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.
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.