“Before I heal it’s gonna be a while. Love has got me sore. I don’t want no more.”
Green Eyes – Erykah Badu
What are you left with once the pain is gone; once the scab is a scar?
The healing process is not over just because you see a scar. Because you have to figure out how to live with the scar. Do you cover it with concealer, wear it boldly like a carefully selected tattoo, lament its very existence at every glance?
If you’ve made it anywhere near the other side of 20 years old, you probably experienced some kind of hurt, not a boo-boo kind of injury but a to-the-bone hurt, a take-you-to-your-knees pain, a slow-healing-will-this-ever-heal hurt. Who feels it knows it says Bob Marley. Indeed. Some of us are still sporting scabs from it; a few of our scabs have fallen off and left their misshapen, oddly colored scars. Some of us wear a combination of both scabs and scars.
But we’re all, or will eventually be, tasked with handling the scars.
For a while, I suspected that I had never been that kind of hurt by anything so inconspicuous, even innocent, as love. I had never loved anyone romantically. (Other than teenage love and who really counts that)?!
But a glance through a history of failed situations–relationships is way too generous to call them–and my response to each failure, including my uncanny ability to sabotage them to the point of failure, pointed to another story. You felt something chica. Call it love or call it frog piss.
As one who wears scars fairly boldly–I am an artist after all and our bruises and blushes tend to make their way to Front Street. They’re such rich fertilizer with which to ply and cultivate our wares–I never gave into anything similar to Erykah’s soreness. Or so I thought. I wrote that shit, painted it on my living room walls. Like I was stretching out a kink after a crazy hard workout.
I told myself makeup has never been my bag thanks in no small part to my mom ironically. Before the natural craze took us and shook us from our hair perming self hating selves (pscht) and during Fashion Fair’s heyday for which my Aunt Sarah had a cult like affinity, my mom only wore lipstick on special occasions and just a dab of it then. She never reapplied.
So of course that meant I never had the impetus to cover, no clear cut knowledge of how to do that. I never learned the intricacies of “creating a face” until well into adulthood when I decided the fuss didn’t fit my budget, low maintenance style, or always-late-to-somewhere schedule.
But I’ve created many faces. One is a girl who does not get hurt by no bullshit like love. Hmph. I’ve worn that one for years and suspect I will continue to if I don’t finally decide that it is no longer serving me. The latter, I’m sure, is true. But I’m stubborn like that.
Here’s the other yeah right besides the one my artwork offers:
My body is a bit of a canvas. (This to my mother’s amused, I think–maybe it really is–chagrin). I can read the tattoos and piercings like a braille of every challenge I’ve faced, some in–sigh–love.
So it is, after I pick the scabs to the supreme state of ugliness writing, painting, gluing, and piercing, that I let them turn to scars that I fancy up in pretty clothes and put on the stroll along Front Street.
I don’t guess that’s the worst I could do with them.