Monday, September 6, 2010

Wish I had a scar

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  I wish there was a way to tell that I was a widow without it being something that I had to say out loud.  I wish that it were obvious from looking at me.

I wish I had a scar to show the emotional wounds.

In some cultures, there are ways to tell.  I remember reading a book about an Indian family, and the character’s father had died and she had not yet seen her mother, and was dreading what she would look like, with the vermillion washed from her part.  I guess that Indian women wear that red powder in their part only when they’re married and then when they’re widowed they wash it out.  I think this would be so helpful.  It would cut back on the questions.

I’ve been asked no less than three times in the last week if I’m married.  I still wear my ring, so it’s not an inappropriate question for a stranger to ask, but it sucks the same amount weather it’s appropriate or not.  It completely deflates me.  Plus, I know that it immediately makes the other person feel awkward, so I don’t quite know how to handle it.  So far, I just answer, as sweetly as I can (to try not to make them feel uncomfortable), “No, I’m widowed.” And then wait for the person to bolt.

The thing is, it feels like such a deep wound, accompanied by actual physical pain, that I feel like I should at least have a kick-ass scar to show off for all of this.

I mean, really, you can look at it a couple of different ways, weather you look at it in the spiritual sense of “two becoming one” or the more worldly way of “my better half,” we all tend to agree that that’s what a husband can be, and certainly what Sawan was for me.  So to lose that half of me, to have it ripped from me, and have to move forward is so difficult, and you can’t even tell by looking at me. 

I am doing better these days, and starting to feel a little more like a whole person, but in the beginning especially, I felt like I had lost an arm and a leg.  Or even more than that, like I had lost half of my cells and was trying to have to survive without them. 

I had an accident with a steak knife at work back when I was waiting tables in beauty school.  I was opening a package of coffee and ended up opening my finger instead.  I did nerve and artery damage and had to have surgery.  That scar was so tender for years.  If you touched it the wrong way it could send me into hysterics.  That’s a lot like how this is.  I’ll be doing fine and then something touches my internal scar and I’m thrown back into the pain of everything. 

I just sometimes wish that it was on the outside, not internal, so that everyone could see and it could be like my war wound and I could be sure that people didn’t think I was a wuss.  (Note:  This is my own insecurity.  I’m not treated like I’m a wuss.)


  1. That is a great idea. I used to wish that others would just tell everyone around me so I could quit ruining conversations. And so that my neighbors would stop thinking my sister and I were lesbians who'd adopted (she lived with me and little B for almost two years). People would say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know," and I would laugh it off "It's not like I wear a sign or anything."

    But you're right. A scar is a much closer approximation than a sign. I wore my wedding ring for years (I still wear my engagement ring, but on the right hand). It felt very hollow and sad to wear it without a person on the other end, but it was much much worse to not have it on at all.

    We should get tattoos, but really small ones because I'm scared of needles.

  2. true. such a good point.