Growth and Decay are One and the Same
Oh my, what beauty can grow where the darkness goes.
At one point in my life, all my arms carried were scars leftover from wars lost against myself. For many years, my arms were shadows of shame always hanging by my side, holding onto memories from the darkest time of my life. The first time I ever addressed the scars I was terrified, but I swallowed my pain to help hold the hand of someone needing my strength. I told this person for six years it was me and a blade sharing secret exchanges behind locked doors or bathroom stalls. For six years it was hoodies and long sleeves in 90 degrees St. Louis heat. I still remember the look on his face when he said he had noticed the stars but was too scared to ask because he didn't know what memories would rip open. The truth is, we all walk around with scars on our bodies, we pack up our trials and tribualations and haul them everywhere with us. Some wear their scars like medals of honor while others tuck them away like symbols of shame. Me? For a long time, I was the latter; until I got older enough to wonder what good came out the time spent in agony.
So, what beauty can come from darkness? For me, it was learning neither my body nor mind will ever again be weaponized against me. My heart and my soul yearn to see too much to bleed myself dry. This skin of mine felt like a stranger staring back at me in the mirror for too long, but the scars, they made it real. They showed me it is possible to heal. Every breath a breathe is now a "thank you" to the universe for not letting me quit on me. The contrast between light and dark can be so stark, so scary, so intimmidating. The harshness of reality with the danity softness of my idealizing can be overwhelming. By through the darkness art can bloom. While the darkness can have no end, the light as no beginning.
This tattoo covers about six plus years of self harm scars made by a girl that didn't think she'd see high school graduation, let alone the college graduation just ahead for me this December. The person I am today would be a total stranger to the girl who created such markings on her skin, but that young girl is all too close to me. She lingers in my poetry because the pain at one point was all I could see. Today, I see life bloom in technicolor and I always stop to smell every flower. Today, these scars are covered by what I now see within me; strong bones and a garden of hope.