When I was a little girl I dabbled in being a Brownie and eventually became a Girl Scout. I remember so vividly slanging cookies door-to-door (before the risk of the evils of the world could swallow up an innocent child) and skipping down the street to sell a little piece of Heaven wrapped up in a Thin Mint. I cherish memories of sleepovers and meetings and events with such fondness. Some of the main goals of a Girl Scout was to master certain skills, do good deeds, and spread kindness to earn badges for their uniform sash. I remember how blinged out my older sister’s sash was and how I couldn’t wait until the day I would be able to carry the same honor resting perfectly on my neatly pressed uniform. As my badges grew I pranced around my room and it allowed me to taste what it was like to wear a sash center stage, smiling until your face went numb, and stumbling through the answer to the question, “What would you do to solve world peace?” Okay, so it had nothing to do with ‘Miss America’ but in my little brain, it was the closest way to feel like I was worthy of such a title.
Each badge represented integrity, skill, stretching beyond a comfort zone, and giving back to the community. I carried those badges with pride as a great reminder for all my hard work and making a difference in my world. Then the fear of judgment rocked my little 8th-grade self when I moved to a new town and I wanted to fit in so badly. I had an opportunity to join the Girl Scouts in my new hometown. Instead, I believed a lie planted in my mind when another girl said to me, “Um, Girl Scouts, in 8th grade is an absolute reputation killer. Only a “nobody” is in Girl Scouts.” Please go ahead and repeat that sentence in a “white girl from the valley”accent to give yourself a better reenactment. So, I tossed my uniform in the garbage and took residency in a place of seeking constant approval in all of the wrong places. As I grew older and more unsure of myself and lost complete confidence in anything I touched, I eventually earned badges of pain, despair, shame, abuse, addiction, and disappointment.
These badges hurt, sure as Hell weren’t as cute as my Girl Scout badges, and I wore them so long they began to chip away at my soul. These soul-suckers cozied up so deeply into the nooks of my heart and soon I had scars all over me. It took me years to overcome my adversity and pain. They were years of consistent work, self-reflection, and finding God to finally bring some clarity to my pain-filtered eyes. My journey of self-discovery and healing wasn’t always smooth. During those times I discovered that if rubbed Vitamin E on the scars I would eventually have been able to make them barely visible to the naked eye. Pretty much like a quick botox injection to rid you of those pesky lines in your forehead. I admit putting some vitamin E on things seemed like the better option and an easy way to hide the shame (the most painful of all scars), but after major growing up and putting big girl pants on, I finally learned that each scar serves as a beautiful reminder to me and all that I have overcome. I can trace my finger ever so gently over each one and be taken back to a place in time. What once brought great sadness and shame with each visit now becomes a celebration – a sweet celebration that turns my pain into purpose.
The scars that I wear do not define me but have simply refined me.
Will you join me in celebration? What have your scars brought you? How do you perceive them? Vitamin E and botox won’t rid the permanency of a scar or major laugh lines that will never stop creeping up on your face; they will merely bring you a temporary fix. If you tap into resources, relationships, and dig deep into your pain it will bring you so much more freedom than you could ever imagine – kind of like a botox injection to the soul but way better, more permanent, and much cheaper. It will help you to see all of the goodness life brings in the most painful of times. It won’t be easy to visit each scar but I promise if you stick it through your life will forever change. Every visit that begins with crippling fear eventually turns to hesitancy and then becomes a visit full of sweet anticipation. And I hear at each celebration they have an unlimited amount of Girl Scout cookies to eat and you don’t gain a pound! Okay…I went too far with that.
Either way -will you join me in reflection, hard work, celebration, and giving thanks? It is way, way, way, way, way, way, way (did I mention way?), more nourishing to that beautiful spirit of yours than debating your feelings about Trump with your friends, family, and foes.