Emotional Scars Leave Marks for Life — Love Your BEAUTY SCARS Part 4
“When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.” — Anais Nin
Physical scars aren’t the only ones that leave marks. Christa shares her story on an emotional scar that has left its mark since childhood.
I have a scar that hides away most of the time, but it runs deep. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, but I used to keep it hidden from everyone. Nowadays, I’m not so ashamed, a little bolder, a little more proud of where my scar has led me. I’m proud of who I’ve become and realize that the depth of my scar has led to the depth of me as a whole.
As far back as I can remember, I have memories of my stomach tying up in knots and a strange tingling sensation moving through my body. My heart and my mind would race, and a sweeping sense of panic would come over me. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I was able to label this as anxiety. To the four-year-old me, it was just me feeling “sick to my stomach” or the reason why I was quiet and maybe needed to be alone.
Anxiety followed me through my younger years. I had a panic attack in the car with my mom. I didn’t even know what it was; I only knew that I couldn’t breath and I was scared. My mom sang a song with me until I could catch my breath. I have memories of watching the clock at night while trying to fall asleep as a kid. I would stay up for hours watching the clock, telling myself to fall asleep, but seeing the time switch over to the next day.
Depression and anxiety led me down all sorts of crazy paths going into adulthood. They led me to some painful, bad decisions, wrong relationships, and fizzled friendships. Fortunately for me, I hit a serious low thirteen years ago and decided that I was done. I felt like I had been leaning against an old storage closet door, trying to keep all of my garbage stuffed in there, using all of my energy to hide it away. Then, I did something crazy and just let go. I knew I would have tons to sort through, lots of work ahead, but I wanted to be whole above all else.
“He who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no ideal, no convictions — such a man is a mere article of the world’s furniture — a thing moved, instead of a living and moving being — an echo, not a voice.” Henri Frederic Amiel
I went to counseling. I prayed. I tested out setting boundaries. I decided that getting to a place of integrity, being whole and not divided, was my ultimate goal. I prayed some more. I read books about how to heal from past traumas. I learned to meditate and quiet my mind. Did my anxiety go away completely? No. Did I never have to deal with bouts of depression again? Not that, either. After having both of my daughters, my old friend swung by for a baby blues visit and reminded me that he still hangs in the wings. After years of “working on myself,” this can be disappointing at times. Can’t I be cured of this nasty stuff altogether?
But here’s the thing. I don’t look back and think that I was born with anxiety. I do, however, believe that I was born with a sensitive spirit (and likely a genetic predisposition toward anxiety) that combined with some difficult early childhood experiences. Yet that same sensitive spirit that feels downturns in life so deeply also makes me a deeply caring person with a sharp intuition. It makes me a connected mom, a wife that has made plenty of mistakes and knows how not to repeat them, and a healthcare professional that better understands how people are hurting. Most importantly, my scar is an ongoing reminder to me that while I am fiercely stronger than I once could have imagined, I am also vulnerable and deeply in need of God’s grace and direction. My beauty scar will forever remind me of that and also the need to be so, so grateful for all of my wonderful blessings . . . my sweet family, a fantastic job, and a life that has taught me gratitude the hard way.
Thanks for reading. My novel BEAUTY SCARS is out now.
More from me at kerncarter.com