What’s In A Scar?

Inspired by Lindsay’s post at The Boomerang Kid!

I, perhaps like most people, have a lot of scars. And a lot of regrets:

  • Moving out of Seattle to be jobless in Florida for over five months with no change in sight.

    Flickr Credit to: Finalfeliz

  • Regretting not transferring out of my second college even though I had become beyond miserable by the end of my first semester there.
  • Not being more proactive in my job and room mate hunt so that I could still have money in my pocket, my own roof over my head and living with someone I liked.

Compulsively, I run these scenarios over and over in my mind. What would my life be like now had I stayed in Seattle and moved in with that girl? Would I still be working at my old job? Would I have gotten the chance to write comics in Seattle?

In her post, Lindsay called them “invisible scars” but there’s nothing invisible about my pain. I wear it for everyone to see as I tweet incessantly about my ugliness and the rejection I’ve faced because of the way that I look. The scars from my college years haven’t even begun to scab over as I replay my suffering over and over. I mourn the loss  of having my own place, paying my own bills. I look out into the world and wonder, “What the fuck did I get wrong? Why wasn’t I informed of this fuckery!?”

My scars didn’t make me a better or more enlightened person.  I haven’t experienced any kind of life altering catharsis because of them, nor do I expect to. I have found other people’s suffering to be significantly more thought provoking than my own. As I look back on my life, I see one regret after another; like I’m incapable of getting it right, or not repeating the same mistakes.

This is why regret is so terrifying, and yet so enticing, because it appeals to a lack of self-trust. I regretted not transferring, because I didn’t trust myself enough to be okay with going to a new school, and not trusting my feelings enough to say that I wasn’t happy and should do something about it. I regretted moving out of Seattle because it was so plainly a fear-based response: my room mate wanted me to move out, the girl who I thought about living with was pressuring me about giving her a deposit, my job wasn’t living up to my expectations. I caved.

Even if some people don’t admit to regrets, carrying around “invisible scars” can be as clear as day. You see it in how reactive people can be, in how quick they are to dismiss you or reject you. The fear, the guilt, the regret is soul-consuming and it has infected every aspect of our socialization. The scars we bear can breed hate, prejudice, willful ignorance, rejection of reality and a rejection of the Self.

I have a lot of scars. Perhaps too many. At times I think they make me unbearable. Other times I simply try to drown them out with copious amounts of Norman Reedus. I don’t want my scars to define me, and in many ways they most certainly have. And in others, I still have a choice.

The Bene Gesserit Littainy against Fear: 

Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
– “Dune” by Frank Herbert (pg. 19)




10 thoughts on “What’s In A Scar?

  1. I feel the same way about regrets and scars. I feel some deep regrets about not taking an awesome fellowship that would’ve allowed me to work abroad, and instead choosing what I felt to be the more ‘safe’ route. I’m paying for it now and it’s something I regret frequently. It eats me up on the inside.

    I think the best we can do is try to learn from our past decisions and mistakes, and learn what is truly important to us and for our happiness. We need to try and not make the same mistakes twice. We may always have some regrets in life, but we need to think hard about decisions and think: will i regret this if I don’t do it? If the answer is yes, we should probably do it!

    • *nods* Oh your fellowship in Africa right?

      Yes, I definitely agree! I think that’s the best way to go about it – to ask ourselves if we’d regret this decision if we didn’t make it. But I think it’s also important to remember this when we’re in the midst of making a powerful, but painful choice. Moving away always sounds great, but can rarely feel good – but telling yourself that you’re making the best decision for yourself can act as a motivator to keep going instead of stopping.

  2. In my business owners group this morning, we were talking about the idea of failure versus practice. Instead of viewing the mistakes and failures, we should view them as practice, things we learned, reasons we’ll do things differently the next time around.

    We should constantly be trying to get better in everything we do whether in life or business or hobbies. If we view it all as practice along the way, I think it changes our perspective. Instead of dwelling on the “what if” questions that we all have, we can focus on what we learned and move forward resolving to do better the next time.

