Who You Think You’ve Become

“I love you, no matter who you think you’ve become” ~ Tatsu

Hum…a great example of loving someone through, and because of, their scars.  Our scars often make us think we are unlikable or even unlovable.  Ironically, vulnerability with these scared experiences brings something beyond.  With the right person/sidekick we will not only be more loved because of our scars, but we will also learn to find strength and power within them.

(for more on this check out The Power of a Scar)


Branded With Your Crimes

“In Roman Times the criminal was branded to identify his crimes to the world and to forever remind him of what he’d done.  Shadow wore this tattoo on her back and now you shall wear it for the rest of your life.” ~Slade

I thought it was really interesting how Oliver gets his first tattoo.  I remember seeing that tattoo on Shadow’s back in the first season and I assumed that later Oliver would become part of Shadow’s gang/family or whatever.  Slade tattooing it on Oliver as a forced reminder of failure is interesting and took me by surprise.  It is a good metaphor for a lot of things.

First, we want others to feel our loss when we are hurt.  Slade is trying to force Oliver to feel his pain.

Second, tragic events are with us forever…like tattoos.  There are both sad and happy memories embedded in the ink and the image/memory may fade but the event itself, how it affects us and changes our life, will always be a part of us.  Oliver’s just happens to be visible to the rest of us.

And Third, Oliver has yet another reminder of his failures.  In this case however…unlike the arrow in his shoulder scar, the scars from being tortured,  or scars from being shot and having to sew himself back together… Shadow’s death was not something that was solely thrust up on him.  He had a role (all-be-it a very small one) in her death…and so he feels guilt as well.  The other scars Oliver has (so far in the flashbacks) are not attached to guilt…this one is.  It is a very difficult thing to have a constant reminder of your failures in your face.  I look back now at the pilot episode where Oliver is looking at himself in the mirror and see even more how much he has to process though just in seeing his own reflection.

The Day I Died

“The day I went missing was the day I died.” ~ Oliver

After my own return from overseas when I was diagnosed with PTSD, I visited with a variety of counselors.  They told me time and time again at the end of our sessions, “Well, don’t forget, that at least you survived.”  The point is, the point they do not see, the point Oliver makes in this quote…is that I/he didn’t survive.  My body did yes.  But my soul, my person, is different.  The old me is gone, dead, and whether this be for good or for bad…I am different.  Oliver has drastically changed from who he was before.   He has gained some things and he has lost some things, he is still sorting out a lot…but no matter what stance you take on how he has changed that fact is he has changed.  The day he went missing was the day the old Oliver died.  That Oliver will never return.  The difficulty he faces now (and many of us face) is discovering and deciding who the new Oliver is and will be.

(an essay on this type of life shattering identity change: Romanticizing Adversity)


“Do you want to know why I don’t talk about what happened to me there?  Because if people knew, if you knew, you’d see me differently, and not as some vigilante guy…as damaged.” ~Oliver

I have to admit…I didn’t like Oliver at first.  His character felt overdone to me…I thought he was over muscular, over dramatic, and overly idealized.  However, as they began talking about his scars I began to like him more and more.  Scars are interesting.  Each one means something different. They show we are marked, they remind us of the past, and they also open doors.  We are slowly learning where each of Oliver’s scars came from and how impacted he was by the event  that caused each scar.  20% of his body has scars on it…that’s a lot…and a good metaphor for how affected he was by his time “on the island.”  

In this quote Oliver responds to why he hides his scars and what happened to him in the biggest event of his life…this quote shows me how Oliver is redeemable and this was when I really started to like his character.  I like how he responds to Laurel when she finally asks about his scars (he leaves SO MUCH unsaid)…I like how he says “why don’t you hate me…you should” and how his voice changes to a factual tone when he says “you should.”  But above all I like the contrast between how we (as an audience) see his scars, how others in the show see them, and how he sees his scars.  The person who is marked or scarred usually sees their marks/scars as a horrible/shameful/evil thing because they know what was involved in getting those scars.  The outsider, like Laurel, usually romanticizes the scars seeing them as a “amazing.”  But we as the viewer who, who knows both sides of the story and can see the overall picture, see the scars as much  more.  They add depth to the person, they make their story easy to relate to, and they open up a redemption element.  We, as viewers with “the God Perspective” as I call it, see Oliver as lovable because of his scars.  

(For more on the power of scars check this out (The Power of A Scar)