She told me that when I would fall down or hurt myself (as I did then as often as I do now), she would laugh at me so that I learned to shake it off and said I would follow her lead and laugh too.
She said that she didn’t want to freak me out with worry or distress and thought if I learned that getting hurt was no big deal, I would be alright.
(That may have been the single most oddly brilliant and yet somewhat tragically flawed plan ever executed.)
At some point, I guess after I turned 5 and she married that one guy, her laughter stopped having a musical ring to it that comforted me when I was hurt and I began to feel mocked.
I remember having an epic (yes, really) accident while running that cracked open my knee to the bone when I was about 7.
Sure, I had been running in Dr. Scholl’s which is never a wise idea, but regardless of my lack of exceptional sense, the injury was quite the sight to see.
I had gone flying through the air after hitting a rise in the sidewalk caused by a tree root and lost the skin on my hands (which always ALWAYS burns like a bitch!) and was unlucky enough to land with my knee on yet another section of raised sidewalk…which “destroyed” my knee.
Now, you may not know based on my racing non-skill that I actually have quite a diaphragm, but that is because it is only useful for singing and apparently screaming when I find myself suddenly ass-over-teakettle.
Not only can I bellow out notes, but I can hit them high. Ear-piercingly high.
My mom however did not hear it and I had to cry/limp my sorry ass to the house with tears streaming and attempting to look invisible as I passed house after house until reaching my own.
I remember her playing her little nonchalant game when I arrived and going into full medical sterility mode.
I did not think this was very nice.
There was no lovey-dovey coddling or soft words of comfort or caring. She just called over to my step-dick and the both of them, assholes united, commenced in torturing me and grinding my soul into ash.
They plopped my bloody self right up on the counter next to the sink and my mom washed the open yuck with water and then peroxide.
OK, fine. Yeah. Sure. I liked to watch the foam grow as much as the next freaky/curious kid. Great.
Are we done now…?
My step-dick, with eyes looking insane behind the glare of his glasses, told me to sit still and I could see the bottle he held in his hand menacingly.
I know that I mentally said the 7-year old’s version of “FUCK YOUUUUUUUU, Dicknozzel!” while my eyes grew large with fear.
(I have no idea what the 7-yr old’s version of that is…but at 5, I believed “heck” to be a punishable offense, so I can no longer relate to my self as an innocent child.)
That bottle was the enemy…and the step-dick always seemed to take great pleasure in disbursing the magically torturous potion on any and every open wound I could bring them.
“NO, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” I screamed/cried…but low enough not to get in trouble.
I friggin loath iodine. Even today…thanks to my childhood.
I was sure that this injury was so fantastic that it deserved sympathy enough to not require the hated flames-in-a-bottle.
The step-dick really appeared to enjoy my distress.
My mom held my leg and promised me that she would blow on it after he poured it on.
I looked at her with my sad brown eyes, tears streaming, and silently begged her not to do this.
She remained calm and tried to relax me.
Have you ever been to a slaughter-house?
Me neither…but I saw a documentary once and I had those pigs beat with regard to volume and pitch.
I feel confident that had my mom been more motivated, I could have gotten voice-over work screaming in slasher films.
Frankly, the injury likely required stitches, but I got iodine and some genuine medical dressing that she snatched from work and was sent on my way.
As time went on, I started to feel more and more embarrassed of my lack of grace and the challenge of gravity.
While subtly, I was actually building a pretty high threshold for pain, both physical and psychological, on the surface I just wanted some superficial soothing.
Fast-forward to me as a semi-adult and I have had my ass kicked physically and mentally so many times that while I am not numb to it, I know it only lasts for so long and each time hurts less.
I constantly wreck my mtb, walk into walls, find blunt objects with my shins, face-plant while practicing yoga…you name it and I have likely done it, fallen off it, or smacked into it.
I am only graceful whilst there is music and choreography involved. If no, than I am not.
2 weeks ago, I wrecked so hard and at such a speed that the person behind me was sure that I was broken.
Frankly, my arm looked so broken that we all feared that the immediate and large lump was bone.
I didn’t make a sound except to say, “I’m OK” and walked away from the wreck for a moment and counted silently to 10.
I then verbally expressed that I felt charmed because the bush I hit face first could have been a tree and things could be very different.
I was terrified in that moment that I was broken and thoughts of lacking in medical insurance and a cracked cx bike raced through my head instantly.
The bike was fine and I decided I needed to ride to calm my nerves and relax before I reacted to what was going on with my arm.
Everything turned out OK. I was not broken and only mildly injured and no energy was wasted reacting like a fool. Cool.
I wrecked 3 weeks or so before that, 2 days before a big race, and let out one HUGE, ear-piercing shriek/scream and that was that. I went back and re-rode the section 5 more times and raced 2 days later, even though we realized after the wreck that I had quite the abdominal hematoma. It is what it is.
Wednesday night, while goofing around with Ty and Megan, I ate shit while attempting (I use the word lightly) a yoga balancing position (the crow) while on the kitchen floor and still in my work attire…which that day was a skirt.
This is not a smart thing to do either in a skirt or in front of my son….or on the slippery kitchen floor.
Just like that.
My chin hit the Pergo, my skirt flew up, and my body smacked down scorpion style.
Ouch to my face and ouch to my pride.
Just ouches all around.
Ty burst out in tears of laughter so hard I thought/hoped he would pee himself.
I laughed too…at first…
…but then my toddler lip came out and big fat tears welled and stayed on my eye rims.
I was so sad.
So very sad.
I suddenly burst into tears about nothing and everything and felt so sad for the little girl that I was and am and how I will likely never not be a klutz and will always walk into things, fall off things, and make parts of me bleed.
I have had over 8,000 stitches, 7 surgeries, 1 entirely TOO natural child-birth (YOU’RE WELCOME, TYLER!!!!), broken bones, countless bike wrecks, paper cuts, and shaving incidents…
Yet sometimes the tiniest of injuries are the ones that we use as an outlet.
The tiny pains sometimes get the tears…because we hold it in the rest of the time.
We stay strong the times when it is important or when we are most afraid.
I guess I just needed a good cry, because I am not hurt, or bruised, or broken.
I am damaged, like everyone else, and as Ty wrapped his big man-child arms around me and I cried on his shoulder…
…I finally got the hug I have wanted my entire life…and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be.