Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.
I was watching an interview with American singer Ciara, where she was talking about her new single, “Beauty Marks”, from her most recent album by the same title. It got me to thinking about the concept behind the song, “taking all the scars from obstacles you faced in life and turning them into beauty marks”. That led to a trip down my childhood memory lane…
As a Jamaican girl raised by my great grandparents I know a thing or two or three about old age competition. If you do not know what this is, God bless you, I made it up! Old age competitions happened a lot when I was young, because when my great grandmother’s friends would come by, it became the olympic games of old age complaints. The competition started as soon as they arrived, even before they were settled properly, “Lawd dis arthritis come fi kill mi Ms. Joan…” and then the battle would ensue. For most of the time they spent talking, they would try to outdo each other with the various ailments – old and new – they had to contend with on an hourly basis, because they were getting older. While I was fascinated with the nature and frequency of the complaints, I always wondered why they spent so much time, in seeming bliss, talking about things that brought them so much pain and discomfort. I later learned a fascinating thing about ageing; older skin heals with less scarring!
Of wounds and scars
I realised years later that many of us seem to enjoy listing all our various complaints in life, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, social ect. We take it as a badge of honour to let the world know how much we have suffered or are suffering now. The wounds in life that seem ready to “kill us before time” have left many of us prepared to reopen them when convenient to show the world that we have suffered a lot. However, for those of us who do this, there is no way we can ever successfully achieve all that is waiting for us to achieve on the other side, when we dwell in our pain and suffering. We spend so much time nurturing the wounds we have gotten along the way that we can never properly heal and move on. We have become stuck because we do not want to forget nor do we want others to forget that we have suffered, especially those who have contributed to our suffering. So we baby the wounds that turn to scar and the bigger the better, especially when we want to elicit sympathy. That tiny paper cut become a chasm of the worst kind and in the process of building up those scars we swallow others along in our despair and self-righteous hurt.
We conveniently forget the word of God which says:
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]
And guess what, while we focus on the pain, possible joys slip by us away into the horizon, ready to be claimed by someone else who is paying attention to the right things.
The thing about Ciara’s life story thus far and many like her, is that she did not dwell in her place of brokenheartedness, and neither should we. I have learned that it is important to assess where you are coming from, in order to see how much you have progressed. But our weakness, limitations or brokenness do not have to be a crutch that we cling to for the rest of our lives. The great thing about live is that we do not have to stay in a position of brokenness and that is what many fail to realise or realise when it is too late. It’s okay to be thankful for those times you suffered, failed or fell flat on your face, because if that had not happened, you would not know how strong you are and you would not find yourself walking the road you were always meant to travel on. your limitations really do not define you, only if you allow it to do so.
Many cultures around the world and throughout history have applied meanings to beauty marks. For the French it was mouches or “flies and for the English “plaisters” or patches; beauty marks were applied for the practical purpose of covering scars or blemishes. In Eastern cultures the positions of beauty marks on the face say something about your personality or fortune. Even William Shakespeare, the great English playwright made reference to it several times in his play, [Cymbeline]. Beauty marks and their meanings have always been a great point of interest in different cultures. For us today, here is another perspective on beauty marks that has nothing to do with aesthetic beauty and everything to do with embracing our worst experiences.
When Scars become beauty marks:
- When you begin to be thankful for those challenges and see how they have made you a better person, that is when the scars become beauty marks.
- It is when you can look back at those times and while choking up a bit, feel a sense of peace and contentment with what had been, and where you are now, then those scars a no longer ugly in need of concealment; but beauty marks that can proudly be claimed as a part of what has gone into making you who you are today, from who you were yesterday.
Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance
― Rodney A. Winters
The older you get the less time you have to dwell on your pain -literally. And so I go back to the bit of information I gave at the beginning. With age scars become less obvious, because while we know they are their somehow the event that caused them in the first place lose their power to control us. I realized that my great grandmother’s friends weren’t necessarily dwelling in their pain but they were also saying, “hey look at me going out and having a good time but I am aware that I’m not as young as I used to be. But I know I’m still alive because I feel the pain”. At the end of the numerous ailments, they would hiss their teeth saying, ” only God knows” or ” God a God”. In other words, “Thank God for His mercy, in spite of it all…”