seeking scars

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“I don’t want to die without any scars.” -Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I think most people are too careful about the way they tackle life. They’re afraid of getting hurt, of being scarred. They tiptoe around the perimeter, walk on eggshells, hop over the cracks in the sidewalk.

I’ve got plenty of scars, and I’m not sorry. Some are visible. The one my cat gave me over winter break that has resulted in a few concerned questions because of its unfortunate location. The one on my knee from Girl Scout camp when I was 9.

Some are invisible. The ones left in my mind by the person who hurt me more than I care to admit years ago, the ones that took too long to live with. The ones in my heart caused by people I loved being ripped out of my life, both expectedly and unexpectedly.

Other ones caused by new people crashing into it, in the best and worst ways possible.

Some scars come in memories and dreams, continuing to leave their mark many years later. Photographs leave more than paper cuts as they dredge up the bittersweetness of what used to be. Nightmares haunt waking hours with what could have been and what almost was.

Getting hurt sucks. The process of acquiring scars is painful, but scars have a bad rep I don’t think they deserve. People don’t like scars because they ruin the perfect picture of a perfect life. They remind us that we’ve been in dark places; scars won’t let us forget our past.

But, should we? Should I forget that someone destroyed my heart or that it hurt when I lost someone? Can we ever really forget where we’ve been? The things that give you scars are, many times, the things that help you grow. I’d rather be reminded.

We’re too focused on living flawless-looking lives that we’re afraid of even the tiniest of scratches. The threat of imperfection becomes too much to bear. Taking risks becomes taboo to the point where I wonder if we’re living at all.

What’s the point of being alive if you’re not going to at least try to do something extraordinary, if you’re not going to come out a little beat up?

I’ll never stop seeking scars- not because I’m a masochist, but because I want proof that I took chances and went after life with everything I have. I don’t want to forget where I’ve been; it’s made me who I am. Never getting hurt makes for a pretty dull life story.

Sometimes I think you’re measured by the mess you make.

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