Sunday, July 29, 2007
A Black Stain Underneath It
I hurt myself. A lot. Not on purpose, mind you. I know a lot of people who do that as well, the cutting, the burning, the works. This happens all the time and what used to be student memoirs about eating disorders and alcohol abuse have turned into even sadder tales of self-injury and heroin over the years. All about avoiding the big pain, the one that eats at us all the time. The fear of having our lives slip away into the ether without love or fame or money or whatever we crave. I'm always coming up against it, having it try to break me. My mother told me it was genetic, this clumsiness, that I would grow out of it. Just as I am still waiting to shed my baby fat, I'm starting to think it's not going to happen. I slam windows on my fingers, fall a lot. One of my nails on my left hand has a black stain underneath it, dried blood, that looks, if you squint, like a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty. My dad used to laugh when I'd spill things all over my clothes and say, First time out with the new mouth? I'd laugh as well, and he expanded his joke to include feet and hands.
I know a few people like me, people who wear bruises like jewelry. They change colors like mood rings before they leave us, unaffected as before. But I once had a friend who fell off a bus, the top step of one. She bruised her thigh so bad that it stayed discolored for years. I think of her often, my oldest friend in the world, a girl a lot like me except that she married an abusive asshole (note use of clinical term), had children with him, and damn near lost her mind as a result. She was one of the loveliest children I knew, beautiful and free, afraid of nothing. I feared almost everything, cautious to the point of lunacy. But I got out of my situation and she perpetuated hers for years. I'd see her around my hometown when I returned, bruised and battered, so thin as to appear ill. I'd hug her frail injured body, once so lovely and try and wish her healthy. But what could I do with my own bruises so apparent and all my fault? Nothing except tell her I had missed her and mean it in more ways than the obvious one.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If you haven't cried, your eyes can't be beautiful." Sophia Loren
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Nobody Belongs Here More Than You Miranda July
Benedictions and Maledictions