All Twitter wars aside (planned or not), Taylor Swift sure can come up with some poignant and universal lyrics about love and relationships:
“It’ll leave you breathless or with a nasty scar.”
It’s either one or the other, usually in that order.
The above song lyric about what it feels like to fall, be, or survive the pitfalls of love are all I was hoping to say when I wrote
I am used to scars. I have had them since I was twelve years of age, and I would go on accumulating scar after scar through my teenage years.
These were physical scars. They were unwanted and yet I began to collect them with pride because they were real representations of the medical traumas I had suffered and survived. Every one of those times I went under anesthetic and awoke to recover once more I was proud of that fact.
It’s handy when a scar can be kept secret under clothing. As I took on more and more surgical scars, this became harder and harder to accomplish.
Soon the teenager in me became much too self-aware and I never would have considered wearing a bikini, which would have meant I would have had no other choice but to show off my abdominal scars.
Sure, I say I was proud, but I still couldn’t do it. I’d heard too much about the lengths people went to hide their scars, including more surgeries. This always seemed ridiculous to me.
I couldn’t hide the long scar I had running up the centre of my back either. I couldn’t hide any of them really, so why bother?
It became an exercise in futility, both exhausting and fruitless.
Physical scars are permanent reminders of my medical history, but I would soon start picking up scars of a different kind, along the way to adulthood.
It’s these emotional and psychological scars, invisible no matter what I might be wearing, that I keep taking on as the years come and go. They are much easier to hide in plain sight, but they heal much slower, feeling like they could split wide open at any moment.
It’s these scars I found it impossible not to use as the basis for the short story I wrote last fall, but I had no idea, then, about a project soon to be in the works. This collection of stories would be called
It seemed the perfect place, a perfect fit for the story I had needed to tell. Love had given me enough scars, emotional scars this time, to rival the scar tissue I had on my body.
I gather these invisible scars, along with my physical ones, and I hope both kinds will make me stronger. They carry some shame and some embarrassment along with them, of which I struggle sometimes to live with, but they are reminders I will keep with me always.
It’s hard to open myself up, to someone, to anyone. It’s hard to let them see that I do, in deed, possess both types of scars. It’s a risk and I sometimes fear I won’t be able to accept that, but I do. What else is there?
Love and life carry with them both the good and the bad. Love can do both things Swift sings about in “Blank Space”.
Love can take your breath away with its intensity. Then, you can walk away from such intensity, marked by the emotional scars that remain.
The universal truth of this astounds me every day. That is what gave me the fuel to write my story and that is what will likely always have a place at the heart of any story I write going forward.
I wear both classifications of scar with pride, as I declare here first.
Won’t you join me?