Emotional Scar Tissue

??????????????????????????????????????I write a lot about body image and identity–the connection between the body—shape, weight, height, physical capacities—and the self.  The body you live in is a house for the self; from
your body you negotiate the world.   People make inferences about you based on what they see, and those inferences, whether you believe them, whether you know them or not, are part of your ascribed identity.

But today I’m thinking about the pieces of identity no one can see on the outside.  The Trials, losses, illnesses, upheavals.  Though people can’t necessarily see the tough stuff you’ve been through, it’s part of you.  Being bullied as a child by a “best friend,” losing a parent, enduring the aftermath of a house fire—these are pieces of my baggage, which I’ll carry to my grave.  They are not all of me, but are included in me, inextricable parts of my identity.

I’m thinking about loss a lot lately.  Last week, my husband lost his aunt, a brilliant, wise and sensitive woman.  I’m thinking about the way her illness and death have affected those who were closest to her, her children, her husband, her beloved sister, how the strength of her love and the beauty of her memory will one day heal them.

A week earlier, tragedy struck our town not once but twice, as a college-bound high school senior took his own life, as a terrible accident took the life of the parent of one of my daughter’s schoolmates.   Our town feels like a different place today.

You are forever changed by your experiences of suffering.   You may be far into the healing process by now.  Possibly you have finished healing and are happy despite your suffering.  But you are YOU because of it.

Sometimes the strongest layers of the self come from our emotional scar tissue.

For so many artists, poets and writers, this scar tissue is one of the richest sources of creativity.  Though I am not blogging much these days (my energy is focused on a “revise and resubmit” arrangement I have with a literary agent), over the next few weeks, I am going to devote some posts to fellow bloggers who have channeled their life-trials into creative works—books, blogs, blogs-that-will-be-books—that are sure to touch and enrich the lives of others.

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14 responses to “Emotional Scar Tissue

  1. I keep thinking that I am along way into my healing process, then something else pops up, or I revisit something. Layers keep unfolding don’t they? and that’s fine because you are right, the scars are rich.

  2. Thanks, Gilly. It is true what you say about the layers unfolding. Healing is not always linear.

  3. Sometime we mistake that new layer with a backslide, but really I like to think of it as progress. You are ready for the next layer to be healed and if we think of it this way there not only less judgment, but more energy and gratitude: “Halleluja, let’s get ‘er done!”

  4. Great post. I find the toughest part being the fact that these experiences (the trials, the losses, the upheavals) come so unexpectedly. We just can never truly capitalize on ‘Hindsight being 20/20’ can we?

  5. Though you are not here often, I am always glad when you are. Your wisdom and sensitivity is a welcome respite.

  6. I returned after attending wedding for nephew who’s mother died by suicide. He and his bride played a slideshow throughout the whole reception of their photos as individuals growing up –up to their marriage. He had tons of photos that included him and his mother+ plus others.

    We all looked at our sister, daughter, mother….who she was and quietly remembered among the festivities. I fear this may be the dressiest happy occasion where I got together with my family because my father’s cancer has worsened.

    Life becomes precious…every day. I find it affects what I choose to blog: I want to blog on the very best I have enjoyed and seen.

    • Jean, I am sorry to hear about your father’s cancer; I know how hard it is to watch a loved one suffer from that illness. I am also sorry to hear about your nephew’s mother. Is this your sister? I believe I remember you writing something about this. I agree that to write about the best in life can be uplifting, though sometimes it’s the hardest things we live through that ache to be put down on paper. Wishing you the best during this hard time. Happy cycling, too.

  7. Beautifully said, Lisa. Sadness and loss are such a part of our lives. Why does this year seem particularly bad? I’m sorry for your husband’s loss, and yours as well. I’m sorry, too, for your community. Good luck with your revisions and resubmission!

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