    • Ah! That’s such a fantastic perspective! I like that – think of everything as practice versus failure. Which is true, when I was learning the flute in middle school, I made a lot of mistakes because I wasn’t very good. But I also didn’t practice enough to make myself BETTER and more proficient in my flue playing. And I think this would be great for people attempting to build self-esteem about something that they can’t seem to get right. If you’re practicing, then there are always new techniques you can use to make yourself better!

  3. A lot of things I once thought as regrets, I don’t regret anymore. Our past mistakes, our “uh-oh” moments, the “dang I really made the wrong choice” decision we can never take them back and we must keep it moving. Sure, when I think about my life and how I’ve come to this point I’ve agonized on where, when, and how I went “wrong”. Eventually, I had to stop crying and do what I must until I can’t anymore. You know your passion, you know your dreams, hold onto them keep them in your heart use it as ammunition to never give up then you can finally look back and realize how beautiful you really are scars and all.

  4. I think this is your most brave and honest post yet. I’ll be 35 in January. If I sit back and think on my regrets the list is long. I’ve made some pretty fucked up mistakes by trusting my intuition and by denying my intuition. You get to a point where you feel like you can’t make a move either way without fucking something up worse than it was before. You get to this place where you’re thinking that you are just destined to be well fucked. Then life gets better or worse and you figure out that the truth is more people than not are in the same boat but they don’t talk about it. They hide the scars, the pain, the mistakes and they want others to do the same. Why face yourself and try to be better when the thing to do is pretend that we are all perfect?

    That’s why I started writing. I felt completely fucking lost and I felt like I was the only woman that was over 30 that had made mistake after mistake for years. It was hard looking back at all the moments in which with hindsight the decisions looked so easy. What I have learned in the last three years of writing it down and letting it go is: I am not the only scarred person and IF I really sit and listen the answer is there. I’ve been making less mistakes since I started listening to what I (yes, me!) wanted and needed and thought less of what others wanted of me and for me. Follow your dreams and if they lead you astray it is okay because you’ll eventually get there. I’ll be 35 in January and I have never been more scarred or happier!

    I am always sending you hugs and positive energy. You’re growing on me. A lot!

    One last thing, since you are a bookworm like me I’d like to recommend two books that have helped me in the last three years: The Alchemist and Writing Down Your Soul.

    • Hey Lidia! Thanks!! *blush*

      I’ve read The Alchemist, it’s one of my favorite spiritual books right now! It’s so magnificent and simple in its presentation. How could I NOT love it?

      Yes – hindsight is really a bitch. I, too, look back at my life and think of what I should’ve done, and how I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Not being honest about what I want, not putting myself first, not taking the initiative. I acted without much confidence, and behaved cowardly and passive aggressively. I didn’t trust myself to make the right decisions, or that I could do whatever it took to make certain things happened. So I ended up letting other people make choices for me and ended up feeling resentful and miserable about it. Even now, I have to keep in mind that many times, people’s advice to you is really them trying to get you to do what they think is best, versus what is suitable for you. I don’t want to continue to make those same errors and continue to have that same mentality.

      I’ll check out “Writing Down Your Soul”. Thanks!

  5. What a thoughtful post.

    I did a post on regret once as well but I appreciate the way this was phrased as “invisible scars”. We all have those moments where we wished we had chosen to go the other direction or made a different decision. It’s hard and it hurts. But what I’ve found is that the only way to combat the feelings of despair is to continue being great. To continue doing wonderful things in an effort to achieve. It keeps your from dwelling on the past and forces you to just extract the necessary lessons from that.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I hope that heavy pit in your stomach continues to lighten! 🙂

    • Thanks Gia! 😀

      Yes, I think “regret” is one of those concepts that many people relate to and probably blog about! Like, finding ways to be happy or whatever. :3

      Thanks for stopping by!!! 😀 I always love to see you around!

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