Let Your Scars Be Your Stories

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“Embracing the vulnerability it takes to rise up from a fall and grow stronger makes us a little dangerous. People who don’t stay down after they fall or are tripped are often trouble-makers. Hard to control. Which is the best kind of dangerous possible. They are the artists, innovators and change-makers.” ~ Brene Brown, Rising Strong.

A number of years ago when I was a passionate runner, I had gone for my usual afternoon 5k along our dirt track to the front gate and back. It was late autumn, the time of year when the world is bathed in golden light, the air is crisp and fog gently rolls in on newly sown paddocks. Enamored by the beauty of the afternoon, I ran further than I had intended. By the time I turned to head home the light had faded and I struggled to see ahead. Consequently, I tripped on a rock and fell hard. My left knee landed on another sharp rock, not only dislocating the kneecap but also making a nasty gash.

At this point I was still 2.5 kilometres away from home. It was dark and I had no phone. My knee had already started to swell and putting pressure on it was agony. But my only options were to lie down and die (okay, not literally, but that’s how I felt at the time), or grit my teeth against the pain and walk home. I chose the latter.

If you were to look at my left knee today, you’d still see the scar from that night. In fact, if you were to look closely, you’d find many scars on my body that have a story to tell. Some beautiful, like the ones that remind me of how astonishing my body is to have grown and birthed four children. Some not so beautiful, like the ones inflicted upon myself in my desperation as a child to be seen, no matter how much it hurt.

We all have scars, both inside and out. And too often, we deem them ugly and shameful. We cover them with clothes or makeup or with walls we build around our hearts. We believe our scars have turned us into flawed human beings, disfigured with our imperfections.

But the truth is, our scars are more beautiful than we could ever realise. They prove we fought a battle and won. They remind us that we have what it takes to fall and get back up. That we have the strength, courage, resilience needed for the heart of a warrior. Yes, we were knocked down and wounded. We bled, we cried, we surrendered to the pain. But eventually, we rose again. And we rose stronger than before.

And that, my friend, is what makes us dangerous. The good kind of dangerous. The dangerous where we know we can no longer be kept down or held back. Where we no longer fear adversity. Where we know without a doubt what we are capable of.

We cannot go through life without falling. To risk is to fall. Some of us fall more than others and we have to learn the hard way. Often we continue to trip over the same things until we get it right. But if we can fall and allow it to challenge us and grow us, we then stride confidently back into the world as the change-makers. The trouble-makers. The ones who are no longer content to merely exist, but who desire to fully live.

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When my children were younger and would hurt themselves they would come to me in a mess of blood and tears, and I would ask them to tell me what happened. Between sobs, they would tell their stories and point to their wounds. And I would tell them how much that must have hurt and how brave they were. But not only that, I would tell them how they would end up with a cool story to tell and an even cooler scar to show for it. Our scars are our stories of the times we have fallen. But more importantly, they are proof that we fought through the pain and showed the vulnerability, courage, strength and resilience to get back up.

Don’t be afraid of the fall. Dust yourself off, be thankful for the lesson, and rise stronger than before. Wear your scars as badges of honour. For without them, you would never know how capable and dangerous you really are.

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