I have a scar on my cheek from clawing at my chicken pox when I knew I shouldn’t, scars on my legs and knees from not paying attention when I walk, light scars on my arms from that pre-teen cutting phase, and my biggest, a thick, doughy scar from cutting down balloons from my seventh birthday party. I have stretch marks on my hips, stomach, breasts from puberty and again from pregnancy. My stomach still has not deflated, muscles still torn from the inside. I can feel the open part if I dig my fingers into my stomach. And I have all the sore and sour spots in my chest from heartbreak and betrayal and loss and fear. Once I fractured a bone in my hand while hiking and years later that hand throbbed on the same trail. Bodies remember.
This week we asked Entropy contributors to tells us about their scars, bodily and psychic.
I was born late, breach, backwards and other things that panicked nurses .The doctors said I had the worst club foot they had ever seen and I would never walk. A young researcher came from U.C Berkeley and told my parents of his new idea. They went in 26 times in my right leg and broke bones and reset them in my first two weeks out of the womb. There was a paper signed by my parents to keep the news media away (as this was the first time it was to be done anywhere). My parents’ reasoning was (to me now loving and kind of hilariously specific and random at once) “Well, he might be an astronaut some day!” The experiment worked but I wore leg braces for a few years and was in special ed/adaptive p.e till 8th grade as I had a limp and muscle damage. The scar still remains from the dissolving stitches. It is this odd faded railroad thing now, an artifact on my skin.
I fell down an escalator twice.
I have four tiny scars on my upper right calf from where I sourced blood for an art project in 2007 or ’08. I was making small fabric sculptures wrapped around animal bones; I’d soak lace and fabric in blood before using them.
I have a thick keloid scar on my right shoulder (just above my asymptote tattoo) from a nasty spill off my bike in… 2011? It fades in the winter but turns bright pink in the summer.
Dennis James Sweeney
I have this really great scar on the back of my arm. I was climbing in Red River Gorge in Kentucky and tripped over the rope I was climbing with and hit my head and got this long cut there. I was lucky I didn’t hurt myself worse. Even before it healed, I was thinking: this is gonna look so cool.
My cat growing up, Mish Mish, was really cute but also vicious. He liked to pick on me because I was the least threatening person in our household. Often, he’d catch me unawares as I was walking up the stairs, run up behind me, and attack the backs of my legs with his claws and teeth. Needless to say, I walked up the stairs backwards a lot. One time, he was being cute and cuddly with me on my bed, and then began attacking my arm. He bit me square in the middle of the palm, deep. I had to go on antibiotics for a week, and it left a scar. I used it to get out of practicing piano.
How about my list of applications for teaching positions? A good thousand, 2001-2006, & nothing doing.
I have an odd emotional scar from kindergarten that has stuck with me. On the last day of school, as we were leaving the classroom and saying our final goodbye to the teacher, who was normally very sweet, I was turned around talking to someone in line and accidentally ran into her. She suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me really hard, and yelled in my face “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING! YOU STEPPED ON MY FOOT!” And of course she did this in front of the other kids and some parents who were waiting in the breezeway, and it was kinda devastating to little me at the time. Now, it’s become something of a comic trope in my life, in that I have a shorthand about it with people who know this story. For instance, if I tell my husband about my feelings getting bruised when someone yelled at me out of the blue over something I wasn’t aware I was doing, or didn’t mean to do, he might say “uh oh, guess you stepped on the teacher’s foot.”