Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Scar Power vs. the B-word


Ragged, angry, no real color
But clear as day it mars your flesh
Rises and dips atop the sweet pool
Of caramel skin beneath
Your death must have been on the agenda
But your scar happened instead

You submit to greeting each day
Happy, not happy to wake
Forced to fondle that winding snake
Wash, treat, cream and oil
Told it softens, blends, hides
All you’ve done is make it shine

You know too well the pain, the pain
Of random acts of hatred
The proof is written on your chest
And reads “I survived.”
But now you wonder in what world
Does survival look—feel—like a snake in the grass?
© Arissa Freeman, All rights reserved

Ever been called bitter?  Criticized for holding on to something the world thinks you should let go?  I know.  Me, too.  I will probably carry a red torch for certain people for the rest of my life.  But I won't spit at them on the street.  I just won't smile.  What's the harm in that?

And if I choose to cross the street altogether until I'm ready to give them that square look in the eye and nod in passing, that's my business, too.

Like all survivors, I have scars.  When they were newborn wounds, I licked them for a minute, but quickly tried to move on. I wasn't ready to, but I did it anyway, to avoid being called the B-word--bitter.  I did it to be seen as resilient.  Not sorry for myself.  It was a huge mistake.

I should have given myself all the time I needed to heal, to relearn why I am worth full closure.  Sanity, for one thing.  Being human, for another.  And because only time can ease some pain, most of all.

The thing about getting hurt is that eventually, you heal, but not without scars.  They tell a story about us, even ones we don't realize are being told.  It's visible in our demeanor, audible in our tones, undeniable in our actions.  Mine won't make me a wicked witch, but they do have power over how I act going forward.  I ride with that power, though.  There's nothing bitter about being cautious or avoiding people who don't deserve to be a part of my life.  Me protecting myself from further damage is vital.  But for the ones who stick by me, and the ones I am destined to meet later in life, I use memories of my hurts to pour double-love on them.  Does that make sense?  Like, it feels even better to love on others, because I remember how it felt to have hatred slung at me.

The catch is, while I'm doing this, there are people I might come across again who fit snugly into that category of "You Suck."  This is where if I'm still not ready to smile, the whole "You're still mad?" thing comes into play.

Honestly, and especially if they haven't apologized, yes.  I'm probably pissed.  But I'm also an adult. Eventually, I'll stay on the same side of the street.  I'll nod.  But forget the BFF thing.  Not because it's up to me to get over their thoughtlessness.  It's because they chose to be thoughtless.  They lost a friend, I just learned a lesson.

Check me out very closely.  That's actually a joke.  You don't have to squint, because I'll tell you anything that is my business to tell, right up front.   What I don't say, I show, through genuine actions.  I try hard as hell to stick to this method because that is what people deserve when dealing with others.  I give it.  I expect it back.  When I don't get it, it's time to move.

Most people call that real, not real bitter.

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