A life that has been wasted leaves a body intact and pristine– but a life that has been properly used leaves scars.
Scars tell stories. They are what’s left by mistakes we’ve made. They’re what remind us of the places we’ve been and the people we’ve known.
Scars also tell us that we can handle what comes at us. When we look at a scar we got a long time ago, we remember the experience and see that we’re ok. Scars are the writing on the wall that says “You can endure.”
When I was young, my mother tried to teach me to cook, but I didn’t like the idea of getting my hands dirty, so I never learned. My hands stayed soft. There was nothing there to tell me what I’ve been through– because I hadn’t been through much.
Then I started playing capoeira and rock climbing a bit. My hands started to ache, leaving me with a kind of memory of what I had done. Over time, my hands became more resilient. I started to be able to handle pain and lost the fear of my hands being dirty.
Though it’s small, it’s a change that mirrors a larger one in my head. Now I’m not so afraid of being dirty; I’m not as afraid of making mistakes and being imperfect, particularly in front of other people. I’m better for the damage I’ve gotten.
Look– you’re going to get hurt. And sometimes, you’ll see it coming. But you should do it anyway. In fact, you need to. You need scars. You need stories.
You need to have lived.