Scars are rising to a new status. Scars are badges of honor; scar stories are stories of strength.
But lest we forget: society’s acceptance of different body types has been a remarkably bumpy journey.
In John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire, Susie the Bear hides her acne scars under a bear costume realistic enough to induce awe and terror. She holds onto the power of the bear suit for decades until she takes it off for good in her late thirties, learning to accept her scars and emotional vulnerability.
Although you may not know it at the time, you’ll run into a Susie today. Maybe you are a Susie. And as you have no justification to don a bear suit, you keep people at a distance using anger, superficiality, negativity, silence. You hide your truest self until one day something happens to push you towards accepting yourself, scars and all.
You persist, you plateau, maybe you retreat, but then you try again. Over the years, you climb a few more rungs on the wisdom ladder. And it takes only a few steps up to look around and see where you fit into the big picture. And you remember how your scars helped get you there.
What you learn from your scars transforms you; how you live your life transforms the world. Small changes in action can result in a large change in outcome. And when you teach others about what you’ve learned, how to accept their scars and imperfections, when we share our collective knowledge with each other, then we border on the divine. What’s your scar story and what did you learn from it? Leave your thoughts in the comments.