I came across this rad word a while ago and it has totally stuck with me. Cicatrix, pronounced sik-ah-triks, basically is the scar that is formed when new connective tissue grows. That new skin closing up a wound, that my friend is the cicatrix.
Dudes have this thing, especially manly dudes, where they like to show off scars. “Look at this war wound from the capture the flag battle of 1992. I got this trying to jump over the garden gnome in Jimmy’s yard. 17 stitches where the damn thing broke the skin.” Pant legs roll up, jackets whip off, as childhood war stories are shared and these sweet yet grotesque scars are shown off. Exclamations range from, “dude, that is nothing,” to the guttural choking sounds of guys totally disgusted yet wanting to keep the contents of their stomach in place.
We all have scars. I have this weird one on the back of my leg from this kid who kicked a skateboard at me and it hit me in the ankle. I think it looks cool, and I wish I had a better story to go with it. I wish the scars we all had were only on our body. But alas, most of our scars are way below the surface. They cut a jagged picture across our heart, mind, self-esteem, and identity. Lots of times they haven’t even made it to the scarred phase yet… they are still open wounds oozing blood, puss, and pain.
I walked around for the majority of my life thus far as a bundle of raw exposed nerve, heart, and emotion… spilling guts on anyone within reaching distance. I wish they had an ER for internal wounds. I needed triage. If I could have sat in a hospital and taken the time I needed to heal, well I probably would have gotten better faster. But they don’t have a hospital for fucked up families or crisis of faith. There isn’t an ER to patch up relationship, or ICU for facing the death of someone you love. You are just expected to get up and finish school, find a job, be in a healthy relationship. Nobody wants to see those scars. Cause damn, they reflect our own pain or our fears of pain that might befall us. Pull down those pant legs, put on that jacket, cause no one wants to see the grotesque wound still oozing puss and blood. Come back when it is a cool scar, or battle wound. But don’t tell us the whole story, because we might not think you healed the right way. Let us be the judge of how much pain you experience and if it is justified.
Life isn’t always pretty. It is full of wounds and scars and things we would just rather pretend does not exist. I walked around like one of the zombies on Walking Dead. My wounds so visible it was laughable, the pain spilling on everyone around me, yet I continued to say and pretend I was a-okay. Just a flesh-wound.
Ten years ago I started a journey. A journey to get healthy. A journey to fix what was wrong with me. It was bloody, gross, and far from glamorous. Had someone told me that the path I started then was going to take 10 years… well it would have been too overwhelming. Had they told me where I’d be now, I would have been scared out of my mind, because I would have become all my greatest fears. And honestly if they told me I would be happy, healthy, and starting a new chapter in my life I probably would not ever have imagined it would look like it does now.
But friend, cicatrix. I have new connective tissue in those wounds. I have some sweet-ass scars. I have stories to go with every scar and oh so many lessons I’ve learned. If you have the guts to look, I’ll roll up my pant leg and take off my jacket and tell you about every one. Why do I think you would care? Because I know you have some scars and maybe even some wounds. Maybe a lesson I learned is something you can avoid. Perhaps you just need to know that there is another person on the planet that feels your pain. And because I know that life never comes with a guarantee… my next wound is around the corner. And I know you might just hold the key to helping me get through it.