I’m a mom. Do you see the picture of me smiling, dark-blond hair blowing in the wind? That is I. My son snapped that picture of me at Virginia Beach last summer. I guess I am normal, but if not normal, I’m not so strange either. We all bear our own markings or scars, like zebras who all appear the same but different too.
Perhaps our scars make us special, not so much from the shape they take when the injury is first inflicted, but from the way our skin remaps itself once we’ve healed. No, that isn’t right either. We’re not merely the culmination of our scars. The effect of my scars on my identity is more akin to the effect of the boy on the fox in The Little Prince:
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
And I don’t mean something as simple as I am responsible for “taming” my inner child. What if the word “tamed” becomes “healed,” and what if I, because of my own efforts to heal my injuries, both internal and external, have become responsible for those scars that constitute my inner self? I am responsible to me and for me.
In other words, as the fox utters:
It is the time you have devoted to your rose that makes your rose so important.
I wonder if this is true. Do my scars matter on their own? Does a solitary rose growing in a forest matter? Does a bruise or a cut from long ago matter? Does it matter who hit me, who assaulted me, who hurt me? If my abusers and the scars they left on my person really matter, then I lose some degree of self-determination over the course of my existence.
I like to think the scars and the abusers do not matter except for their impact on how I have grown unique and beautiful. I like to think that what does matter is the time I have devoted to growing the garden that now blossoms inside my soul; a garden that grows because of the energy I have invested in healing. I value this energy I’ve devoted to healing; I value the work and the time and the love I’ve bestowed on the prickly rose bushes I’ve grown from the wounds others inflicted on me.
I refuse to value my wounds; in and of themselves, my wounds hold no inherent value. I do, however, value how I have healed. I acknowledge the rivulets of blood each wound left behind but I shaped the path the river took while the wound healed. I patched my scars. I tamed my heart. I cured what ailed me. And now and forever, I am responsible for how I heal and what form the finished product will take. I am fox and I am little boy and I am the rose. I matter.