When I was little, I took a certain kind of pride in my scars and bruises, especially during the summer. Each summer they were different, this scab from poison ivy, this one from the bike that fell on my leg, this gouge out of the bottom of my foot from a stick on the playground.
There were a few scars that were more permanent, too. The place where I had stitches, when my grandparent’s dog knocked me down. That maybe left another kind of scar as well, because I’m not a dog person.
Maybe because the scars never bothered me, I didn’t mind the acne I had as a teenager. Or maybe it was because I felt no one should be judging me because of my acne. It only lasted for a few years, and I rarely think about it anymore.
This summer I was sick, though, and I have small scars on my arms, legs, back, all over. I have a nearly two inch scar on my lower calf. And for the first time, as I was going through my closet today, I realized I didn’t go bare legged all summer. I wore long skirts all this past summer, when I was out in public. All fall, all winter so far, I’ve worn tights and knee socks and long skirts, and it’s been to hide that scar on my leg.
Maybe I’m not as tough as I was, as a kid. Maybe I care more about what people think of me than I should. But it makes me wonder, if I’m this concerned of what people will think about the scars on my body, what will they think of my scars on my soul? I have a lot of them, and I’m in the habit of hiding them away. I don’t have any pride for these scars, like I did as a kid. I want to hide them away.
I can’t regret being sick, exactly. It wasn’t something I did to myself. I can wish accidents didn’t happen, that there was no such thing as poison ivy, but I don’t really regret that. So why do I regret these scars? I wish I could take pride in what I’ve learned, in what I’ve done, that these scars are the milestones of. But I’m not there yet.