Digging Out Old Scar Tissue

26 Feb

I keep myself pretty busy.  So the 15 minutes twice a week that I spent laying on my side pretending that my physical therapist is not digging out 5 years worth of old running scar tissue is a rarity.

Thank God.

Because 15 minutes might seem like nothing. It always depends on how the 15 minutes are spent. 15 minutes jumping rope is hard.  A 15 minute plank would just about kill me, seeing as how I can barely breathe at the end of minute 2.  15 minutes of pain is a lot of pain.

And a lot of time to think.  And to dig through metaphorical scar tissue.  Because it’s starting to get cluttered and I hate clutter (except, apparently, right around my left knee where I store it thick and deep and stacked in just such a way that I can walk and bike pain-free but cannot run a mile.)

We all have scar tissue – mostly the things people say to us that we hate and disagree with and know are untrue but still let fester for a time.  Which is why we always feel blindsided when these slights that we thought we’d “moved on from” and “let go” come back to haunt us.  Because instead of dismissing them, we’ve turned them into scar tissue.  We thought burying them was appropriate. But scar tissue eventually reemerges – it can go quite a long time before it makes its presence known and causes problems.

The scar tissue I focused on this week (and will be focusing on again next week) are the things people have said that have shaken my view of myself. My grandfather stating how ugly I looked in my new glasses when I was 9. The birthday card stating “whether you’re in the bleachers or the ski lodge” (because I didn’t belong with the athletic people, I was dismissed as a spectator). The ex telling me that I was “good enough for now but he wanted to keep his options open, although would it be okay if I didn’t keep my options open?” The “it’s too bad you don’t look like one of them” carelessness tossed my way by people viewing pictures of my adorable sisters in my office.  Overhearing someone describe my siblings as “the smart/witty one, the quiet one, the compassionate one and the ballerina.”  Apparently, I am the quiet one.  Which may explain why a Christmas card was once addressed to “Matt, Maresy and Tiny Debs”  Although my parents tried to convince me that “tiny” and “Liz” aren’t that far apart (they both share an i) I think the truth is that I was the quiet one.

Scar tissue if left alone, always builds up.  Whether statements were said in jealousy or frustration or whether they were intended to even be hurtful, we don’t always know.  But we can control our reactions to them.  We can control whether we let them change how we see ourselves.

And we can dig them out.  If its not truth, it doesn’t stay. If it causes pain, it’s time to let it go.  There may be some digging (rather than burying) involved.  Maybe seeking friends to ask them to speak truth to you. Maybe forgiving people for things that were said. Maybe writing down the true positive things that people have encouraged you with and repeating those back every time the negative crops up.  The digging out of old scar tissue is always an active process.  Even when a PT is the one doing the digging, you’re still very much involved.

Trust me.



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