There is a scar on my left arm, about eight inches from my wrist on the inside. It is about the size of a quarter and is dark purple. This scar has a lot of stories to explain its birth, none of them true, none of them believable. I don’t want to tell people that it doesn’t bother me. I don’t want to tell people that I did it. I put it there, it is a reminder.
It’s a reminder of a lot of times. Times when I fell in love when I shouldn’t. Times when I escaped with my life when I shouldn’t have. Times when I could have tried, but I didn’t. Times when I should have cared but I didn’t. There are things in our lives that we don’t want to be reminded of, but we need to be. They changed us. They shaped us. They continue to do so. For better or worse, despite the tears and pain, they made us who we are. When I look at my wrist, I am reminded.
It is a punishment for a lot of choices. Ones I shouldn’t have made and others that I should have. “Don’t ever forget,” it says to me, “if you don’t know where you have been, how will you ever know where you are going?” You won’t, that’s not the way it works. At least not in my eyes.
So you may say it is self-destructive or over dramatic. Call it what you will, but to me it is a tattoo of which only I know the meaning. It is starting to fade as it does over time and has before, but someday it will grow again. Just as it grows, so do I. I grow to learn that I am not my parent’s child anymore, I am my own man. I have always learned the hard way, not by choice but out of instinct. That instinct begs me to experience everything that I can, learn all that I can. I’m just making sure I don’t forget.