Friday, April 17, 2015

Rhino Skin

Scars hurt. Both the mental and the physical ones.

You can be reminded of your scars when you least expect it and are the least prepared for remembering.

One of the most noticeable reminders is flinching when someone gets too close. Like scar tissue, this can occur from both physical and emotional proximity.

Surviving takes strength. But sometimes that strength is missleading, because. while the act of surviving can empower us, it can also create sensitivity in new areas. Scars are a unique reminder of this.

We all build walls to protect ourselves from damage, whether we mean to or not. We grow thicker skin when we have to. But, even rhino skin feels pain.

No matter how high up the walls go to keep us from additional hurt, there will always be a crack where someone or something can sneak in. Scar tissue can react instinctively to the closeness that comes through the cracks. Scar tissue is beyond sensitive.

An unexpected word or touch that gets too close and we pull away. We don't mean to be that wounded or so damaged we avoid contact. But, a body and a heart will protect itself, beyond rational thought. No one wants to hurt on top of scar tissue. No one wants to be reminded of the pain that caused the scars in the first place.

But a hidden scar, one we keep walled up or buried, doesn't have a complete chance to heal. If a scar is allowed to remain so vulnerable and raw, kept so cloistered, it will forever hinder closeness of contact. Thicker skin doesn't protect us either, since there is always something unexpected which can penetrate and do damage to the tender skin below.

There is no shame in having been scarred or guilt in wanting to protect from additional scarring. We are all human. But, one of the most important things we can do in our survival is allow honest views of ourselves. It is far from easy. It takes a certain kind of bravery to be open and that level of honesty leaves us exposed. We have to find ways to carefully peel back the tough layers of skin and remove bricks to widen the cracks in our walls. It takes a conscious effort, but physical and emotional closeness is how people find the bravery to heal.

Perfection is not actually beautiful. It only seems so on the surface, because it's so unobtainable. Perfection is always false, because nothing, and no one, is ever perfect. True beauty in human beings lies in our uniqueness and similarities. The things which make us who we are, more often than not, came from our unique struggles along the way. Since everyone is flawed and struggles with something, we all have that in common.

We all have scars. We all try to protect ourselves from more hurt. But, we all need each other. We all need contact to heal and survive.

Let go of the shame of not being perfect. Forgive the pain. Risk trusting your scars with another. Share the scarred side of yourself, so your deepest scars can heal and fade. Fight against flinching from closeness. Accept who you are and share that with others.

Our scars hurt, but they are part of what makes us beautiful.

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