Thursday, May 28, 2009

A story behind every scar

The actual purpose of our visit to California last weekend (pictures and more stories coming soon, promise!), as in the reason we went out then as opposed to any other weekend, was to attend Brian's 30th birthday party. It was a bit different from mine, since it was held in a pub known for its games (board, trivia, and dart). Somewhere between 30 and 50 people were there at points throughout the evening to fete Brian and play games, and I was kind of excited about going because I knew there'd be people in attendance I hadn't seen since childhood. Brian's parents were supposed to come (his dad came, mom got sick) and some other folks from our hometown, including a guy named Tony whose mom was once close friends with my mom. They even started the day care center in town together. Tony has an identical twin brother named Alex (who lives in another state and didn't go to the party), and as we reminisced and reconnected, we realized we had more in common than a shared childhood (Tony and his brother suffered from childhood hearing damage and speech impediments; apparently his hearing is even worse than before and not helped by aids. My ailment isn't hearing loss/damage but auditory processing disorder, but when trying to talk with each other while surrounded by people partying in a pub, we realized that we had the same problem, namely we couldn't understand very well at all). Tony grew up around his sparkly green eyes; even had I not known it was him I would have recognized him by that feature alone, set into an adult face that only somewhat resembles what I remember of his mom.

I was thinking about Tony and his twin, about what it might be like to have a carbon copy of myself, when watching So You Think You Can Dance last night (It's my favorite summer show. Don't judge me.) Two of the flailing tiny-shorted contemporary dancers were twins, and the judges made comments about how different their dancing was even within their well-choreographed routine. I thought about how identical twins start out being the same people and soon split into two, about whether it feels lonely or incomplete to be a twin who has lost your other self, or whether your sense of personhood is completely separate and distinct from that of your identical sibling.

Then, when I read Abby's post today about scars, I realized that those would be a really good way of setting off oneself from one's twin - because no two people are ever going to have the same life experiences that lead to either internal or external scarring. Even if you have a sibling who looks exactly like yourself in every way, even if your personalities match and you like all the same things, the marks on your body and your soul will always be as unique as fingerprints. Abby asked in her post whether anyone else has favorite scars. I don't know that any of my scars can really be considered favorites, but I definitely have some scars with interesting stories behind them.

My earliest scar is a double circle of darker skin on my upper knee area. When I was very young, maybe two or three, my dad decided it would be fun to ride around with me on his motorcycle for a while. Somehow I bumped my leg on the hot exhaust pipe and burned myself pretty badly. My only memories of the event are of sitting on the motorcycle and then sitting in the sink while my mom washed my leg and cried. The scar was originally underneath my knee but the skin grew as I did and now it's above my knee. I think I was young enough that it didn't become regular scar tissue; it's mostly just two circles of darker skin.

On the top of my right foot, just below my second toe, is a circular scar about the size of a dime. The scar is an odd shape considering that the original injury was a scraped foot from kneeling on a skateboard and rolling down a driveway only to try to use my foot top as a brake and getting scraped up. The reason it healed the way it did (and took so long to heal, probably two months) was because I scraped it at the very beginning of the summer, right before swim team practice started. I was in the pool for hours every day that year and the scrape took FOREVER to heal. It healed from the outside in and thus a circular scar.

I have two notable scars on my left hand. At the base of my left thumb is a jagged diagonal line that came from a time when my sister was studying local Native American tribes in fourth grade. She was asked to do a project of a miniature dugout boat from a piece of wood, and, with the help of my dad, burned the wood to form the basic shape and then a chisel to refine it. It was getting close to the time when the project needed to be turned in and so I volunteered to assist with the chiseling. I had been working on it a while when suddenly the chisel slipped and went into my hand, right at the bottom of my thumb where it bent. I could see some interesting gorey bits in there right when it happened (bone? tendon? muscle? who knows!) and it took a long time to heal because of the whole injury-being-where-thumb-bends thing.

The other interesting scar is on the pad of my left thumb. A knife slipped one time when I was staying at the house of a friend's father (a doctor). The parents were out of town and we were all preparing dinner. I think I was chopping lettuce for a caesar salad when the knife slipped and I somehow cut right into the pad of the thumb. The cut probably wouldn't have been so bad if we could have found any medical supplies AT ALL but the best options were cotton makeup pads and scotch tape. In a doctor's house! Of course, my skin started closing up around them overnight and I ended up having to pick cotton out of my thumb. Now my thumbprint has a line running through it.

Any interesting scar stories to share, internet?


Abby said...

You put into words exactly what I was trying to say with my own post, scars are the little sign posts of our lives and contribute to our individualism. Great writing by the way!

Crafty Mama said...

I have a scar on my left elbow. When I was young and learning how to ride a bike, I didn't understand the concept of brakes so I would just jump off the seat and use my feet instead.

One day, I was riding the bike down the street, and a gold car was backing out of the driveway. My braking technique didn't help that day, and I slammed into the car's passenger door and then whacked my elbow into the curb. No breakage, but a trip to the hospital for stiches and now the scar.

Leah said...

I have a ton of scars all over the place (falls, cuts, burns, cat attacks), but the weirdest thing about them is that when I get cold (especially if I'm also wet), they turn a really gory shade of purple. And that is why we hot tub in the dark! :)

tmjackson said...

Cool stories! My favorite scar is the one on the side of my left thumb from when I was peeling carrots a little too quickly and peeled off a small part of my finger.

Soph said...

My most interesting scar is a bite mark. When I was around 1 or 2 my older brother, maybe 3 or 4 at the time, decided to bite me for unknown reasons. as I grew it grew with me, and now doesn't look like a bite mark at all. But it does make an interesting conversation topic :)
Leah- my scars do that too.. weird :P