Scar Tissue That I Wish I Saw
I am not embarrassed to admit it, I am obsessed with my physical therapist. Its true. She knows it, I know it, and now you know it. I have seen a series of physical therapists since I was run over by a truck, but I have never had one as wonderful as Alicia. She is the gem of all gems.
What makes her so incredible, is not only that she is charming, kind and hilarious, but also that she has shown me how all of the different injuries in the various parts of my body (because there are a lot you guys!) impact each other. She was the first person to talk to me about how my scar tissue, is responsible for pains and strains in other places. To help mobilize the fascia (which, is a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ. If you don't think that I looked that definition up on Google, you are dead wrong) she does something that I hadn’t ever had done before – which is scar therapy. She massages my scars to help to break up the tissue, so that there can be more movement, and in turn less pain.
The other day I was on the PT table, and she was kind enough to be going to town on the scar on my right side, where my bikes gear shift took a chunk out of my side during my accident. This is the scar that I am the most self conscious about, because the skin doesn’t look or feel like the rest of my skin. It is a little bumpy, discolored and very taught.
I feel shame whenever anyone sees it, that shame becomes even worse when anyone touches it. But with Alicia I know that this therapy is important and its helpful, so I do what I always do when I think about my scars – I tell myself that these scars are a part of who I am, that I love them just like I love myself. All of these pieces make me into a whole.
Even though I was telling myself that over and over again, an emotion swept over me that I couldn’t identify or manage. The tears came fast and hot falling from my right eye over the bridge of my nose right onto the PT table. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry" I sputtered to Alicia, "I don’t know what’s going on."
She patted my shoulder and told me that its ok, that this happens a lot. She said that we hold a lot of feelings in our fascia. And that when this layer of our skin gets worked on sometimes those feelings come to the surface. Mine were coming to the surface like gangbusters, and those feelings included some unstoppable tears.
After I took enough deep breaths to stop my mini-sobs, I wiped my face with the back of my hands and hugged Alicia and thanked her for her understanding of my random outburst. I stepped out of the office and walked to the subway, and thought about her explanation. This idea that our feelings can get trapped in our scars was fascinating to me, and it made complete sense.
I thought about all of the hurt I had been holding on to in the bumpy grafted skin on my side. The feelings that had been wrapped in the layers of skin covering those parts of my body, trying to protect it from the harshness of the outside world. The shame that I felt in my vulnerability, in the proof that I had been hurt, was so great that I didn't want for it to be seen. That shame stopped me from truly seeing myself, and working through the scars that were left in that pain's wake.
I realize that there shouldn't be shame in scars, only joy in survival - but sometimes that's really hard. So until I get there, I am going to try to see myself fully, to not be afraid of the pain in my past, and to keep working on that scar tissue until all of that hurt is finally healed.