This post is for Azhure.
Some people talk about their desire to make a mark on the world, to leave something behind that tells the story that you existed, and made a difference. I’m no different, that idea holds a weight in my heart that keeps me honest with myself.
However, I also believe that it is even more important, to let the world make it’s mark upon you. We live in this world, in our bodies, with all the trappings of society, culture and so much more. We also get caught up in the idea that somehow, we are to retain an associated perfect burst of youth, of poise, of smoothness and a life unblemished. This is reflected in how we treat our bodies and the expectations around that, it’s reflected in how we remember things and also in the actions we take and how we relate to others. This idea that we can move through the world, negotiate the many ways in which our lives journey, without that ever being visible seems, not only illusory, but disingenuous.
I say this because, the way the world marks us shows us that we are here, that we live and that this is our life to lead. The scars upon my body, the shape I have, the lines and stretchmarks, tell the story of my life. So do the marks upon my soul, my emotional journeys and the many things I’ve struggled with, failed at, been confronted by, the way I’ve loved. All the moments of my life, are the ways in which I have marked the world – there are changes to reflect my passing, be it only my shadow upon the ground. They are also the ways in which the world has marked me, like ink on the pages of my own story.
This idea that we can remain unmarked, unmoved seems to imply a desire for some kind of perfection. My view is that, there is no perfection – it is just a word and a concept, an aspiration that is unattainable, but which we recognise by the degrees of closeness to it, where we sometimes find ourselves. Often in the tiniest of moments. I’m a huge fan of moments. The most powerful lessons I’ve learned in my life, are the lessons from tiny moments.
To be unmarked by the world is to in some critical way, deny your existance – your right to take up space. To understand, to accept, and even to embrace the way in which the world has marked you is a kindness to yourself. It is an act of self love, every time you do it. I find that there is a groundedness, when I take in the myriad ways in which I have been marked – sometimes the marks are temporary like a cut or a scrape, or even an emotional hurt. Sometimes they’re more permanent, scars. Regardless, they tell my story, remind me of my story and they situate me in my body, in the here and now.
To be marked is not always kind, nor fair – there are no contracts in the universe for this. Our experiences good and bad mark us, the people in our lives, mark us, our choices and decisions, those consequences also mark us. Each step is a mark in both directions.
If I seek to leave my mark up on the world, then I seek also to be marked as well. I seek the marking of all the joy and sadness, pain and pleasure that is and might be, or will be mine. Being marked also reminds me that I do make my own mark, that I cannot help but make some kind of impression on the world and it also inspires me to be conscious about what I want that mark to say, how I want that to reflect and what I wish othes to take in or imagine having come across my marks.