The Tattoos of Childhood Scars

These are things we never talk about. These are things we try not to think about. These are things we’d rather die than share with the world. These are the things that have most tainted the we we could have been.

We are not the people our selfies show. At work, at parties, the us that our friends see is just a shade of a much deeper color. A color painted by an abusive aunt’s screams, a naughty cousin’s finger, a drunken father’s belt…many many years ago. Our darkest secrets and heaviest weights date back to when we were so naïve, so vulnerable, so innocent. The thing that triggered the full-blown battles we have in our closets was so innocuous when it first said hello to us.

Those who grew up in rich homes and those from poor homes have their own sets of scars. It may have been a mum who spoke all kinds of poison in her rage, or an overly stern father who beat his idea of perfection into you. It could have been the loose zip of an uncle who was supposed to look out for you or the promised adventure Kofi promised when he told you it was okay for one boy to kiss another boy.

It could’ve been in that bathroom, when slimy soap felt better than it normally should and stiffened things that should have stayed flaccid. It could’ve been that justifiable act of picking dad’s coins, since he never gave enough money. It could’ve been in JSS, when you felt the need to paint a picture of a lifestyle your parents could never afford that has trapped you behind bars of pretense and misplaced identity. It could’ve been many other things. But it’s done. The harm has been caused. You’re now a full grown adult who has to shave every now and then.

The scars remain; they’ve stained your expectation of life and your faith in people. They have sowed deep seeds of anger and bitterness. They have turned you into a hermit when you could have been so outgoing, or into a seemingly happy-go-lucky person, when you are so empty inside. What are you going to do about it? Wear it like some stylish tattoo?

I can’t show you all my scars, but I can share this one; I’m a southpaw. My syto schoolteacher didn’t understand why I preferred to write with my left. She took it upon herself to cast out the demon of left-handedness. I tried hard indeed but writing with my right hand never felt right. So I had an ugly handwriting. She kept forcing me to run with my right when I could fly with my left. I endured many ruler assaults so to date, I see a ruler more as a weapon of mass destruction than a drawing tool. Lol

But I am blessed. We moved from Osu so I had to change schools and Miss Annor was so much more understanding. In class four when I was allowed to write with my left again, I had to learn how to write all over again. Fortunately my first crush; Clara Lamptey had a writing so pure it was proof of her virginity(she’s married now). I’d take her notes home and write my ‘a’ like she did hers, curve my ‘y’s like she curved hers. I guess my heart beating for her made the self-tutoring much easier. My writing is great now, but when I see the cursive skills of my dear Morning Star cousin, I know that that syto school teacher did me in paah. God bless her.

Fam, you have to let it go. It may be easy for me to say because I don’t know how messed up your story is, but lets not turn this into a ‘whose story is messiest?’ contest, that solves nothing. You may have exhausted a lifetime of energy trying to get over it and given up now. You’ve resigned to living with it for ever…perhaps you deserved it? You think? Oo o shaaame! Just like that? You wont try again? Twenty-something, thirty-something and you’ll let the thing you had no control over when you were little shape and control your future? Have things gotten that bad? Have you forgotten who you are and WHOSE you are?

sad happy 1
His strength is made perfect in your weakness. 2 Corinth. 12:9

It’s not your job to ask God where He was when all that pain was being inflicted, can the clay pot ask the potter why he used red clay and not white clay? Can the yam fufu ask the chef why he wasn’t rather used to make Yam chips to be had with Exeter corned beef? Since when? That approach will do you more harm than good. Do a little of it, yes. Use your tiny mortal fists to beat his infinite chest in rage, then break into His arms and allow Him to console you. Let Him speak sweet nothings to you through His Psalms and step aside for him to gradually repair the hurt and the pain.

Be ready to let it go and mean it when you ask for His help. Recognize the limitations of being just one human dealing with such a heavy weight from your past. Believe that He is able to repair and restore and then cling to Him. SHUT THAT MIND OF YOURS UP!! Shut it up with the energy you’ll use to kill a mosquito bloated with your blood and snoozing on your thigh. Don’t let its logical reasoning rob you of a relief only His Spirit can give. Be like a child. Trust Him.

