Friday, January 30, 2009

Childhood Trauma (Part Two)

(I was a very active child and have numerous scars on my shins and knees. I cannot remember how most of them got there but two do stand out in my memory.)
- From Part One

The second scar is on my right shin and happened the summer I turned thirteen. I was running around barefoot, as usual, and decided it would be a good idea to try and walk across the top of a section of guardrail that was being used as a backstop at the small corner gas station down the block from our apartment. At one point my foot slipped and I fell straight down, scrapping my shin on the back side of the railing and gouging a chunk of skin off my leg. This also created an indentation in my leg that I can still feel when I rub my hand across my shin.

On my right hand are four small scars; three crescent shaped scars on the back of the hand and one thin broken line on the side of the hand. I got these when I was sixteen- one of the emotionally worst years in my life. Looking back now I see that the reason for this was a combination of teenage hormones and emotional stress. One day I reached the point where the pain I was feeling was too much for me and I decided the only way to stop it was to kill myself. This thought terrified me so instead I balled my hand up into a fist and put it through my bedroom window. The sound of the glass exploding and crashing to the floor is still with me today. I realize now that I was very lucky to have walked away from that incident with only minor cuts.

I also have a chicken pox scar on my right cheek, this I got when I was eight years old, and a very faint line scar on the inside of my left cheek. It is so faint I sometimes think that it is no longer there and that I'm just remembering it being there at one time. That scar was caused by my falling and striking the corner of my mouth on the seat of my grandmother's rocking chair. I was three or maybe four years old at the time. The impact of my face against the unforgiving wood caused the softer tissue inside my mouth to tear. My memory of this incident is fragmented; I can remember the pain of the accident, laying on the doctor's leather examination table, screaming as he stitched up my wound, and sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table afterwards trying to eat a bowl of ice cream with a spoon that seemed as big as a ladle. My mother later told me that my grandmother did not think I needed to see a doctor. The doctor told my mother that if I did not have the cut sewn up the healing wound would pull the side of my mouth tight and cause my face to be disfigured.

As I study these scars I think of them as ghosts of trauma past. They are reminders of wounds and pain I once endured. These scars do not hurt me in any way, they are just physical proof that something I once thought was unbearable has healed.

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