When I woke up this morning I noticed the scars under my left eye – several small pink slivers running in parallel lines. Sometimes they look more apparent when I first awaken, when my skin is paler from sleep and under the harsh lights of the bathroom mirror. They seem to fade as they day unravels or sometimes I don’t even notice them at all.
These scars are some of my numerous collection, some from mishaps in my childhood – falling off my bike, scuffles with my siblings, nicking a razor against my knee – and others earned later in life. Come to think of it the scars in my adulthood are from similar fates – many of them bike related – an errant tree branch as I tear long the trail, an unfriendly chain cog grabbing my shin, gravel embedding itself in my elbow as I slide along the path after losing control.
I realize these scars are gained from doing. If I wasn’t so adventurous, then I wouldn’t have many of them. There is a tradeoff, an opportunity cost – by putting oneself in a situation to get hurt, that might just happen – you get hurt. I think there are likely more injuries and scars in Park City, where I live, than other parts of the world. But that is because people are out there, testing themselves, defying gravity, pushing the limits – skiing, biking, hiking, sailing – doing. Would you want to pick the alternative and limit your adventures to stay scar free?
Scars may be physical signs of imperfection, but I think they can be beautiful. They tell a story, they become part of you. I remember reading in the book Little Bee, by Chris Cleave “…I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”
I think this is powerful. In the book there were instances of scars being inflicted by others. Whether inflicted, accidental, or self-inflicted, and physical or emotional, I think it still stands true – a scar means you’ve been through something and come out the other side. A scar is survival and strength. My friends have a variety of scars, some of which I have heard the stories about, and others not, some are from playing – swimming pools, golf clubs – and others from things such as the removal of suspicious looking moles. All the scars distinctive and beautiful, like each of us. I’m learning to love my scars and the skin I am. They are part of who I am. They tell my story and make me uniquely me.