Thank you to Shawna over at The Honeyed Quill for posting this emergency writing prompt. The beauty of being in a group like #LinkYourLife is that we all share a sense of power through writing. When one member needs a hand, we rally.
Here’s Shawna’s call to action:
We have all been hurt. Write the hurt.
We’ve all had a moment of regret. Write the regret
We have all triumphed. Write the triumph
Ok, I’m in. But now, what to write.
I’ve had all those moments. And more. I’ve been betrayed, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been abused. None of us gets to the other side of life without scars. Right?
Scar tissue is defined as a tissue formed during the healing process. It replaces normal skin after damage. Replaces normal.
A scar does not cover an injury. It replaces what once was. Scars change normal into something different. It replaces. A scar is not a reminder of an injury. A scar is a permanent change to the part of the body that was injured.
What about emotional scars? The ones we can’t see. What is changed? What is replaced?
Regret has been a close companion of mine because I hate making mistakes. The more I try to live without mistakes, the more likely it is that I screw up. I used to believe I regretted more of my life than I enjoyed.
People like to say we learn from our mistakes. That’s a lie. We don’t learn from mistakes. We don’t change our behavior unless we replace the actions and emotions leading to the scar with something else.
There were several defining moments in my early childhood. They changed the trajectory of my life because instead of believing I was worthy of love for just being myself, I began to believe my value was directly related to what I could offer another human being.
Those wounds did not heal. They did not scar. Therefore, I spent most of my adult life trapped in a vicious cycle of trying to prove I was worthy of love.
I didn’t learn from my mistakes. I continued allowing others to define my worth.
Nothing changed until my life literally collapsed. It sounds dramatic. And it was. My daughters and I fled an abuser with the clothes on our back and the things we could fit in a moving van. I was lucky. I had the strength of my family and friends who helped me pack while the abuser was at work. We were four counties away before my phone started ringing.
I spent the next several months in hiding.
My greatest fear, that he would find us, came true. I got a call from the school my daughter attended. She was hysterical. He was there. I called the police.
I called the police again and again. He waited outside the school property. His truck would appear in my rearview. He showed up at the grocery store. I’d drive around the block, duck into an alley, hoping he wouldn’t find out where we lived.
The police were sorry. Despite the restraining order, there was nothing they could do if he was in a public place. We lived in fear.
About this time, I realized how deep my wounds were. My self-loathing festered. The fact that I couldn’t even keep my children safe finally forced me to see a counselor.
She talked about Hypervigilance, PTSD, Depression. Terms I’d heard, but had no idea applied to me.
The pain from debriding old wounds almost crippled me. The little being that holds our deepest truths felt exposed without cover. But with healing comes scars.
And scars change everything.
What were once open wounds in my soul are now scarred. Beautifully scarred into something that wasn’t there before. Love, strength, acceptance, peace.
The system failed me and my daughters, but we did not fail each other. My family and friends did not fail. I learned that despite mistakes and regrets, my life held more joy than sorrow, more happiness than pain.
My message for anyone fighting to cover emotional wounds, open them up. Let them heal from the inside. Let the world see how beautiful our scars can be. My scars carry power and I wouldn’t change them for all the normal skin in the world.