Travelling in on the train today I glanced at a young lady heading to town. Sharply dressed and confident she looked to be an office worker starting her week. It wasn’t the clothes that caught my eye, it was some other feature. This feature told me, in one glance, that the confidence was not natural it had been learnt. The feature was the network of straight, almost parallel, scars on her forearm. It was only a glimpse before a sleeve fell down covering her history. I looked up to a confident face with just a hint of discomfort that I may have seen something. There are few advantages to looking like I do, if you exclude guaranteed entrance into bar brawls, but this is one. I waited for her eyes to take in my tattooed arms and reach the scars. You can see a change in people’s eyes that confirms that the marks have registered. We didn’t talk, I smiled and she smiled back. I went back to writing this post and she turned to her newspaper.
The whole thing got me thinking that Ms Nature may not be all bad. I refuse to cover a single tattoo on my body because they tell my story. I don’t regret the names that mark my skin because they are part of me. I think the same should be said of scars. They are not, by any means, a positive enhancement but neither are they shameful or embarrassing. We wear far fewer scars on our skin than we do on our heart and our soul after all. Why do we seek to hide the marks that tell our story? We should grow with them and learn to understand them as we do our past. Even before the accident I had a good collection of scars. I work with my hands and I am just that sort of fella. Tattoo ink has covered a large number of minor scars but I can still find them. Even the latest scars don’t bother or disturb me, after all can there be any better image to attest to the statement ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’?
Next time you notice a scar on a stranger remember that this is simply part of their story.