And when the healing is underway and you start your own family, do everything to make sure your kids don’t fall into the same quagmire. Be more watchful when the cousins come over. Reassure her of her beauty and rare value before she even learns to walk. Create the kind of relationship that will make it impossible for your children to keep their personal struggles from you their whole life!

Don’t embarrass them at school, don’t easily believe your friend over them. Don’t make the same mistakes yours made! Do all you possibly can so your kids never grow up with the scars you are masquerading as tattoos. Will you try? Pretty please?

PS: Don’t keep! Share…& then subscribe, okay :-(?

[subscribe2]

42 Comments

  1. Precious said:

    Great piece!

    January 26, 2017
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Thanks P 😉

      January 28, 2017
      Reply
  2. yaw duodu said:

    Boss!!! I salute…

    August 15, 2016
    Reply
  3. Bessmah said:

    Great piece. Keep sharing!!

    March 23, 2016
    Reply
  4. Addy said:

    u have me in a place I always avoid going to. instead of dealing with it and asking God to heal me, I always suppress it. dear God please help me.

    March 4, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      And me too! We all need His touch. Desperately.

      March 9, 2016
      Reply
  5. Constante said:

    hmmm…I can only sigh…so help me GOD
    You try, and then the person or people keep doing something uglier…and just when you thought you were done forgiving them and over it, there they go again, bringing out their ugliest and most painful act…

    March 2, 2016
    Reply
  6. Angie said:

    Arrrhh, how refreshing!

    March 2, 2016
    Reply
  7. Reginald Asamoah Otoo said:

    Woowww! !
    Nice piece. Thank you boss. God bless you

    February 29, 2016
    Reply
  8. Gloria said:

    Wow, God bless u Ben

    February 29, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      And you too Gloria, thanks for writing.

      February 29, 2016
      Reply
  9. geoegina said:

    Wow Ben what a good piece. God continue to bless you for the transformation you bring to lives. It is just by divine Grace that we’ve been able to put all scars behind us and move on so His will will be done in our lives. Looking up to the author and finisher of our faith.

    February 29, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Amen and Amen and AAAMMEENNNN!!! Thanks for passing through G.

      February 29, 2016
      Reply
  10. Eme said:

    Wow!!! hmmm…*sigh* thought provoking….

    February 29, 2016
    Reply
  11. Annette said:

    …………but how do look beyond the scars??
    How do you see the beauty hidden beneath the scars??
    How do you get ‘over it’ when ALMOST every statement or word or some other thing reminds You of an event you wish never happened ?????
    HOW????????

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
  12. Naa said:

    So uplifting. Thank you.

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
  13. Kekeli said:

    A friend shared one of your posts a couple of weeks ago, and now i can’t read enough of them.
    Got a lot to say, but i fear i may spend the rest of the day editing😒
    Thanks for answering to His call Ben, your writing is a blessing.

    Reading this brought back some painful memories,most i thought i had buried deep enough. Apparently not.
    Work in progress.

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Wow. This must be the highlight of my weekend! Your kind words have done more than you can imagine. Thank you K. I pray that work in progress gets fully done very soon.

      February 29, 2016
      Reply
  14. Diori Hamani said:

    Thank you very much for this post. I grew up with so much hate and anger in my heart from suffering abuse and negligence. Today, I am proud to say that I let it all go. I am much more focused on making sure that my children, if I should ever have them, will never suffer the same ordeal as I did.

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Then you have done something that’s soo hard for most people! Way to go! For that your children will be lucky to have you as mum. Very lucky.

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
      • Diori Hamani said:

        Hahaha! More like Dad. But thank you. My children will be lucky indeed. I think when you open up your mind to the universe, and begin to see and understand the world in a different light, you stop hating people for being who they are, no matter their bad choices, and no matter how those bad choices may have affected your life. You forgive yourself when you truly forgive them. That is how you move on.

