Tattoos are not for me. Never have been, probably never will be. But I get why some people just love them.
Whether it’s a Chinese symbol, a picture of the Eiffel Tower, an important date, or an ink impression of the love your life, every tattoo is a chapter in someone’s life.
But no ink for me, thank you. I’m a scar man.
Every time I look at the hairless patch on my left shin, I remember my cuzzy Hein.
As kids we grew up together, barely a year separating the two of us, but at the age of about 13 they moved to the Lowveld. Time has faded the memories and distance has made us strangers, but hell, did we have a childhood and a half.
We built a box cart once using an old engineless lawnmower. That was more than four decades ago.
He became a teacher and I a journalist, so it’s no surprise that the engineering part of the box cart fell way short.
That one-seat contraption gave us endless pleasure, and me a lifelong reminder of the fun we had together.
Then there’s the tiny little white line on my left palm that tells a completely different story. It was my first surgery when I was in what was then called Standard 3.
Although I can’t remember too many details, I do remember my fear of the unknown. But that five-minute procedure to remove an embedded splinter helped me overcome many fears, and a quick glimpse at my palm is all I need today before embarking on an adventure.
A serious motorcycle accident left more than just one mark on my body.
In fact, if scars were tattoos, I would have looked like a colouring-in book.
My scars are a great conversation starter – and stopper when I need them to be. I never try to conceal them, because they are an integral part of me. In a way they have played a part in defining the man I have become.
And, like tattoos, I don’t mind showing them off. In fact, I invite you to look.
My scars tell my life story, carved into my body, and I wear them with pride.