Lockdown 3: Scars
It’s Thursday morning. I’m here, in the kitchen, putting the kettle on and waiting for the smell of coffee to fill me in with peace. I’ve been living in the present wondering about the future and hoping for the end of this pandemic. People feel confused. We’re afraid. We just do what we’re told and like a clam, lock ourselves inside our shells, patiently waiting for a sign that the enemy is gone. As I turn on the TV and I watch the news that the UK has entered a second lockdown, my mind slowly drifts away. I close my eyes and can’t stop thinking about the future and imagining how it will be after the end.
Do people ever think, what kind of world we’ll be living in or rather, what kind of world we want to live in once this is all over? This takes me back to think about all the horrid things humanity has gone through, from the two world wars and the previous pandemics like the Black Death and Influenza that our generation only read off the pages of history books and now the modern version we have to go through – Covid-19. I mean, can you ever really go back to the way you were before? Can you start from where you left off? Where is the beginning? Can you laugh at the same things you used to laugh at? Can you be certain that the things you once took for granted will still be there for you in an hour, days or even weeks when you decide to come back to pick them up? It’s not as much the world we live in that is changing, but we are. After wars, people are hurt, and like everything that hurts, it leaves a mark. A scar it’s not just something you can go on without looking at and not be confronted with the memory it brings with it. The cicatrix left by the times we’re living in, it’s going to be an ugly one but as I take a sip of the coffee that’s now ready to drink, I can’t stop thinking about a little girl called Amelie who chose to turn her own scars into strength:
Amelie brings both her hands together and holds them close to her. Suddenly, she can see it on her index finger, in between the renewed skin, an almost undetected texture, the impression of a scar close to the bone. She often thinks about her scars. How did they get there? After a while, they became almost invisible. But even though so tenuous, how come they’re still so notorious? It’s been nearly ten years since she got these scars on her finger. She remembers it so well, the moment it became a permanent imprint on her finger. When she looks at it, she traces back the story that led to it and she’s suddenly reminded of the past. And even the past is something we don’t quite like to think about or even remember, it’s there, on the haunting presence of our scars.
I often like to think that the past itself is something so tenuous and perpetual and yet it gently crawls its way into our unconscious and stays there, like a scar, it changes us, the shape of our skin forever.
Somehow, the scar on Amelie’s finger reminds her of a part of her that’s long gone and it makes her wonder where she is and whether she can be found. Amelie looks for her in the memory, the collection of thoughts and feelings, of people and places that are stored in the library at the back of her mind. She was so much younger back then, so innocently unaware of her own limitations and condition. She used to be unafraid. Amelie finally finds the girl on that picture riding her horse. She bounces back and forth on the saddle fiercely and steady. She wants to go faster so she goes faster and when the horse trips over, she is projected forwards onto the floor. The fall takes her to stumble across the horse’s legs, rolls on its feet until she finally hits the floor. As Amelie thinks about that girl bouncing back and forth on the saddle, she wishes she could still go back and be her – trusting the world she lives in, unaware of her limitations, until the moment she gets that scar. It changes the way in which she looks at her finger without ever being the same again. The moment her scar, and what led up to it, become a constant reminder of what happened, the world she brings with her on her ride collapses. I mean, how can you look back on the idea of something you so strongly believed in and realise once something terrible happens, it’s all just an illusion?
I do like to think we all live under some kind of illusion or rather, perhaps the preconceived idea of something we have so carefully crafted in our minds – life, the future – that turns out to be just nothing, a deception. The girl on her horse used to take everything for granted, almost as if even the strong wind could not get to her. She used to play with dolls and dance in the rain. But the moment that girl fell off her horse and got a scar on her finger, she surely won’t be riding with the same confidence and the same stride as before. She’ll flinch, she’ll deny, she might even pout and cry until she refuses to ever sit on a saddle again.
Amelie remembers that girl and often thinks she can let her scars define her and let the world limit her all she wants but at the end of the day, she has to make a stand.
I have been taught that if you let fear control you, there is no way you can control fear.
Looking back at her scars, Amelie can’t stop but smile. She smiles because when she hit the ground she didn’t cry. She put herself back together again, sat on the saddle and went on riding.
Now, we can let our scars impact us for the worst and let pain and fear define us or, we can find that inner strength and fight the pain. Scars are beautiful because they carry stories and life in them. We’re the story-tellers and we decide how we want our story to be told. If you can find beauty in the darkest moments, then the light is right there where you can see it.
©️ Photo by Victor He on Unsplash