Scars

I have scars on my body. Like all scars they tell stories.

That one under my hair, where I smashed into a beam with a nail sticking out while crouch-running under a friend’s house at a party. We were wild and screaming, I was about 13 I guess. I suspect my friend never even noticed when I stopped, when blood started running down my face. It didn’t hurt. I was concussed and just wanted to pass out. The grown ups all kept me awake and I didn’t cry until we got to the doctor’s and I was told I needed stitches which was the most terrifying thing I had ever heard. When the doctor started with the needles, it was my Dad’s turn to nearly pass out. All 6’3 of him crumpling to the floor. I don’t remember that, but they told me later in gleeful detail.

A scar that went keloid on my chest. From me enthusiastically running into the edge of an open wardrobe door. At some camp, I think, where they hate to send damaged kids back to their parents. The tongue of the door’s closing mechanism bit into my skin and sliced it open. No stitches, though it probably needed one or two. Hardly visible now.

That one under my chin, whose origin I don’t even remember any more. Which is surprising. I think I remember lots of blood.

The tiny one above my knee from a dog bite. A friend’s dog. A large rottweiler-doberman cross. I wasn’t afraid of it, I’d never been afraid of dogs. Not before then anyway. The dog barked at me some. I held out my hand for him to sniff, speaking gently to him. He made a half hearted effort to sniff me then sank his teeth into my leg. I swore my head off. I was wearing black pants and my friend kept asking me “Are you SURE he bit you?!” at which I screamed “YES I’M FUCKING SURE, DICKHEAD!”, stripping off my pants to reveal mauled flesh and a hole where a canine bit deep. A single stitch, no anaesthetic. Also terrifying.

Some almost identical scars on the fingertips of my left middle and index fingers from careless knife-wielding in the kitchen. Apparently when I try to slice the tops off my fingers, I do it in exactly the same way every time. My fingers carry the twin half-moon scars, chunks that look like they might have been chopped right off, but that reconnected and healed and now feel slightly numb. Physical evidence showing why I should be excused from culinary endeavours. I am not to be trusted in the kitchen with knives.

Then some grown up scars. From health issues for real. The kind that make your mind still when you learn of them. The kind that bloom as an icy frost in the pit of your stomach. That make everything slow down and the world go fuzzy. That make you take stock. Slices on my breasts, a long one across my abdomen, a much shorter one on my back.

Reminders of places where skin has been carved and then horrors that don’t belong there have been cut out. I like to imagine the horrors as gruesome living creatures; alien, frightening, misshapen, malevolent. I don’t know why. Perhaps because then it feels more like a righteous quest to conquer evil than something more mundane. I asked the doctor after one surgery, all doped up on as much morphine as the little button would let me pump into my body, “Did it have hair and teeth?” He laughed and said no. I wish he’d said yes just to humour me, though I just googled that and it’s horrifying, so probably better he didn’t.

They are flaws and stories and affirmation of life and I am lucky to have so few of them. Familiar and foreign, evidence of my body’s betrayal and resilience, both. Untrue to say I am grateful for them. I’m not. But I don’t think you get out of this life in pristine shape. Best case, you go out with everything still working pretty much as it should, and scars to remind you where you’ve been.

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12 Comments

  1. I have a dishwashing scar. :-) Washing a bowl, slipped out of my hands, I reached for it, it hit the sink divider, broke, bounced up and neatly sliced a button of flesh out of my knuckle. Nothing so sharp as broken porcelain.

    I also have one of those “serious” scars. I remember how creepy it felt knowing there were *things* growing in me.

    Funny about that, though; those things grow for just the same reasons we do. They’re evolution machines set on full, and don’t know when to quit. Destructive, yes; but not really alien. It would be better, in a way, if they were truly alien. Instead, we have met the enemy, and it is us.

    I’m very glad you beat those things!

    É

    1. “Nothing so sharp as broken porcelain.”

      *laugh* Domestic things: so dangerous! I’m surprised I haven’t got a lot more. I shoved my hand through a picture window once, it smashed and I didn’t even get a scratch on me.

