I've been scarred. Both physically and emotionally.
The physical scars are the result of surgeries or (minor) accidents. The knuckles on my left hand show white scars from a fall I took years ago on a sidewalk while heading into a class. I have scars from foot surgery and a Caesarian section when my daughter was born. For the most part, I don't think about these scars very often.
The emotional scars aren't visible to anyone else, but there are a lot more of them, and the scarring goes much deeper.
Unlike physical scars, sights, sounds, smell, and even comments can trigger pain in those places. Psychic reminders of the episodes that led to scarring. Most of the time no one else would notice the shift, but people who know me well see it. Often they know it even before I do. My husband will look at me and say, "What's wrong? You've got your hand over your mouth." Or I'll begin to fidget and look down. A location may be mentioned or a reference to abuse in a movie or book may come up, and my kids will look at me and say, "Are you okay?"
Often I don't even know the physical evidence is there. Sometimes I don't recognize the internal twisting and knotting until I'm well into the pain.
Those scars have been triggered by movies and books and songs and the odor of cigars. The sight of a Jack Daniels' bottle can cause a catch in my throat. Wires and barns are not my friends.
Over time I've found that I can't make the scars disappear, but I can smooth them over a bit. It turns out that studying the scars, becoming familiar with them, has helped me not be sideswiped by them as often. Ignoring the scars won't dissolve them. I know. I tried. But looking at them, learning the contours of their outlines, their shading, and their depth, has made it possible to live with them.
Maybe that's part of the appeal of old things to me. Well-worn toys and furniture and books. They, too, are scarred, but they live on, serving their purposes, helping others, fulfilling their calling, scars and all.
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