When skin or organs are damaged, the body naturally wants to heal itself. Since the body cannot re-create healthy skin or tissue, it puts together new fibers that are not as functional as the original tissue, but that serve as a protective, useful barrier. This is known as scarring. Scar tissue is the fibrous connective tissue which forms a scar. Although it takes the place of damaged or destroyed tissue, it is limited in function, including movement, circulation, and sensation.
Physically, I have four visible scars from two different incidents. The first happened when I was five. While playing with my neighbor, she asked if I wanted to try her bike. It was an old bike, and getting the pedals going was not an easy feat. She asked if I wanted her to give me a push start, and though I said no, she decided that I still needed the push. I lost my balance and ended up on the ground. As my hand went out to catch myself, it found a nice pile of rocks. I don’t know if it was a rock or if there was glass mixed in, but I got a nasty cut on my hand. I walked back to my house and completely freaked my mom out. Even eight years later, when we sold that house, you could still see a trail of blood stains on the sidewalk leading to the door. My mom took me to my doctor & I ended up with a few stitches. The scar is hardly noticeable, but I know it’s there. And it reminds me of that incident, but it doesn’t dictate whether or not I ride a bike again.
My second scar is from when I had surgery on my ankle. I was 20 and having major problems with my ankle. I started having trouble with my ankle when I was in junior high. I went to several doctors and specialists before an orthopedist finally figured out the problem. I had several bone chips removed during the surgery and three small scars to always remind me. Those scars are more noticeable – at least to me. A lot of scar tissue developed after the surgery. I’ve lost a great deal of mobility in my ankle. Nothing that hinders everyday activity, but it definitely cut down on what I was truly able to do when I danced. It’s never stopped me from dancing, but I have had to adapt. Sometimes scar tissue forms no matter what you do, but the risk of scar tissue greatly increases if you don’t follow doctor’s orders. There are ways to reduce the scar tissue, but it’s a lot more work with no guarantees that it will actually reduce the scar tissue. Dealing with it right away is always the best choice…
I’ve been thinking a lot about scar tissue lately. Not everyone has physical scars, but I believe everyone has emotional scars. Sometimes, we deal with them right away, and the scars closely mirror the original tissue it is replacing. Other times, we ignore the injury, and as the body tries to heal itself, sub par scar tissue forms. That scar tissue can be protective, but it is extremely less functional. My goal right now is to work to reduce some of the scar tissue to gain back some functionality – to allow my scars to remind me of where I’ve been but no longer dictate where I’m going.
The voices that play in my head – the lies I’ve believed for so long – play a big part in that scar tissue. I learned quickly that I wasn’t good enough, and that voice has cost me a lot of functionality. It also protected me in some ways – kept me from taking risks that could further hurt me. Of course, those risks could have also led to wonderful results that I missed out on.
Last week, there were a few things that happened at work to trigger those voices in my head. I felt that there were unrealistic expectations being placed on me, and I kept hearing that I wasn’t good enough. I quickly realized that the only person placing expectations on me was…well…me. I heard the voice, and I immediately reacted in my known/comfortable way. The voices, & my reactions to them, started out as a defense mechanism. Now they just hinder my ability to function the way God created me to function.
As I thought about what happened at work, I wondered what the voice was ‘protecting’ me from. What purpose would be served? I realized that there’s a little bit of fear that shows up in certain situations. I doubt my abilities, and I don’t want to find out that I can’t do what I’m being asked to do – or what I want to do. So the voice gets triggered, and the ‘blame’ is shifted to external sources. I hate that, but it’s a huge step for me to be able to recognize that – and to recognize it as quickly as I did. So my goal is to continue to do my job to the best of my ability – to accept that I can’t do everything & be okay with that – and to take a couple of risks to get where I want to be & doing what I know I’m capable of doing. I only wish it were as easy as it sounds…