Boo used to say that all of the time about my scarring (post-injury), while she was on my lap, admiring me the way kids do to their’ folk.
So…something occurred to me this morning, as I was drying off after my shower: I still find new scars on my body often.
By “new”, I mean scars that I had not seen before; not scars that are actually freshly appeared.
In the hospital (almost a solid year’s time), I NEVER once gave my body/face a second glance at any time, as the times that it happened by accident left me horrified beyond belief. Boo was very observant – always; so when I came home from the hospital, she immediately began to point out staple-lines and track stitches across my skin with her tiny fingers regularly; she was only four then, so I just kinda went with it and never actually paid much attention to it.
After Boo was gone, during a period of time when I hit a very low point again, I began to notice many scars and marks all over my body that I hadn’t before seen. By then, I had already began regularly inspecting my face and neck in front of the mirror; my purpose for this had not been to look for scars, but to re-familiarize myself with my own face and appearance. The face took front burner for quite some time in my mind, as I was extremely self-conscious and unstable when it came to facing the world. In turn, looking back in hindsight, I totally forgot that there was the rest of my body, too. And, in reality, despite the horrific injuries to my neck and face that swallowed up most of the immediate medical necessity back then – my body most certainly bore the brunt of my overall injuries sustained for the duration of my captivity/marriage.
It just wasn’t so immediate to focus on during the “reconstruction” period, I guess…for any of us involved. I was even of the opinion that as long as I could put clothes on every day and did not have to get naked for anyone, my body and I could agree:
I leave it alone, it leaves me alone. Simple.
This worked well forever, too…until I was faced with too much alone time on my hands after Boo was gone; and it was nearly as if I was slowly undressing somebody else’s body for the first time.
I started to dread bathing, as I would have to accept it all over again; the PTSD really got bad at that point in regard to flashbacks and resurfaced memories – looking at my own skin created this. I lived in a paradox place where my newborn, obsessive/compulsive need to be clean was constantly at odds with my disgust with my own body. I cried a lot. I cursed at the Gods daily. I thought about digging a hole in the backyard and just climbing into it. Eventually, I met a guy who was cool and I relaxed about my body with time – with his help no doubt. He was a total pothead skater and really didn’t ever seem to even notice the shit that I was certain would make him scream and run away. He was super mellow and laid back – simple, really. That helped.
It really doesn’t affect me at all like it used to – finding scars and marks that I don’t recall ever seeing before. I have already come through the stage in which these things trigger physically responsive reactions from me, that no longer happens; as I have recalled what must be an accounting for the better majority of my scars and battle wounds by now. Also, I try not to allow my thoughts to hijack my mind on the topic of HOW I got them…that helps tremendously. I know they are there, I know they represent pain and torture. I know how I got each one. I do not need to think any further beyond these basic elements any more, for the most part – and I don’t – but I can if I choose to, without freaking the fuck out. Which, to me – says something…