        March 2, 2016
        Reply
  15. Leslie said:

    Lately since I got to this phase of my life, if you get what I mean lol, I’ve been thinking a lot about the last part of your post ie being on guard and ensuring your children don’t get undeserved scars. I pray the Holy Spirit teaches us and opens our eyes to these things.

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Lol, I know full well what you mean Mr. Hubby of the year. lol, and God will be faithful as He’s always been. I pray the same thing as you. E go be!

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
  16. Evelyn Bruce said:

    You can forgive, you can move forward but how do you move past the paranoia it creates. *sigh*

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Hmmm. Time I guess. Quite some time, with guided trust. Trust that is misguided is fertile for paranoia. I’ve seen, the truest guide is the Holy Spirit.

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
  17. Ofeibea said:

    True talk. Seeing how every experience shapes us is very crucial – so much so that we would want to leave it in the hands of the one who can make a thorough job with it : GOD.

    by the way God does not whisper sweet nothings, every whisper is definitely something ……that does a great work in our hearts.

    February 28, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Yup, He does the most thorough job of all!
      And about sweet nothing…that tricky colloquial expression is actually packed with a lot of emotional significance. The ‘nothing’ in it could mislead you.

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
  18. Maame A said:

    True talk ! Having my fair share of childhood scars 😏, what I have come to learn is that , these things shape us , we can either allow it to give us an ugly shape or a beautiful one 😁.Letting Go and Letting God is the way to Go …. You always win in the end !😊

    February 27, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Whew! Youàve crossed a finish line so many people wish they’d reached Maame. I’m sure your encouragement could inspire lots and lots of people.

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
      • Maame A said:

        😊😊True , maybe my scars are just tiny lol and those events to some , may not be so sharp as to cut skin let alone cause a scar lol … So maybe it was easier ….But “all scars be scars “whether big or small 😀. A good support system is always beneficial and the Grace of God ooo , Not an easy race I must say … Finish line no dier I’m still crossing it ! So help me God !💪

        February 28, 2016
        Reply
  19. dela said:

    Boss my step mum really made my childhood a hell. Starved me of food. As for the beatings… It was not easy to forgive her. Planned many bad things against her. Now, she keeps avoiding me and is so shy in my presence. Christ taught me to forgive, and i have wholeheartedly done that. It is so powerful. Now, I wish to look at her and say ‘ go, your sins are forgiven’

    February 27, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Chaaarrlleee! She had no clue that what she meant for your evil was going to be turned for your good. You’ve done awesome by reaching this point. I bless God for your life.

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
      • dela said:

        Bless you too

        March 2, 2016
        Reply
  20. Nana said:

    Bless you

    February 27, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Aaaannnd youuu mmoorrree!

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
  21. Elorm said:

    thank you Ben for bringing up an issue that is mostly hidden safely away for a lot of people..

    i pray that any of us that have been through a negative experience while growing up will receive healing from the Lord…especially the psychological/emotional aspect of the many hurts we keep inside.. i pray also, that we are able to forgive the ones that hurt us and that we are able to see life with new eyes. i pray for restoration and peace in Jesus mighty name!
    for those whose scars are as a result of the actions (and/or inactions) of their parents, i leave this quote from a book i read sometime ago…. it says “if someone ruined the first 20 years of your life, dont let them ruin the next 20 years” *paraphrased*

    February 27, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Dr. E, please how come you dont have a blog or write full posts and tag me some??!!! It’s about time ooo. Thank you for represen’n

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
  22. Benny said:

    Wow… Thank you for sharing what has been hidden in my ‘personal’ notepad for years.
    God continue to bless you

    February 27, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Looks like we’re on the same wavelength then. What’s on thenext page? 🙂

      February 28, 2016
      Reply
  23. Letitia said:

    *sigh*

    February 27, 2016
    Reply
    • BenJ said:

      Hmmmm…. *double sigh*

      February 28, 2016
      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *