Wouldn’t it be interesting if emotional scars left visible scars, too? When you met someone, they could see the number of scars, and wonder about them. Upon asking, they might find out that this scar, the small, barely visible one on your right forearm, was from Billy Tyler, the boy you had a crush on in 4th grade, who decided he liked your friend Jill better than you. And this one, this round-ish one on your ankle, was from your dad leaving when you were 11, promising he’d be back and never seeing him again. And this one, this jagged, ugly one on the back of your knee, crossing over the tendon, that one is from your first husband, from when he came home smelling of his secretary’s perfume and you finally put the pieces of the puzzle together. This scar here, the one that goes all the way across the back of your hand, that’s from the boss that made you work the weekend, even though your dog had just died. This one on your inner thigh, the one that looks like an X? That’s actually two, one from losing your virginity on prom night, the other, crossing over the first, from the abortion that followed.
Not all scars are emotional, of course. This one, the half-circle on your knee? That’s from when you fell on the half-buried coffee can in the field. Had to have a tetanus shot for that. The shot was worse than the cut itself.
There’s a scene in Chasing Amy, where Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) and Banky (Jason Lee) are comparing the scars they got during sexual exploits. I imagine, if our emotional scars were actually visible, that dates would go a lot like that. There are some emotional scars you can laugh over, now, now that the hurt is gone and you can see the humor. Getting past it doesn’t make the scar disappear, but it does help it fade.
If emotional scars left visible scars, a lot of us wouldn’t have much in the way of unscarred skin, I bet.
There’s a line in the movie The Replacements: “Pain heals, chicks dig scars, and glory lasts forever.” Well, I certainly agree with the “chicks dig scars” bit. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with scars, especially scars on the head. My fascination began with Lamont who, in fifth grade, had a brain aneurism or something, and was left with an inch-long scar on the back of his head. Since he kept his hair clipped very short, you could see the scar. I found it…sexy. Yes, that’s right, in fifth grade, I found this scar sexy. How I knew what “sexy” was in the fifth grade, I don’t know.
I dated a guy in college that had a scar in his head, behind his left ear, from a bar fight, or so he said. I would just sit there and run my finger over the soft, hairless strip of skin. Again, very sexy. (Although, reading that, it sounds kind of…gross.)
The stories behind scars, that’s the interesting bit. If it’s a boring story, you might change it so it’s more interesting. That scar on your shoulder, the one you got in a car accident when you were 5? Boring. Instead, tell people you got in a fight at a biker bar. That? That’s not an appendectomy scar, that’s from when you were stabbed by a teenager doped up on meth. The scar that mars your eyebrow, the one you can’t remember how you got? Tell people it’s from your ex cutting you with a broken beer bottle. Or, be evasive and mysterious. “This scar on my lip? I got it when I was in the special forces. I really can’t talk about it. National security, you know.”
If you’re emotional scars were visible, what would they look like, and where would they be?