reverb10: a reflection on scars and beauty

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I have a scar above my lip from a dog bite the night my brother was born, a chicken pox scar on my temple, another scar on my wrist from a summer pool party in high school where my hand slipped under a waterslide and others on my hands that seemed to just appear.

There are scars no one can see, ones that are tender at inopportune moments, ones I forget about until they achingly remind me that they're there. All of these scars are stories of my life. Who I am has been uniquely shaped not just by experiences but my actions and reactions to events in my life. Brandi Carlile's song, "The Story" says it poetically:

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am

This year has been about embracing my actions and reactions, forgiving my mistakes, examining those scars. I've begun to understand that the way I see the world would be completely different if I didn't have the experiences, or make the decisions or feel the feelings or say the things; I'm not me without the baggage and the neuroses and the chaos.

My friends tell me that I am good at the big picture. I see connections everywhere. I love thinking about intersections, how we're all connected, how ideas lead to ideas lead to innovations. I'm a "life's big questions" kind of thinker and I enjoy having these conversations with others. I love telling stories and hearing stories. I see stories, narratives, everywhere. It is this capacity that makes me beautiful. And I wouldn't be able to see that if I didn't have the scars, every single one.