      I also have one of those “serious” scars. I remember how creepy it felt knowing there were *things* growing in me.”

      I remember that. And ‘creepy’ is exactly the right word.

      “Instead, we have met the enemy, and it is us.”

      Maybe THAT’S a reason why I picture some ‘other’, because you are right of course. And that makes me feel like things are crawling under my skin.

      Ferns

  2. One of my scars is like a weather vein, it tingles in the cold or as temperature shifts. It runs deep vertically down into me and so no one really sees it, but sometimes it just really hurts. The visible ones, the ones people see, those don’t hurt, and I barely notice them. properly they are only skin deep. I suppose this could be some complex metaphor but it’s just the way the scars work out. I’m lucky to not yet had surgery medical based scars, mine are all from accidents, they say experiencing such invasions is the new ‘normal’ but tbh I like being abnormal in that regard. Some talk about loving it when others kiss their scars others less so, they don’t want their history traced so. wonder what you think?
    respectfully,
    Twiglet, tigger

    1. I’m glad they have all been accidental, and that one that reacts to the temperature will stand you in good stead for when you are really old :P.

      I do like my imperfections to be loved, and I think being sweet to scars can be lovely.

      When I got my biggest, ugliest scar, it turned my last on in its rawest state: evil looking and red and frankenstein’s monster-ey. He was embarrassed that it did and couldn’t quite put his finger on why, but I loved his reaction. Especially then because I felt like it spoiled previously pristine flesh.

      Ferns

  3. I have been fairly lucky to have had very few external scars. I’ve only received a few minor ones. The biggest ones lately have been left by a few parrot bites… No biggie.

    The vast majority of scars, that I’ve accumulated over the years, consist of broken things, including; collar bone, tail bone, pelvis, hip, both ankles, multiple fingers and toes, and a rib.

    However, I’m on a winning streak now as it has now been over a year since I’ve broken anything, which must mean that I’m either being more careful, or just lucky… Time will tell.

  4. I have over a dozen surgical scars (most small), and at least as many self-inflicted scars (most also small, but not all). That doesn’t get into accidents.

    They’re all part of me and my story. I wouldn’t do anything about them if I could.

  5. Embarrassing self inflicted one.

    I was wasting time with a few friends in an open high school ART Lab. My two good friends were art students and jokesters and I being the serious academic student enjoyed their company.

    There were several pieces of plastic left over from projects lying around on the table. Thick, colored and all with sharp edges. I proposed we drop them on the top of our hands/arms as a test of manly fortitude. Really, it was boredom, mostly mine.

    I went first, picked up a likely piece and dropped it from a foot and a half up onto the middle of my hand. It hit a vein and immediately began gushing blood like an oil well out of control. Not spraying droplets wildly, but a concerted thick bubbling fountain an inch or more high.

    My friends jumped up and immediately started laughing loudly at my predicament. I kept telling them to shut up and help me clean up the every widening pool of blood so that those in the nearby office wouldn’t find out.

    Well, a teachers assistant came out and with widening eyes and mouth exclaimed “OMG what happened!”. I’m still pleading with my friends for help, looking around for towels, and trying to keep the blood to just the table and floor.

    I was more worried that for one, I shouldn’t have been there as I wasn’t an art student, and secondly I had made a terrible mess. Thankfully, the assistant was more concerned with my health than my stupidity and it was cleaned up with only a few words and much embarrassment on my behalf.

    I still have the small bright scar as a testament to my momentary stupidity.

  6. Scars on my stomach from knocking boiling oil on myself cooking in my bra when my daughter was younger she screamed and I jerked. Long scar on my left arm from surgery on my ulnar nerve, scar on my wrist from surgery on my hands, and many more. There’s only one scar that makes me really self conscious though and it comes from a time when I was younger as a reminder of things I went through at that time. Only a partner can see it.

    Scars are just reminders of things. Some can be memories, others can be reminders of things you had to endure.

    *kisses your scars* You’re still gorgeous!

    Respectfully,
    Mysticlez

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