I remember the first time I fell off my bike and scraped my knee. It wasn’t a bad cut, but it was bad enough that I made that all too familiar hissing sound when you don’t want to cry in front of your friends. I remember blowing on my kneecap and fanning it with my hand, as if it would magically disappear.
It stung more than anything and I knew that when I got home, my mama would insist on alcohol or peroxide and I’d be hissing again. It took a few weeks and the cut eventually turned into a scar. It was brown, but had a black tint to it, kind of trying to blend in with my mocha brown skin.
If I was walking, nobody else could see it, but whenever I went to take a bath, I saw it. No matter how many scars, I got, I found a way to play with my friends again, even if it meant getting into the same activity that may have caused the scar in the first place.
And no matter how many times I cried when I got a new cut, I went through the same “Mama, it burns” routine: hiss, cry, alcohol, ointment, bandage; hiss, cry, alcohol, ointment, bandage; hiss, cry, alcohol, ointment, bandage…
One day, I looked in the mirror at all the scars I had gathered and I noticed that now, they weren’t on the surface. They were underneath my skin. As I got older, the cuts got deeper and my scars got bigger, blacker and scarier. They were a direct reflection of the activity I chose to partake in and found myself getting hurt by.
Some were caused by other people, some were caused by me. Some, I had absolutely nothing to do with because I couldn’t help how I had been raised or what I had been exposed to as a child growing up in the mean streets of North Philadelphia. However, there was something that didn’t change. It didn’t go away at all. In fact, the pattern was quite the same.
Only the alcohol was bought from the wine & spirit store, the ointment was whatever I could say to make myself feel better and try to patch myself up and the bandage was what I used to cover up the pain.
Today, every scar I had has been turned into a star by God’s mighty hand. The scars I’ll get in the future, they’ll go through a process as well. One that by then, I will have become so familiar with that I won’t fight the healing process. I won’t deny it or try to make it more work than it has to be.
So, Dear Scars: Thank You. Everything you were, made me who I am.
Mya K. Douglas