A few weeks ago, a man asked me about the large palm-sized scar that wraps around my calf. He pointed it out and I told him the short story – it’s from a motorcycle – and after his eyes widened for a moment he moved on to a new subject.
The truth is… the scar comes attached to an entire story. It’s the period at the end of a sentence that began with singing over candlelight, champagne paired with cigars, and palm trees that whizzed by and blurred out of vision on a humid night. And like most scar stories, it’s a tiny glimpse of the experiences that have made me who I am.
A lot of us were raised to keep our troubles to ourselves, or as I was always told, to not “air my dirty laundry.” And while there is a lot to be said about positivity and showing a pleasant face, when do we decide we’ve had enough? At what point do we pull down the mask and show the people around us all of our scars?
I always ask people to think of three of their closest friends. Can you remember the moment you first felt close to them? It’s usually when they told you something real about themselves – maybe it was a story about their mom, or about a pet, or about their deep-seated fear of rollercoasters. But it was real, and it was a small piece from the big giant complex beautiful complicated puzzle that we all have inside.
Mary Lou Kownacki once wrote, “there isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story,” and I still believe that to be true. Aren’t our stories what make us into who we are? Aren’t we just the sum of our memories and scars? We should be proud of our experiences – joyful, painful, and terrible – because they’ve shaped us into the warriors we’ve become. They are what have given you your strength, your courage, and they are what make you uniquely beautiful. I used to tense up when people asked me too many questions about my past. I’d pivot and swerve and change the subject.
But now, I tell my stories like I wear my scars: with pride, concealer free, with the mask pulled off and ready for the sunshine.
Peace, love & motorcycle rides — Lauren Marie