There were many scars made in the making of me, with a story in each one, and a lesson.
Here we go.
I have a scar on my chin from playing on a rope swing as a child. I don’t know how I managed to cut my face open on a rope swing, but children can do many unbelievable things. You should never underestimate them.
I have a scar on the inside of my left thigh from when I was six and I snapped a metre long glass thermometer in half across my leg. I don’t know why I wanted to do this, but kids don’t give a shit about justifying their actions like adults do. Kids do what they want.
I have scars on my right hand middle and index fingers from when I was eight and lifting breeze blocks on a building site to build a fort. I dropped the block on my own hand, somehow, and then jumped off the wall, onto a nail protruding from a chunk of wood. It went through my shoe and into my foot, but I pulled it out and ran home because I was hard as nails. No pun intended. Not all girls want to be the princess.
My right hand took another battering shortly after that when I closed a BMW car door on my thumb. I forgot to take it out of the car with me. I was on my way into my favourite restaurant for a birthday meal when it happened. Again being hard as nails, or simply high on the adrenaline of pain, I refused to go to hospital and sat through the birthday meal bleeding through the white napkin that held my shattered appendage together. Don’t let anything get in the way of a good meal.
On the inside of my left leg I have a vertical scar approximately ten centimetres long. I was fourteen, playing Gaelic football and a very clumsy, or possibly evil, other player missed the ball and let her metal studded football boots rip through my leg. It was so painful I could feel myself passing out. My leg giving way beneath me and blood filling my shoe, I hopped, wincing, over to the dug outs to sit down and the coach said, ‘GET The F%*! BACK OUT THERE, WE NEED YOU!!’ I stared at him dumbfounded. ‘I’m bleeding,’ I pleaded weakly. He lifted a bottle of water and threw it round my leg and gestured for me to go back out. I went. Then I realised I could hardly bare to stand never mind play. I limped to the corner of the dug outs again and sat down. I wasn’t going back out and sent someone else in my place. Don’t ever expect too much from the wounded.
I have scars on my stomach from when I was a teenager and went through a phase of self-harm. My arms are also scarred in places. I can vaguely make out the remnants of the word ‘Fuck’ which I wrote on myself with a razor blade. I don’t know why I did this but teenagers are very strange creatures. Do not forcibly question one’s motives, they will only resent you.
Other scars I have are like a little map of where piercings used to be on me – my inner ear, my upper right arm, to the right of my belly button, on my nose. There’s another map for spots I’ve had, on my cheeks, on my chin, mainly. And then inside, I’m scarred inside for every trauma and psychological damage of my childhood, teens and early twenties before I knew how to protect my inner self from everything out there that can hurt me. Those are lessons too. Lessons to not trust anyone who doesn’t show what they say and a lesson to remember that it’s ok to be uncool, to say no, to run away, to be alone rather than in danger, to be safe rather than over-trustingly polite.
Nowadays the only scars I get are scars I pay to have painted on me in ink under a tattoo needle. Although I live a safer, more rational life than ever before, I still feel the need to get scarred, just on my own terms.