Geoffrey Chaucer wrote, “Time heals all wounds.”
However, he forgot to mention the scars those wounds leave behind. Pain leaves a permanent mark, a tattoo inside the brain that seems to never fade. Some may call these memories, while others may refer to them as, well, nightmares or ghosts of the past. And that’s the thing about the human memory — it works in strange and mysterious ways.
Our individual perceptions of the memory is just so unique. So subtly cruel yet reminding. Because just when you start to think a scene from the past is on the verge of becoming a fuzzy blur in the rearview mirror, the scar hurts. The scar calls your name. It wants attention.
The scar is supposed to be a reminder that “it happened.” A reminder that we survived. Maybe the scar calls your name not to bring you pain but to remind you that you lived through pain — to remind you that whatever pain you suffered only made you stronger.
So maybe we control our memories, or maybe our memories control us.
I guess that’s up to you to decide. Me, I do not believe that we have the power to control our memories. We do not have the power to choose what memories we keep and what memories we can magically delete. If that were the case, life would be rather easy. I would hit the big, red delete button for every bad memory.
And poof! They’d disappear just like that! Ah, that would be a dream come true. Or would it? It’d be more like a weird utopia — no memory of pain, therefore no pain.
But who would you be without pain? Who would you be without scars?
Who would you be without bad memories? You know, the type of memories you hate to relive, but the type of memories you’re subconsciously grateful for? Who would you be without scars? You know, the types of scars that hurt, but the type of scars that represent overcoming?
I’ll admit there are times that I push memories to the back of my brain. I hope that I will one day forget them. Sometimes I even like to pretend that they are erased. I pretend to tap a wand to my scar tissue. But it’s unrealistic to think this way. Other times I like to bask in the glory of good memories. I bask and pray the high never ends. But that too is unrealistic.
Memories are a part of who you are. There’s no taking them back and there’s certainly no hypnosis that erases them. Chaucer was right when he said, “Time heals all wounds.” He didn’t say anything about erasing them.
Such as a broken heart takes time to heal, so does the delicate tissue of an open wound. The heart is an internal organ — after it heals, scars remain. We just can’t seem them. When it comes to our external scars, they’re visible. But they are a reminder to kiss yesterday goodbye and keep moving forward. A reminder that you are strong.
I won’t sugarcoat it. At times, the wound may reopen. It may bleed and cause pain. But a minor setback does not define the progress you have made.
So, acknowledge the past, yet do not let it hold you back. The one charm about the past is that it is the past.
Most importantly, always remember that to cure darkness, you must find light. To write the narrative, you must keep writing.
Write your story. Scars do not define you; they are a part of you.