It is always amazing to me how themes seem to emerge—almost as if the universe is sending a message in different verses of the same song. One of the themes that has recently emerged is “scars.”
On two different occasions, people from very different backgrounds shared with me about their process of embracing their physical scars instead of hiding them. And then there was the movie my granddaughter chose from Netflix called “Scales.” The whimsical story was of a 12-year-old girl realizing her emerging identity as a mermaid and discovering that she was not alone in what seemed like devastating changes. There were others that she lived among who had experienced the same bodily transition. Between the fantasy’s lines, the movie was about the possibility of embracing changes within ourselves, even our scars, even those that others might find off-putting, when we can find kindred spirits with whom to debrief and share insight.
Some scars are very real, but remain invisible. Among these “scars” are abuse, heartache, loneliness, and emotional illness. A physical scar is the body’s way of recording a memory. Emotional scars are also recorded, deep within our minds. Just as rubbing a scar can cause discomfort, triggering emotional scars can cause pain and problems within the self and especially in relationships.
The process of therapy is often one of noticing themes and patterns in our lives and coming to embrace all the parts of ourselves. It is then conceivable to consider how even our physical and emotional scars can become transformative and build bridges where before there had only been distance.