Thursday, June 6, 2013

I say "butt" three times in this post

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?


Calvin Rey said...

We're always encouraged to hide our emotional scars, even more than our butt scars. But once we decide against shame and silence, is that when we can move toward telling, laughing, and forgetting about them?


Anonymous said...

In my non-expert, lay person view, the mere fact that you are contemplating whether or not to open an old wound means that it may not be fully healed. Clearly, it's still hurting. The wonderful thing about scars is that they look strange, but they no longer hurt.

A foreign object may be lodged in your wounds. It could be removed in a clean and safe environment so that it can properly heal this time, with a new and beautiful scar. You won't forget. You're still changed, but there is less associated pain.

In my own life, I thought I was healed. But then life goes and presses on those wounds and I feel a deep pain inside. I could run from it and not open it up and look around, but I'm still carrying around the pain.

So maybe it's worth a look. But only if you feel safe.

And I'm sorry that your appointment got cancelled. That's the worst.

-Seattle AJ

Anonymous said...


Regarding that foreign object, it's probably something you need help to see.

My wound was: Bad things happened to me. They hurt. I thought that wound healed. But the foreign object is the idea, "Those bad things happened and *it was my own fault and I deserved it.*"

Apparently, that foreign object -- "it was my own fault" -- doesn't belong. Extricating it is painful.

Kay said...

Seattle AJ is right. I was going to say that maybe there is a bit of inflammation or infection still on the inside, but I like foreign object better.


Kay said...

Anyway, if we could get away with only saying "butt" three times in a given conversation at my house--even as in, "butt is not a nice word. Say bottom," we would be much better off.