Monday, September 5, 2011


"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." What utter bullshit. Kind of like those other lies adults tell children:

"Don't eat the watermelon seeds, or a watermelon plant will grow out your ears," or "Brown cows give chocolate milk," and "Spaghetti grows on trees."

I don't know why I took this shot. Well, actually I do. It was interesting. It was this completely different rock formation in the middle of loose rocks and gravel, almost like a scar in the middle of  this rocky beach.

I have scars. We all do. Ok, maybe there's one person somewhere on the planet who doesn't. I have a scar on my knee from some stupid kid who decided it would be a cool trick to put a plastic marshmallow bag on a stick and then into the fire. I was eight at the time, on an overnight camping trip with the Cub Scouts and we were roasting marshmallows. Stupid Kid was sitting next to me and when he pulled the bag out of the fire part of the bag fell on my exposed knee. The scar is about the size of a dime, and has faded slightly over time.

I have another one on my wrist from when I changed a transmission. (How butch!)

I also have emotional scars. Scars from the names I was called in school. Scars from the way I was treated in school. Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is so true. And yet it isn't. I have an excellent memory so I do remember what they said, what they did, and how I felt. And what's more, I remember faces. In hindsight, which of course is always perfect, I thought it was funny the girl with the bad haircut, cats' eye glasses and buck teeth was calling me ugly. And yet it still hurt. Sometimes, I flash back to that moment, especially when someone is telling me the opposite now. And I find it hard to accept the compliment.

Physical scars are difficult to erase, but there are creams and lotions to allegedly help reduce them. There's no magic elixir or potion to heal emotional scars. The only thing I have found that helps is, affirmations. And even so, it still takes time until they undo the damage done by the bullies, and it's very easy to backslide into the negative because the scars will always be there having become part of me.

I am reminded of a scene from a television show my ex watched religiously; "Xena: Warrior Princess." In this particular scene, Xena is talking with her naive young sidekick, Gabrielle, next to a slow moving stream. Xena is trying to overcome her bloodthirsty warrior past, and turn towards the good. Gabrielle comments on how calm and peaceful Xena appears nowadays. Xena picks up a rock and throws it into the stream causing it to ripple, disturbing the smooth glasslike surface. She explains that once the ripples settle the stream will once again have its same outward appearance, but the rock underneath has now changed the stream forever. It has become part of the stream as Xena's past is indeed a part of her, which she must acknowledge.

I do acknowledge my physical scars, as some of them came with great achievement. (I never knew I could actually change a transmission! And a manual one at that! I don't know if I'd attempt it again, however.) I must also acknowledge my emotional scars, and work to overcome them. Perhaps, the best way to overcome them, is to embrace them as my imperfections and insecurities. Not an easy nor comfortable thing to do.

But it still hurts. And what if they rear their ugly heads when I date?

I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it.


  1. Gets me thinking of my scars as well. Been trying for years to forget them. Think I'll start embracing them as well!

  2. Laura,

    Yes, it is an empowering feeling to embrace the past, hurts and all. Though it is never an easy process.


  3. Being a sissy boy who mostly played with his girl-friends, I never got many of those scars we males get in those "boys-only" childhood games.

    Emotional scars, though, I'm FULL of them. I know perfectly well how being bullied at school (and outside school as well) can damage our self-steem, confidence etc. Even our adult life, I daresay, as some of the emotional problems/fear we have today can be explained if we look back at the experiences we had in our childhood.

    I was SOOOO terribly bullied every day at school for being a gay boy. And that was even before I knew what being gay meant. Wait, I didn't even know what sex was yet.

    I remember years ago when I joined I met several of my former classmates (from elementary school) online. We were adults now, but while I couldn't remember exactly how/when each one of them bullied me, I still could remember whether they had ever bullied me at all, and how painful it was. I was OK with communicating with them now, ONLINE, for I understand that they're no longer kids and their behavior has certainly (hopefully) changed). But it still hurt when I would think about the past we shared.

    Then one of them (which was a very social girl and one of my best girl-friends at school. In fact, she was the one who'd always stand up for me and defend me from the bullies) decided to organize a meeting, for the old times' sake.

    I said I wasn't going, and she was uterrly pissed. "Magno, they are adults now. They are different. You'd better let bygones be bygones and learn how to forgive once and for all."

    Maybe she was right, but don't really think it's all about learning to forgive. What's the point of those meetings, anyway. We not only give our old pals an update on what's been happening to us since we left school, but we also BRING BACK THE OLD TIMES, and that's what I wanted to avoid. I didn't want to sit at a table with all of them and remember (laugh at it? Unlikely) how most of them made my schoolife HELL for many years.

    Thank God it was eventually over. But if today I think twice before hurting anybody feelings, maybe it's because I have long learned that one can take back his offensive words after he's said it.

  4. Magno,

    How beautifully put! I, too, wanted to avoid any connection with the last high school I attended, for there the bullying was worse than in the others. (I attended three.) Middle school was indeed the worst. I did have friends, but that didn't alleviate the pain.

    You are correct in saying many of our adult problems stem from these incidents. But, I beg to differ, forgiveness is indeed important; for if we don't forgive we can never get over the anger and enjoy the life ahead of us.