“Scars are Tattoos with Better Stories”

You’ve been down this road before.

Not only do you remember the trauma, remember every second of living with the consequences of your choice; but you also have the literal scar to prove it. Not only does your choice remain in your mind, but it lives on your body. You see it every day on the surface of your skin.

So what on earth makes you go for Round 2?

Is it boredom that makes you do it? Staring at the same reflection every day that makes you crave a change?

Or is it vanity? The need to perfect something that is imperfect-able.

Most likely its just stupidity. Focusing on the wrong things. Spending hard-earned money on something that you could live without. Obsessing over yourself when there is a whole world outside of you worth obsessing over.

So what do you think I’m talking about? What does it sound like?

The embarrassing truth is; I’m talking about a mole.

Pause for uncomfortable laughter. Now let me explain.

I had a mole removed on my back when I was 14. It was harmless, but had the potential to be not-so-harmless. A simple procedure ended up wrecking my self-image as a teen. Botched surgery after botched surgery and in a place that doesn’t like to heal well (upper back), left me with an unsightly scar. Over the years, I’ve tried everything to remedy my teenage stupidity. Creams, more surgery, sunscreen, research….everything. At some point, I had to learn to live with my scar. Do I flaunt it? Absolutely not. Do I like it? Hell no. But its a part of me, a part of my story. So I live with it and I’ve learned to accept it.

Now I have this lump under my eye. I’ve actually had it since high school, and it bugs me. And recently, its bugged me even more than usual, so I decided to have it checked out. Three different doctors and $150 later, I’m scheduled to have it removed on Tuesday.

Part of me is screaming — DID YOU NOT LEARN YOUR LESSON THE FIRST TIME?

The other half is so dead set on changing this minor thing (that somehow became big because of boredom or vanity or stupidity..or possibly a combination and more) that I cannot let it go, until it is changed.

I wanted to say “fixed”, but I’m not sure if that is the answer in this case.

See, I’m talking about having a mole removed, but I’m also not. Do you get the larger metaphor?

History repeats itself. Life is a cycle. We are all mirrors, all reflections of our past mistakes and hopeful futures. The new people that come into our lives are only the same people with different faces and names.

The giant lesson of life.

Each time we get into a relationship our mind screams: DIDN’T YOU LEARN THE FIRST TIME?

And yet, we try again. Because that is what we are here to do. We are here to learn, and to grow, and to try again. And to try our damndest to do it better the 50th time-around.

I’m freaking out about this mole removal. I wish I could just own the thing and live with it, but the stubborn side of me that I hate (and sometimes appreciate) just won’t let it go. So I’m doing it. And there’s a chance that from Tuesday on, I’ll be known as scar-face.

Or just maybe, if the God of chance and life and circumstance doesn’t want me to end up scar-face, I won’t. I’ll just heal and this will be a minor blip in the story of my life.

(sidenote: I almost put “the God of karma”… but God knows karma would turn me into the actual Bride of Frankenstein).

There is a beauty in human perseverance that is impossible to put words to. The beauty that isn’t so beautiful. That we find in our scars, and our pain, and in our weakest moments. My scar has taught me to appreciate that. That no matter what I do and how hard I try; it will always be there. I, Tori Finch, will never be perfect.

When the dermatologist told me that the scar on my back was literally irreparable, you would think that I would have cried or sunk into the depression that my “problem” could not be fixed. But it was surprisingly the opposite. The part of myself that had been holding on to this pain for the past 9 years, immediately slipped away. In the chaos of life, I had my answer. In a world that is constantly in worry of “what’s next” or “what could be” I knew what actually was. 

I found my own peace in that.

This post may is a mess, but there is some point…I’m sure.

We make choices, and sometimes choices make us. We learn, and we move on, until the next choice must be made. Sometimes things smooth over easily, without leaving a trace. Other times, life leaves us with a scar that will remain in our minds and our hearts, and sometimes even on the surface of our skin, until the day that we leave this place for something else.

The first time I went white-water rafting on the Ocoee River, I bought a sticker to put on my CD case (it was the early 2000’s) that read “Scars are just tattoos with better stories”

We are here to share our stories. I am confident in that. We are here to show each other our scars, and to explain our choices so that we can relate to one another, and ultimately, to live boldly and with so much vigor and passion that our stories make this whole thing worthwhile.

I hope that whatever happens, that my scars big, or small, help me to do it right.

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2 thoughts on ““Scars are Tattoos with Better Stories”

  1. Haha, I have a scar too! Similar thing…I get cysts sometimes. A wonderful blessing of hereditary crap. I once had one on my head and I got that removed; it was a little close to my brain for comfort. Then I got another on the back of my neck.
    It really wasn’t bothering me…I mean, I knew it was there, but no one else did. Part of me went through the removal of it because I wanted to seem more “perfect”, to myself. Part of me just thought it would be cool to have a story to tell and stitches to show.
    Well, I have a scar from that surgery now. A puckered red sort of mark at the base of my neck. Occasionally, I am self-conscious about it, but for the most part, I forget it’s there. But there are assholes(friends) who like to point it out when you’re wearing a tank top and paying for their lunch in front of them after they so rudely invited someone along and you had no idea they were bringing that person with them.
    I am all for sharing our flaws. I really liked your post. But there is still a part of me that gets really pissed off when other people, who have, shall we say, disfigured faces, point out your smaller, tiny flaws.
    Oh and by the way, this is Avery! 😄👍🏻

    • Avery! I miss you! And you definitely have a point. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% comfortable with my scar, but I’ve hidden it so well over the years that I’ve rarely had comments on it. No one should ever point out your flaws for their own gain though. Not cool.

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