scars

Why am I letting him do this to me? The first-aid guy at camp was repeatedly pouring peroxide over my wounded knee. I watched as the liquid exploded into white foam and my nerves shot me with pain.

This was not the first time I saw him this week. The girls and I had gone running in the trails behind camp and I caught a rock just right and came away bloody. I couldn’t be a total baby because I was the counselor, so I kept the profuse whining to myself.

But after that episode there was night-free-time and how could I let the girls go off the blob in the moonlight without me? So what if I soaked myself in the murky water of the lake? I was bonding.

And sure enough, that bonding contributed to a beautifully infected and painful quarter sized patch on my right knee where my skin used to be. So the first aid guy told me we had to lift off the scab with the peroxide to remove the infection and start over, taking better care of it this time.

Okay.

My mouth seemed to need to chatter off any and every thing in order to cope with the pain. So I rattled off the history of that poor knee and how as a little girl I tripped across the neighbor’s patio with a glass in my hand. That was the most blood I had ever seen as a four-year-old.

“Yes,” he said. “That incident probably made this experience more painful. Opening a scar always magnifies the pain.”

I think about that every time I run trails. I remind myself to be extra careful lest we bust that knee again.

Through the years the scar has healed well and now appears only faintly as the pink skin blends with my pasty pale white in the most unnoticeable way. When I rub my finger over the area I can only feel the slightest bit of sensitivity, like that patch of skin is starting to fall asleep.

Scars certainly don’t require the same amount of care or carry the same sensitivity as the initial wounds creating them, but they do mark some tender places and require different protection than other areas of our bodies. They are places where our skin may be a little thinner; wounds are riskier, may hurt more, and may take longer to heal.

They remind us that we are human. That we are not indestructible like we may sometimes pretend that we are. And they also remind us of our capacity to heal. That we made it through some difficult, painful experience. And that although we now have a place that is more vulnerable than it was before, we  survived.

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11 thoughts on “scars

  1. We definitely share a brain, my dear! :).

    I have scars on my knees, too. One is from an adventure rock climbing in Canada after a rainstorm. I slipped, and banged my knee up against the side of the mountain. Then I continued to climb, leaving a trail of blood behind me. I reached the top feeling so tough. The other scar, of course, is from tripping over my own two feet on a flat sidewalk while trying to catch a train two blocks from my house. I like how they act as reminders of these two sides of me – fearless, impulsive, rock climber and also, eternal klutz.

    But I also like them for the reasons you’ve so wonderfully articulated here. They are a reminder of past pain, and past experiences, and current, consistent survival.

    Lovely post, friend. Just lovely. xoxo

    • itsakoolife says:

      Oh Francesca! I LOVE your two scar stories and how wonderfully yin & yang they are and how you embrace them both and the parts of you they represent as well. So fun. Thank you, my friend!

  2. jim says:

    So true. I often try to hide my scars as I feel they can tell others too much about me.

  3. oh wow. that is a captivating thought… a compelling analogy… and it makes me hurt inside my legs. it’s true re-injury brings up extra pain… the one that you have right then, and the one that you remember.

    how much truer when it is our heart that is scarred… and re-injured… the pain, however, validates the truth of the love.

    i will never look at a scar the same again. or underestimate the pain someone is experiencing when they are attacked in the site of their scarring.

    • itsakoolife says:

      Robyn – thank you so much! Grateful to have you visit here and leave a piece of yourself as well. I love what you said about the pain validating the truth of the love. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Beautifully written! I came via Jeff Goins’ recommendation, read Naked, and stayed to keep reading.

    I have this emergency appendectomy scar in my navel from last October. It’s ever so tiny, because it was a laparoscopy, but it marks a time when I was immensely grateful. For being able to finally turn over in bed without the draining tube tugging on my stitched up skin, for having had such great care at the hospital, for my husband stepping up with the cat care, for the well wishers, for the reminder that we can be reduced to utter helplessness in an instant and can only rely on others and the mercy of God.

    I think I might need to do some navel gazing today to bring me back to that place of unconditional gratitude.

  5. itsakoolife says:

    Nice! Thank you for coming and staying to read more! Grateful to have you and grateful for your contribution of thoughts! Love what you had to share. Happy navel gazing! 🙂

  6. Absolutely love the way you write. So honest and warm.

  7. Ouch! Glad you’re okay!

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