Scars: Me and Not Me
What is it about scars? I tend to think about them as a kind of record of my clumsiness: there’s where I fell off the see-saw, there’s where I cut myself opening a can, there’s where I burned myself trying to iron my shirt while wearing it.
But there’s more to them than that.On the one hand, they’re these markers of our experiences. On the other, they are places that mark the breaching of our boundaries. Literally. As in, “here, metal sliced through that apparently solid surface of my body, letting outside air rush in to greet previously sheltered cells inside me.”
One of my professors, who knows all about fancy-pants stuff like trauma theory, recently said something interesting: victims who have a physical wound (like one that would leave a scar) tend to experience more complete psychological and emotional healing. Perhaps because having a place to locate the pain gives us an analogy for internal suffering? And we can relate physical healing to the work to resolve hurts inside?
Why am I thinking about this anyway? Because in my current, not-to-be-over-discussed, novel (which doesn’t exist except in my head and in some notes), lots of people are injured. So scars–and what they can mean–might matter.