It’s funny how people see scars as something to be afraid of, or intrigued by. We all have scars, small ones we got when we fell off our bikes as kids and are barely noticeable, or larger ones that we gained as we’ve been involved in accidents or surgery, that are a kind of badge of survival that we made it through and came out the other side.
Then there are the hidden scars, the emotional ones that we look at and know that in some way, they have changed us so dramatically that we will never be the same again. And the worst thing about emotional scars, is no one can see them. No one knows you have them, unless you make a point to highlight the existence of a scar that runs so deep within your psyche that it has changed the way you view all your interactions with people and things.
Doing research for new projects often brings about a side of us that we didn’t want to think about. I have scars; scars from childhood where I fell or tripped. Two deep ones on either shin from falling and landing on my shins, I can see you wincing in expectation of the pain I felt, it was excruciating let me tell you, but they are my battle scars, from childhood when I was more tom-boy that dainty girl. I have a scar on my left foot from boiling water when I was eight-years-old. My young niece pulled the cup off the table and I happened to be sitting there. I supposed I saved her from getting splashed!
Then there’s the multiple scars I have on my hands, from doing lino-cutting at school with a deep slice in the tip of my left thumb, to the multiple scrapes across my knuckles, the lastest scar while washing dishes and a glass cracked while my fingers were inside!! I got three stitches for that, without anaesthetic… don’t ask!
My deepest and most significant scar is the one on my knee, received through a total knee replacement in December 2010. I walked with crutches for six months and a walking stick, my Moses staff, for two months. Now the only thing that bothers me is airport security gates!
But my point is, that despite everything we go through, a scar marks us, never allowing us to forget the time, place or circumstances we were in when we received the mark. The smaller and less traumatic become something we can boast about between friends or new acquaintances, while the significant ones we shy away from expressing the deeper hurts that enraged us as we suffered, and calmed us when we got through to the other side and peace.
Wanting to put our fictional characters through their paces is one way to create conflict and drive a story line. One of my new characters was involved in a serious car accident, that left her body and face with multiple scarring. The research for this is, understandably, very difficult. To see people with disfiguring marks; scars from reconstructive surgery, lines of stitches that criss-cross a persons’ torso, lets you know the have been through the wringer. But the deepest scars come from the feelings inside. The whispers, the stares, the speculation.
I once had two black-eyes, sustained from breaking my nose. It was an awful injury and a painful memory. A woman looked at me with disgust and threw the fault of my injury at me, without understanding a thing about the circumstances. I was deeply hurt, annoyed and resentful. The resulting small scar across the bridge of my nose is barely noticeable, unless I point it out, which I don’t, but I understand the unkind things people say in ignorance.
So, for all the people who have scars, I salute you. You are the brave warriors brandishing your battle marks for the world to see and know that you have survived, one way or another. You are not unscathed, but you wear your marks with pride, because you did it. And for those of you that have those scars unseen, you too, I salute you. Your pain is all the more severe for no-one having noticed that you suffered it. Remember, there is always someone out there, who although may appear ‘normal’, they are dealing with situations that no one knows about, unless they chose to tell you, and if they tell you, remember it took a lot for them to do so.
#ManInChains Coming Soon!!!