i’m gonna talk about the physical one, not metaphorically.
as i was showering a few days ago, i got to the point where my new scars are. yes, i meant those that i got after free falling from my bike about a month ago.
and then i realized how quickly the wounds had recovered, quicker than when i fell to the same kind of asphalted road back when i was around 6 years old. possibly because my husband helped make sure that the wounds got the quickest & best possible care right after i fell, which i didn’t do back when i was a kid. when it happened back in the eighties, i was far from home, and after falling on the road, all we did was go back into the car and after about half an hour, when we finally reached my home, that was when i got the first aid. the weather and general air quality back in my home country probably also played as few other factors which made my wound heal a lot longer. as a result to that first fall, i’ve always had this scar on my right knee that looks somewhat whiter than the rest of my skin colour. since i was still so small when it happened, i grew up thinking nothing of it. it’s just something that’s always been there, like a mole on your hand, or a birth mark on your back.
then it brought another memory to my head. this one was when my late brother-in-law, Victor, got into an accident with his motorbike. only now that i’ve fallen off my bike can i imagine how painful it must’ve felt for him when he fell from his motorbike. the impact with the asphalted road was probably 50 times harder as he probably was going 50 times faster than me on my bike.
in case you’re wondering, he survived the accident. he got lots of scars and had to get stitches on his eyebrow (or was it eyelid?) of course, but other than those, he was okay. what made me remember that particular event was because i was there at the hospital when they were tending his wounds, and two nurses’ comments amused me that night. as they were stitching his eyebrow/-lid, first one of them said, “well, this [scar] would stay on your face for good. but luckily you’re already married.” and then when they’re finished stitching it, he was still lying down on the stretcher and some other nurse walked in to do a quick check (or to write a report, perhaps?), and this nurse made the same exact comment, something like, “aww, too bad about the permanent scar on your face. but fortunately you’re married.”
i was so amused, i remember those comments to this very day. does having a scar make one look ugly? does having a scar make one look scary? does it even matter if someone has a scar? what comes to your mind when you see someone with a scar? do you stare at it, trying to make a story of how he/she got the scar in your own head? do you deliberately take your eyes off of it, pretending not to see it, or maybe because it just looks too ugly for you to see?
when i see someone with a scar, the first thing that comes to my mind was: he/she’s a survivor. i may not know what the story behind the scar is, but whatever it is, that person bearing the scar has survived it. i don’t stare at it, but i don’t deliberately take my eyes off of it either. some people, at least those who became closer to me (not those that i just meet once in my lifetime, of course) eventually told me their stories. one was bitten by a dog as a little girl, one had a surgery, one–just like me–fell off her bike. but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re here, they got through whatever it was that scarred their skin for life.
now why is that a bad thing? bad enough, apparently, for people like those nurses to think that these people with scars will never get someone to marry them (if they haven’t gotten married yet)? after all, when you fall in love with someone, what difference does a scar make?
back to my own scars. now every time i look at my own full-length reflection, i can see the scars on my knees. all three of them (two new ones, one old). yeah, they probably look weird: the two new ones are darker coloured than my normal skin colour, and the old one is still somewhat lighter coloured than my normal skin colour. but whenever i look at them, i smile. i’ve survived falling off a bike, and i can tell people that even after falling off a bike at 30 years old, i climbed back up again and continued on, and now i can bike just like i’ve been biking all my life. yes, i’m proud of my scars, thank you for asking.
i wonder sometimes, if those nurses ever learned to change their way of thinking, of seeing things only on the surface. and always in those times, i hope they have.