her scars on the outside. Four deep indentations running in a dashed line from hip bone to ankle – four incisions made by a surgeon in a last ditch effort to drain fluid and save her leg and her life after she ended up in septic shock from an infection.
She wears her scars where everyone can see, and she cannot forget. People blatantly stare. She survived the battle but she carriers these souvenirs and the chronic pain. She returned home from the hospital, but there was no victory celebration, no cheering crowds and waving flags.
She just wants to know that it meant something. Everyone says things happen for a reason. Well, hell if she knows what the reason is. Everyone says she is supposed to be grateful that she has her leg and her life. She wants something good to have come of this.
Now she is supposed to appreciate every precious moment. She should be full of love, gratitude and faith. She almost died, so now she should value life more than others. She is supposed to have a lesson to teach the world. She is supposed to turn her tragedy into triumph. She should be over it by now. But she is not. She feels pain. It is hard to shift her focus from this lingering reminder.
She wants someone to listen and understand. Sometimes she just wants to curl up and feel sorry for herself. What she wants more than anything else is not to have to be the survivor, the warrior, and the inspiration. She just wants to be the person she was before all of this. She wants to be carefree; to feel like bad things can’t possibly happen to her, like death is a distant mystery.
She survived the battle, but now she knows something she can never forget. Every single moment of this life we are just hanging onto life by the most fragile of threads. We are all vulnerable, and this knowledge is so scary.
My friend with the scars on the outside, if you can find peace with your precarious mortality, maybe you will no longer struggle. When you can leave the past where it needs to be and not let it taint your present moment with your loved ones, you can truly live again. When you can tell your story in a way in which your triumph shows to people who truly listen and attempt to understand, maybe you can move on to the next chapter.
If you wear your scars on the outside, if you hide them on the inside, if something or someone has knocked you to the ground so hard you thought you could not get back up: pick yourself up, dust yourself off, spit that dirt out of your mouth and stand tall and ready to fight another day. You have become one of the beautiful people whose courage shines from your eyes - who looks out at the world with the audacity to say, “What else you got? Bring it on.” You no longer put up with pettiness, injustice, and cruelty. You have no time to beat around the bush. And if someone is rude enough to stare blatantly at your scars, you can say, “You see these scars? Go ahead and take a good look. I fought death and won. I learned something. Time on this earth is precious, and I don’t have time for this bull****.”.