April 13, 2015

The Scars Make Us Stronger

The first thing you’ll have to know about me if you don’t already, is that the picture below is a picture of home. I grew up in this trailer on the very top of a mountain in West Virginia, that was one-parts dirt floor and three-parts aluminum from ages 0 to 18. It had a leaky ceiling and a caved in roof, such that when it would rain outside it would rain just as hard inside. And I can tell you that long after the storm was over, those dark waters just kept pouring down. It had an old wood stove that was never properly fitted at the top. So when you threw a log on the fire, it would shoot orange flames across the ceiling until it singed the edges of the Pink Panther insulation hanging down. It had mice and bugs and, yes, even the occasional snake.

And, it was home.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.07.55 AM

When I tell people this thing about me, this prologue into who I am, you can see the uncomfortable sit upon their shoulders and start to get heavy. Like a weight they never asked to bear. They’ll shift and unsettle, and say things like, “Thank goodness you got out. Thank goodness that’s not you anymore.”

And that’s where they would be wrong. See, everything I am, starts with that trailer. And wherever I go, I carry that trailer with me.

I am a better, kinder, more grateful person because of that trailer. I have a driving work ethic and  an absolute insistence on integrity because of that trailer and the two people who gave up everything to make sure that I got out of it. I have no fear when it comes to our business, because I have already been down deep in the mud. And I know no matter what, I’m not going back there.

I carry that trailer with me. I carry the scars it left, with me.

Because these scars we have only make us stronger. These scars we bear, they make us who we are.

I don’t know where you are today. Whether you’re going through your own dark waters or flying high on the mountaintop. But it was just on my heart to tell you this. Every day you are getting stronger. Every day you are walking a tightrope into the person you were meant to be. Step by hesitant step, you are finding your own way. You are pulling yourself up out of the mud bit by bit, and remembering what it is to stand. Dreaming about what it is to fly. And when you do, when you come out the other side, you will be a better person for it. Yours won’t be a success story despite your scars.

It will be because of them.

So carry those scars with you. Wear them on the outside. Because a scar says to the world that this thing didn’t break you. A scar says I survived.

And when you can see it that way then you’ll know, these scars are a beautiful thing.

  1. Elizabeth

    Simply amazing. Hits home, literally, though the roof of my childhood home didn’t leak quite as bad. This has inspired me immensely. Thanks Mary.

  2. Debbie

    I’ve been following you on Instagram and I adore you and your beautiful work. This post this morning was really eye opening. Most of us have scars from life challenges and it really does build character and strength. Thanks for reminding each of us that we can overcome just about anything but more importantly it’s how we got there! Thanks for caring and sharing.

  3. Erika

    Mary,

    I have told you how much I love your words but this story really moved me! I’m in the mud now but man that mountaintop seems attainable ! <3

  4. alicia daw

    these stories about home are my favorite of all your posts. :)

  5. Jessica

    Mary,

    I so needed this today! Thank you for pouring your heart out. I’m glad you felt you needed to write this!

  6. Leigh

    Thank you for writing this and putting into words so clearly the journey that many of us are on. And, thank you too, for the reminder that are scars are nothing to be ashamed of. Love your writing Mary, and love following your beautiful life :-)

  7. admin

    @Leigh ohhh thank you SO much for that!

  8. colleen

    beautifully written…wonderfully felt. I grew up with immigrant parents and tiny apartments…and two people who gave up everything to give their children a better life. And they did. And the lessons of their love gave me more than all the stuff than money can buy. Thank you for your lovely blog. Read you every day….even though I rarely stop to comment.

  9. Lida

    Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Kelley

    my goodness, this really resonated with me as of late. THANK YOU

  11. Julie Lim

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. There are people who drown in their own bitterness due to poverty but it’s awesome to know that you embraced it and now walk in victory!

  12. Rici

    Dearest! i love this part of you Mary! That you are able to see the beauty in the scars! That you fearlessly show what you carry!! I so greatly admire that in you! I admire your ability to step back and reflect. When you share you share so others may grow. Thank you SO much!
    Sometimes when I read your empowering posts I wonder when the time is right so share some of my story & to share it on the Blog as well. I just guess I need some more time, till the reflecting part is progressed. Just very recently I have pondered about these scars I carry & it felt heavy, scary and a tiny bit ok. I wonder when it will feel a bit better than ok. Till then, yours Rici.

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    […] So carry those scars with you.  Wear them on the outside.  Because a scar says to the world that this thing didn’t break you.  A scar says I survived.  And when you can see it that way then you’ll know, these scars are a beautiful thing.” ~ Mary Marantz […]

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  16. Brittany Hoke

    I listened to your interview with Jenna Kutcher on her Podcast the other day, and I had to look you up! I’m a news anchor at WSAZ in Huntington-Charleston WV so your story struck me right away. And then I found this article! It’s amazing. Covering the stories of West Virginian’s for 6 years now, I’ve seen a lot of people living in those conditions, with no hope, or at least none they can see. And it’s heartbreaking. I love that you allowed your past to shape you, but not define you. We do a lifestyle show at 4pm and I would love to bring your story to our viewers. If you’re ever up for a skype interview (or in studio!) We would love to have you!

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