When I moved into my house last year, I scratched one of my nice guitars.
It wasn’t a small, inconspicuous scratch either. It was right in the most visible part of the guitar. It wasn’t cool looking either; it looked like a mistake rather than some wear after years of playing.
I struggled with this event for quite a while. I knew that the mark itself didn’t make the guitar any less worthy of being played, and I certainly wasn’t about to buy a new guitar over this scratch, and yet… it was troubling for a reason that I couldn’t place.
With a little bit of time and reflection, I think the feelings I had were about perfection. Specifically, the idea that I can’t be happy unless everything looks, feels, and acts the way I want it to. A guitar should be pristine, I believed. So a blemish is stressful.
But I was able to keep playing and enjoying the guitar anyway. Time passed, and someone even pointed out the scratch to me at one point, and I had forgotten about it.
The funny thing is, I didn’t need to struggle with this at all. There wasn’t much I could’ve done about the scratch. And as many musicians argue, a guitar is meant to be damaged. It means that it’s being used.
The same could be said for people. We’re meant to be damaged, meant to be used up until our very last breath. Battle scars, they’re called.
The pain that I put myself through over something that couldn’t be reversed (at least without a professional luthier) was unnecessary. How much other pain in my life is unnecessary this way? Pain that seems perfectly valid in the moment but is caused by damage that was meant to happen at some point?
It’s more than I think, probably. Maybe all of the suffering is unnecessary.
Maybe every scar is a battle scar.