‘The wound is the place where the Light enters you.’ – Rumi
Four days before this past Christmas, Life delivered a kick to my gut that sent me reeling -on many levels- and drove me so hard to my knees, I struggled for two weeks before I could remotely regain my footing.
During this time, I was shaken to my very core. Unable to eat or sleep, or find my way in the bleak blackness of it all, I began noticing a very strange phenomenon.
As I struggled through my days and nights, folks started coming out of the woodwork complimenting me. ‘You look great!’ ‘There’s so much light in you!’
I’m a very private person, so these compliments came from folks who knew nothing about my loss, or the ensuing grief that threatened to consume me.
This got me thinking…
I recalled a picture of my Mom that had been taken approximately 2 months after the death of her first husband, when she was all of nineteen or twenty years old.
They had been married just three months when he was killed tragically in an Air Force jet crash.
That loss, and the disasters that followed for my Mom were horrific- yet captured in that one particular photo- there on film for all the world to see- the Truest picture she has ever taken in her life. Raw with unimaginable emotion and humanness, wrapped in an overcoat in the heart of winter, she stands, eyes swollen from the endless tears – a brave smile gently curving her lips everso slightly upward, looking at the camera—looking Life in the eye, her Spirit exposed.
In this photo, she stands undaunted though handicapped, raw but full—very, very REAL. And there it is: the Light pouring forth from her wound.
As beauty is my industry, I’m expected to look good, no matter what. I try never to disappoint- but the two weeks of grief made this difficult. There were circles under my eyes, paleness from not being able to eat, fatigue from sleepless nights- all staring back at me from my bathroom mirror- but there ‘It’ was also: that Light…
An ethereal, not- of- this- world beam. And it was spilling out of me, thru the cracks in my carefully crafted mask, the veneer I’ve created to encase me as I make my rounds in this world. That very same veneer that now was smashed to bits. Light- everywhere.
For those of you who read my articles regularly, or know of my career background, you know I lived and worked in Hollywood, and as such provided makeup services to film and TV celebrities. You also know about my work providing reconstructive and restorative makeup services to burn and scar patients.
My idea of True Beauty is far from the superficial and I’ve always known that as human beings, we have scars- both the visible, external type- there for all the world to see, and the deeper, invisible type that so often haunts us without mercy- nonexistent to those people around us.
It can be debated which type causes the most pain. But there is a new level of understanding for me now.
Technically, scars are made of fibrous tissue that replaces damaged skin after an injury. The formation of a scar is a biological process of repair and as such is a natural part of the healing process.
Throughout my career, I’ve helped women- and men- cover their outer scars, and I’ve also worked with others in an attempt to help them balm their inner scars. Both types bring horrific pain and anguish, and both offer a gift.
‘Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.’― Linda Hogan
In the years I’ve worked with women, I’ve dealt with scars from Domestic Violence, scars from cancer surgeries, scars from births by Ceasarean Section, scars from plane crashes and resulting fires, scars from car wrecks, scars from deforming acne … and scars from crippling grief and despair.
I’ve known women who hated themselves because of their scars. I’ve seen women unable to touch their mastectomy scars -and I’ve done everything within my power to help them learn to-at the very least- make peace with these fibrous reminders—and at the very best, embrace them as gifts.
Some are more willing to do this than others. For each it is a journey of many emotions, many layers- many miles.
Be they physical scars or emotional, TLC is needed, and self acceptance and self love the only balm that will work to ease the pain, the tightness, the rawness.
Where we are the most broken, we are the most beautiful. I believe this with all my heart and soul and I know this to be true. Where we have been broken, we’ve been made pliable, where we’ve been burned, we’ve been laid bare, much like a forest after a raging fire…and from the ashes the hefty and fragrant regrowth comes- with time.
If this New Year finds you aching, injured, marred or reeling please recall these words and then stare yourself in the eyes the next time you stand in front of your bathroom mirror. You will find a beauty there that will take your breath away- and rightly so. It is the beauty of YOU:
‘Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.’― Khalil Gibran
By: Carrie E. Pierce