We all have scars, wounds we’ve licked shut, deep cuts we’ve reopened again and again, the difference is just that mine are on the outside.
I look at my daughter, and pray to myself that maybe the pain I’ve felt in my life is somehow, some way a free pass for her. That maybe I’ve suffered my share so that she can live more easily. Maybe my scars will be like little sponges that soak up all her hurt and keep it away from her- maybe they will be like shields that will repel and deflect any suffering. That maybe I carry all of this pain, so that she won’t have to …
Maybe she will think that I am a mighty warrior, bearing my scars, won through battling a terrifying darkness, a darkness I fought long and hard, so that she would never have to see it. So that she would be safe.
What will she say, what will she think? Those questions haunt me, every day. I know the day will come when she asks me, and I will tell white lies for as long as I can, but a day will come she will realize exactly what they are. That I did it to myself- that I was once very unwell and that I used to be destructive and so fragile.
Will I still be her hero? Will I still be someone she looks up to? Will she be disgusted? Ashamed? Will she think I am a monster? A freak?? Will she lose respect for me? Will she be scared of me?
I want her to know my story- I want to be a role model, I want to be an example of success, I want her to learn from my mistakes- but also I want to learn from my mistakes. I cannot teach her or guide her to a healthy life if I don’t have one myself. I cannot show her how to love herself, if I don’t first love myself…
I touch her perfectly smooth, soft skin, I kiss her little hands- and part of my heart twists deep inside with fear that she would ever cause herself the harm I caused myself. I never want those beautiful little fingers to hold something so hideous a razor blade, I never want to see her flawless flesh, flesh of my flesh, be marred- my stomach turns to think of her ever feeling that kind of pain…
And my heart breaks for my mother and how seeing my scars must make her feel- I understand now-as parents there is nothing in this existence more important to us than the health and happiness of our children- and knowing now, feeling the love and awe when I
kiss my daughter’s skin, when I see her smile and laugh- it would break my body in two to find that she ever felt such deep sadness and pain; to know she could ever use those hands to disfigure and mutilate her perfect little body—because that’s how we will always see our children; a teenager or young woman may stand before us, but in their eyes, we see a precious infant, a beautiful perfect child, that we feel such tremendous love for, into who all our hopes and dreams went. And when we hug them, nearly as tall as we are, our arms remember holding that tiny bundle, and this is how we will always remember our children; innocent, pure, perfect.
That is what my mother sees, and if I saw my daughter, and saw her pain carried out on the surface that way- I’d be brought to my knees with the devastation. Her pain is my pain, and I’ll carry it, so that she won’t have to. Always.