I went to the dermatologist yesterday. I had a spot on my face I wanted her to look at. Apparently, the rule at the dermatologist is that they want to look at everything.
And trust me, if I’d known I was going to strip down and wear an extra large paper towel for an hour of my afternoon I might have shaved my legs and worn cuter panties.
Instead I found myself standing there in not my favorite underwear and a paper towel while she measured moles on my thighs and back and everywhere else.
She kept asking me if certain spots had always been there. If they’d always looked like that. Been that dark or that big or shaped like the state of Connecticut.
A few were familiar, but most of the time I had no idea. Some spots she pointed out I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen before. Much less noticed their diameter, shade edges, or spotting. I have lots of moles and freckles. They just showed up. I don't keep track. You can’t expect me to name them or remember them.
However, if she had asked me about my scars. The ones on my knees, forehead or anywhere else. Those I know. They all come with stories. They aren’t so easily missed or forgotten.
I’ve written about my favorite scar before here …
And scars are something I consider "the ugly beautiful", as Anne Voskamp likes to call it.
Scientifically speaking (or at least according to Wikipedia), scars are fibrous tissues that replace normal skin after an injury. It results from the body’s natural way of repairing anything that has been damaged. It is a natural and critical part of healing. And not all wounds leave a scar. Only big, deep ones. Scars are actually made out of the exact same proteins as the tissue it replaces. But. It is still different. It looks different. It acts different. And it is more sensitive. They change us.
And why I am even thinking about this in the first place. Barron Batch, most well known for being an impressive running back that was recently drafted to the Pittsburg Steelers, also happens to be a fantastic writer. Just a few days before his first pro game ever, he tore his ACL. Recently out of surgery, this is what he had to say about it on his blog:
“I have a new scar now. Its permanent address is my left knee. It is a work of art created by the artist simply known as Life. Life doesn’t discriminate whom she scars physically or emotionally. However, over my 23 years of life I have come to realize the beauty of scars. How crazy would it be if once wounds healed they didn’t leave a mark, what if there were no scars? What if we healed without a reminder or what was? Would you forget the pain that you endured? Would you forget the healing process that took place? Would you even forget the wound altogether?
Scars serve as a permanent reminder of our fragility but more importantly our strength. Scars are proof of what you have overcome. Every time I look at my many scars I remember how weak I was at the time the wound was formed, and what formed it. I remember the healing process. I remember the strength I didn’t know I had to push through, and I remember eventually being healed.”
(you can read the whole thing here if you want. and trust me, you want to)
Every scar reminds us that we have been permanently changed.
And more importantly healed.
Weakened. And then made new.
So wear them with pride. Tell their stories. Don’t forget the lessons you’ve learned.
Mine for example:
Don’t scratch even if it itches bad. (the big chicken pock scar on my forehead).
Don’t ride on the hoods of cars. (a nice one on the side of my wrist).
Go easy on the turns. (a thick scar on my knee from a bad biking wipeout)
Duck. (a nice one on my hairline that almost needed stitches).
I had no idea I could love anyone that much. Twice. (a 6-7 inch pink line across my lower abdomen)
And I have plenty more. But what I don’t have. Open wounds. (at least not for long). Because more importantly than all my scars. Is the fact that they always heal. Some need stitches or staples or band aids. No matter how careful we are, we will get injured. But. We are continually being put back together. It gets better, it just might leave a mark.
the song I've wanted to listen to at least a dozen times the last 2 days for no reason other than it makes me happy...
but the more obvious choice for today's post..