A fairly impressive set of scars on my right leg crosses my knee and runs down just above my shin. When the injury happened, it never occurred to me that the cuts would heal, but that they would leave these red and white marks behind for the rest of my life. I was 19 at the time, and didn’t have any perspective on what life-long meant.
I have a few other marks here and there. A tiny little white spot just above my wrist, a cut from a “bar fight” when I was in college. A round, thick, red scar on my palm from when I slipped down the stairs and sliced it open on a broken bowl a few years ago. Stretch marks from a hugely pregnant belly. A slightly misshapened middle finger, from pinching it in a closet door when I was eight or nine. I suppose no one gets to be “of a certain age” without a few dings.
I have more scars that are not visible, although they may be apparent to the people closest to me. Some are deep, scarred-over holes carved from personal loss, others are slight marks left behind from unexpected bumps along the way. Just like the outside scars, these invisible ones are part of who I am. They give me depth I wouldn’t otherwise have, a bit more empathy and compassion. And a little more strength.
My scars, inside and out, have their own beauty. Though they came with pain, they are life’s souvenirs. They are evidence that I have lived life well enough to feel the pain and joy, and all the ups and downs.