Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance – Confucius
Confucius had a few great tips there didn’t he? I should never be given a sword or any sharp object, there’s a reason why I’m terrified of knives; I simply don’t trust my general coordination. I injure myself a lot, sometimes I break bones or seem to fall into the line of fire in which some sort of physical trauma is the result, mostly bruises in weird places. I’ve written a lot about being clumsy with my heart but refrained from mentioning the many times I’ve been clumsy with the general environment. I’m not special in this I know. When I look at my timeline, there is one event that began my journey into injury, stringently marked with a big old asterix; The accident. That’s what I’ve labelled it for as long as i can recall. I was three, almost four and I remember nothing. Protective amnesia due to trauma, also my age helped. I once found a letter meant for the insurance company listing my injuries, it was tucked way in the filing cabinet. I was hit by a car and the impact left significant damage to my person. I read the transcript in awe looking down at my body constantly, i survived that? I do remember being in the hospital for three weeks; reading books about rabbits with my nurses, scratching my knees and arms a lot, my bandages being a little tighter than i’d like, visiting the babies in the nursery nearby and walking on my uncles feet to get my legs moving, the big X-ray machine in Miami and finally being carried out to go home looking up at the general hospital that seemed so gargantuan to my tiny frame . The pictures are all fuzzy now and i still wonder if some of it was from dreams or solid recollections. One story that was told to me happened at the outset of my recovery, a doctor on my case thought I’d broken my neck and suggested traction, another doctor leapt up and snuffed the previous doctor’s insane suggestion, insisting it could only worsen my situation if they went ahead with it. She halted the procedure and saved me in a way. The best part? Her name was Dr. Lucky, now I’m not sure of the correct spelling but I’ve always known her as that. Luck is alluring and magical, showing up at the darkest and dreariest. I didn’t know how badly i needed it at that moment, but boy am I glad luck knew better. I’ve always been strangely fascinated by this event in my life, mostly because I don’t remember it despite it’s great significance. The residuals today are mostly physical scars, I’m more cautious on the road and bare some phobias, but above all else and most importantly i am super thankful to still be here.
Not shortly after “the accident” i entered school. I had the worst kindergarten teacher which is bad luck considering my circumstances. We had swim time each week as there was a pool on the campus, i hadn’t learned to swim yet and was obviously tentative. Seeing this opportunity, my teacher decided to take literally the term, “thrown in the deep end” and did just that. She threw me in the deep end. I sank to the bottom while struggling to surface. Finally another teacher reached down and brought me up, clucking and scolding me. Me? Huh? What about that crazy bitch on dry land? I remember clawing my way through water to the pool edge and crawling out, cowering away from the insane instigators/ teachers. So the fear of water was thrown on the pile along with fear of moving vehicles. You can imagine my parent’s fury when they found out.
My poor parents, enough irresponsible outsiders somehow get a hold of your kid, it’s tempting to put he/she in a bubble. I wasn’t, but i was made aware from an early age that care and caution were necessary in life. Ironically, for me awareness and practice are two very different things. Throughout my growth, I’ve never quite fused the two concepts, i know i have to be careful but my pesky lack of spacial observance always lets me down. As life coursed on, i split my forehead open when swung into a gate, i fell off my bike while attempting to be an X-Games contestant and cracked open my knee promptly refusing stitches, but then reconsidered when falling once again on the same knee a week later. I’ve had a tennis racket swung in my face, cracking my nose open, worst forehand ever. I’ve sprained my ankles five hundred times falling in forests, parks and staircases. My clumsiness was eventually so renowned my grandfather built a separate step for me on his yacht and christened it Dan’s Landing, as climbing up along the side was too traumatic. I’ve dropped everything breakable that can be dropped. I fell into a storm drain outside someone’s house, my dad rushed to the edge to see me covered in moss and mud blubbering. At my first party while at university i broke an entire DJ’s table by leaning on it awkwardly, i literally destroyed everyone’s fun. My social life was affected, i was nervously meeting my new, cool New York boyfriend’s hairstylist at his cool, New York salon in the cool East Village. I somehow tumbled into a magazine basket in-front of everyone and two French bulldogs. Not Cool.
This all became the norm for me; i hurt myself a lot and destroyed the environment around me. My family resisted giving me ceramic bowls to carry and i refused to hold baby things for a long time after dropping five puppies. However. This trait has also benefited me in many ways, i don’t have to carry things and on one occasion i was wiping a counter in a boyfriend’s kitchen, there was an ugly glass martini jug staring at me, i mostly hated it because an annoying old girlfriend of his had given it to him and her still presence in his life irritated me. My now gift kicked in that moment and it broke while i was cleaning. Oh no. It was an accident i swear. 🙂
I refrained from breaking more bones for a long time until one Christmas a year ago. My family moved into a new house and i was visiting from New York City. There was a staircase that i wasn’t quite used too and various persons had fallen down it, including the dog, but thankfully all had escaped injury. It was my time to shine. I fell hard, i missed two steps and slammed onto my feet, i heard a sound that anyone who has broken bones would know what I’m talking about. You don’t forget that snap, crackle and pop. I thought I’d once again sprained my poor ankle and limped down to a couch with ice. My parents came home and i informed them that I’d once again hurt myself but it was probably a sprain like last time. The foot soon turned many colours so i bit the bullet and went to the hospital. After an X-ray my doctor asked how the hell was i walking on a broken metatarsal and not sobbing. She regaled my pain tolerance, i told her I’d had alot of practice. Living in New York with crutches and a cast is not easy, it’s damn hard and expensive because; no subway. While back in the city, i promptly kicked my crutch with the good foot and my pink baby toe turned black in retaliation, after more consultation it was concluded that in the fall I’d actually broken both feet, hence the evil toe.Sigh.
Conclusion, i am accident prone and will never ever be graceful or poised. Which is fine because it makes me imperfect and that is a quality i have learned to covet and love about myself. My lines, grooves and bumps remind me to appreciate life and the human form’s determination to endure. Scars are the body’s hieroglyphics, so embrace your scars on the inside and outside. They are your story.
Just, don’t give me a sword…ever.