November 05, 2001

I fell today. Sigh. I fall a lot. I tend to be just walking down the street and suddenly I'm falling. It's not something I like to admit nor is it something I like people to know about me. My ex used to tease me about being so clumsy.

I like to think it's just that my mind wanders a lot and I think you have to concentrate at least a little to walk. Even though you stop really thinking about it after the age of 2 or so, I think there's a part of your consciousness that is always acutely aware of the mechanics of walking when you're doing it. Left, right, heel, toe, watch the curb. I sometimes get thinking so intensely about something, a story I'm working on, the guys playing roller hockey in the school yard, the future, or today it was my song for singing class; that I think even that tiny little scrap of consciousness that's supposed to be watching my feet gets caught up and down I go.

Anyway, I pretend it doesn't bother me but of course every time I scrape my knee I curse myself for being the 8 year-old girl I used to be with scabs on knees and elbows, messy hair, dirty face and hands, barefoot running rampant across my acres-wide yard. And that's not really who I am anymore. I'd rather not be reminded. Plus it hurts.

Falling today and scraping my knee made me think about all my scars. I used to love listening to the song by Poi Dog Pondering, U Li La Lu. I loved the line, "You should wear with pride the scars on your skin, They're a map of the adventures and the places you've been." I think that's true; each of my scars tells a story. I'm glad I don't have more but the ones I have I don't try to hide.

The scar on my right knee is from falling too many times. Sigh. There's a matching one on my left knee, only worse.

The scar on my left inner ankle is from walking around barefoot in Iowa as a kid. I think it was a cut from an old tire or an old swingset. I used to play on such things, despite warnings from my parents. They tried to get me to wear shoes, too.

The scar on my right thigh is the one I torment my sister with. We were fencing with branches and she cut me. It was long and deep and bled a lot. She begged me not to tell Mom and Dad as I ran home to do just that. Mom put on bandaids while lecturing her. That's what little sisters are for.

The scar on my left arm is from cooking. In my old apartment, before "the divorce", I was cooking dinner and taking out a large heavy glass pan. Our oven door didn't stay open and I needed both hands to take out the pan. The pan was coming out, the door came up, and rather than drop dinner I burned the hell out of my arm. Actually both arms, there's a smaller version on the right. I think that may have been when I realized I wasn't cut out to be a housewife.

The scar on my right index finger is the one I wear with the most pride. My first year of college, I was washing wineglasses in a sink full of soapy water and one of the glasses broke. I didn't realize it until I sliced open my finger. It took 4 stitches and the nurse told me it looked like I'd tried to cut my finger off. First and last time I'd gotten stitches. It got me out of writing Hiragana in my Japanese class for about a week.

Sure, I don't have any knife wounds or gunshot scars or gashes from saving drowning children. But my scars do tell a little story about me. I look at them and they remind me. The continuing scars on my knees remind me of my singing class, my stories, the roller hockey guys...

And the only finger I don't wear a ring on is the one with the scar. It's already decorated.

Posted by Alyssa at November 05, 2001 11:40 PM
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