When I was six or seven, I was fell off my bed, which sounds more innocent than it was.
I had a friend over who was often an exciting variety of bad influence, and she convinced me that it'd be a great idea to jump on the beds in my room. I had twin antique brass beds, which were sturdy enough to support the bouncing, for sure, and had those old-timey springs that made the whole endeavor just a little unpredictable.
She was a year younger, and taunting me, so we bounced higher and higher, she on the "second" bed in the middle of the room and me on my bed, near the wall and therefore the radiator that was one of the ones consisting mostly of thin blades of metal and a protective cover, except I'd obviously pried the cover off much earlier for some important how-does-it-work purpose.
And so, when I inevitably fell (er, bounced) off the bed, slammed into the wall and dropped onto countless razors, essentially, it was kind of gory. The radiator sliced right through my flannel pajamas and into my then-tiny butt. There was sort of a lot of blood.
I don't remember much about the aftermath; someone must have cleaned me up and bandaged me; my friend and I (and probably my sister, who was not present) must have denied responsibility.
Overall, it's not the most dramatic story of my childhood. It's not even in the top two injuries sustained being cool for this specific friend. I had a mostly happy kidtime, for sure a mostly safe one. I'd likely have forgotten the bed-jumping altogether, except that 35 years later, there's still a very real scar I can't see (because it's on my butt) but can feel if I try.
That's a true story, but it's also a metaphor. You know how I love both stories and metaphors.
I've been thinking lately about what causes scars, physical and emotional — how little it sometimes takes, how fast poor choices or quick insults carelessly slung can be the things that rankle or send me into a panic years and years later.
I know what to do with the physical scar: I am amused by it now, kind of, forget about it for long stretches, mention it, laughing, when someone new has reason to be looking at my butt. If I were a little more introspective, it might remind me that it's not worth literally cutting myself open to be cool — not just because wounds hurt, but also because bloody flannel pajamas have never been cool to anyone.
But when feelings were hurt long ago in what should have been a very minor incident and the wound is inside my psychic clothing, mostly invisible but improperly healed, what am I supposed to do with that? There's no point in reopening it; it's not going to heal without trace now, right? So is there a lesson to move on with? Do I get to laugh, rather than just gasping for air?
Whoops. Therapist had to cancel on me yesterday. Shows, huh?