Tuesday 22 July 2014

Collect your scars and wear them well.

We are all a product of our past. The things that happen to us.
The things we do. The way we interpret them.
The power we continue to give.
We are a product of wounds and scars held together by good times, many or few.

I've been thinking a lot about the past. Being stuck in bed will do that to you. Nothing but my thoughts are active. My limbs too weak to tap away on the phone or keyboard leave me to ruminate.
To pull apart and review with fresh eyes. A past of decades, years and months.

The past is continuous and fluid. Each second experienced becomes past in a heart beat. No neat lineal path. But a collection of events, some leapfrogging others to link then to now. Peeled away and re-stitched to other events in varying orders as more is understood. As we better understand others.
As we better understand ourselves.

My idea of good and bad unique to me. A matter of perspective.
A matter of choice and chances, made by myself and others.

Looking back I wish others had behaved better. Looking back I wish I'd behaved better.
It goes both ways if you're honest.

Wounds happen. Scars cover them. Some scars are better that others. Some never fully heal and others become part of the landscape.

Don't talk about it. It being, anything.
You don't talk about that. Don't share. Don't speak up. Be quiet.
That's embarrassing. No one wants to hear about that

The 1980s were a different land. You didn't talk about illness. You didn't talk about family. You didn't talk about things that happened to you or your friends. Secrets whispered in the dark to girlfriends, or more often hidden from those who unbeknownst to you lived the same life and had the same problems. Wounds were gathered with alarming regularity and varying severity, but always hidden from public view.

You didn't talk about anything that mattered, that shaped, that broke, or mended. You hid it all and stuffed it down. And the universe laughed at your efforts. And the more you stuffed that down the stronger it became. Shaping you in ways you were unaware, or at least you stuffed down any semblance of awareness that dared to try and break through. The way you thought about them was warped by the times. Warped by lessons internalised since the earliest days of memory.

And if you did think about it. If you did feel. You told yourself it was wrong. That no one else thought like you. That you were weak. That there was something wrong with you. Shame born of silence.
A burden born by all yet experienced alone.

Breaking through that has been a hard road. I would start to speak and then withdraw even further. I would sit back whilst others spoke and say nothing of my own experience. Fear of judgement still shaping my interactions. Even now there are things never discussed. Some forgotten until something in the day-to-day clicks and it comes into awareness. Some that just sit there waiting to be shared but being pushed back down. Not yet. Not the time. One experience at a time, thanks.

The scars of life.
They shape you.
They shape how you think about yourself.
They shape how you think about others.

Shame and weakness. Never being good enough. Never trusting others.
They are the burdens I carry. They are the burdens that many carry.

I'm not sure when that began to change. I'm not sure why. I do know that it's an ongoing process.
An emotional cha cha cha. 

But instead of letting that past define me. Instead of letting all the bad shape me. I chose to see it as a blueprint for what I don't want. I want to remember the past. I need to remember the past. Not to dwell on the times I felt less, or the times I felt scared, or sad, or lonely. I want to remember the past to shine a light on the now.

I can't change the past. I can't change the hurts. But I can begin to heal them. I can chose how I respond. I can choose to see them as part of my story but not all of it. Plot points in the overall theme. I will acknowledge them not hide from them. And I will try to check myself and the power I give them.

For every failure there is a little thread of healing. Because every time I let it out, it is a victory. A triumph not seen before. Some scars take more time than others.
Their eventual healing all the more meaningful for the struggles faced.

I am my past. A past I am slowly learning to own. Forgiven not forgotten.
A marker by which to fully see my achievements.

I am still here and I am still kicking. I made it through. I made it. And I continue to make me.

I will speak my mind and my heart.
Sometimes with fear, but always with conviction.
I will speak to share, to heal others as much as myself.

I will collect my scars and wear them well.



  1. "Looking back I wish others had behaved better. Looking back I wish I'd behaved better.
    It goes both ways if you're honest."


    1. I think we often want to believe it's others 'doing' as that's easier to deal with, but it can be our own behaviour we need to acknowledge at times, and that can be more confronting in some ways.

  2. "Some scars take more time than others.
    Their eventual healing all the more meaningful for the struggles faced".
    I sometimes wonder about my slow scars, if I will ever have the strength to pick up that 'thread of healing,' pull it and let it all unravel. This song is really beautiful Michelle, thanks for sharing it. Families, eh.

  3. I think there may be some that it can take a lifetime to contemplate examining. In the writing memoir workshop I went to they talked about what you can share now and what you may need to wait until all the other players are gone to share, and some which may never make it in. The parameters are different for each of us as to what we can include and when, as are the risks to ourselves and others in sharing, I think it is the same for life in general. But share or not, process or not, for me in remembrance there is knowledge of what I don't want in my life or the lives of my kids. And that has value. xx

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  5. Thank you for this post and as always I am in awe of someone so articulate as you.

  6. "I will collect my scars and wear them well"- this seems like a good mantra at this point in my life. Thank you for yet another incredible piece that is so honest yet so soothing. I wonder if you know the comfort your posts bring others? I hope so xx


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