Lately I have become a little fascinated with the scarring process. As I have gotten older, I have noticed that the innumerable little cuts and burns I get take much longer than they used to, to heal. Now approaching sixty, I have to be much more careful than before about using ointments that will reduce the scarring, especially on my face. Even the bruises that appear on my arms and legs with more regularity (generally without me even being aware of how I got them) take much longer to go away.
What fascinates me even more, though, are the scars no one but me ever notices: the invisible scars; many of which I acquired in childhood; that no amount of therapy has been able to completely erase. While they are impossible for others to see with the naked eye, they always stare out at me like an admonition when I look in the mirror.
It has always seemed unbelievable to me that I am the only one who sees how ugly those scars are.
I have never made friends effortlessly and I have never really had more friends at any given time than I could number and name on one hand. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, most of those friends just sort of… ‘became’: we might have known one another for a pretty long time before I even realised how precious they had become to me. Every once in a great while, though, a person walks into my heart and we bond instantly. No blending, stirring or simmering required; our friendship just instantaneously ‘is’.
I had the great joy of making a friend like that very recently. The ‘like’ was instantaneous; the love followed quickly behind. We fast forwarded past the tentative ‘getting to know you’ chats straight into deep, soul-sharing, ugly-crying and shopping for slimming underwear together. Because we leapt over the more all-encompassing, mundane and very superficial conversations people have when they are just getting to know one another, and because we haven’t been ‘besties’ for long (just over a year), we often surprise one another with a tidbit we just assumed the other knew. Our conversations are frequently sprinkled with “I didn’t know you were related to so-and-so,” or “I had no idea you didn’t like onions,” or “You like doing puzzles too??”
Recently, I casually mentioned something in passing about my childhood which, up until now, has occasioned no small amount of grief, regret, sadness and yes, a great many scars. She looked up at me in surprise and said, “I didn’t know that about you.”
I was a bit engrossed in some mundane task and didn’t even look up as I casually replied, “Oh, I guess it’s because that doesn’t really define me anymore.” And then we both nonchalantly moved on to another topic of conversation.
It wasn’t until the next day that my casual answer hit me: hard. That particular scar from childhood that has always defined me, while not gone, is almost invisible now. It used to be the ‘thing’ that explained everything about me and yet miraculously, at this point in my life, it wasn’t even significant enough for me to bring up until well into our second year of friendship. And then, only in passing.
Somehow, without even being aware of it, that terrible scar has all but healed.
You can barely see it anymore…
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com