look out!

why i’m just one big bruise

It has gotten to the point that there is always something wrong with my body. Eric constantly threatens to trade me in for a new model. For three weeks now I’ve had an enormous bruise on my thigh from where I fell off Andy’s back during an improv show and the corner of the stage hit me. It was in full purple splendor when I fell skiing and was told I’d have a bruised shin. It didn’t bruise, but still today my shins are sore from falling. The bruise on my thigh is rather faded now, but it itches terribly, and is still sore to the touch.

Yesterday I was hit in the nose with the leg of a chair. I have a bump, and a small cut from where the metal hit me. It really isn’t even amusing anymore, the amount of dings and scratches and bumps I get. When I was a kid it was all considered a part of growing up– you get knocked around a lot as you try and adjust to yourself growing up. Your arms are longer than you think they are, the table corner is closer than you thought it would be– but here I am nearing my mid twenties and I still get the same amount of bruises and scrapes that I did when I was nine.

I’ve been asked at least five times in my life if my parents abused me, if my boyfriend abused me, if I was having “problems at home.” I look like someone beats the crap out of me all the time. I bruise so easily that I had a friend who would prod my arm one day to see if a bruise would show up the next. About half the time he got to see that bruise.

And the joke of it all is that I’m just a big worry wart. I’m not one for “extreme sports.” I don’t climb mountains, or ride bikes, or even hike for God’s sake because I know that I’ll just end up covered in bruises. I am always afraid of falling, of getting hurt– I’ve stopped every sport I tried because I got so hurt I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I realize that all of these things could have been avoided had I just listened to my mother.

Bike riding:
mom said: “Don’t ride your bike in your flip-flops.”
I fell face-first off my handlebars and slid on gravel, causing a scab that covered my left knee, left shoulder, and the entire left side of my face. I was called Scarface Al Capam for three weeks until the scab fell off.

mom said: “One of these days you’re going to really hurt yourself and then you won’t want that board anymore.”
I fell off the ramp, causing my board to hit me in the inner thigh, producing a bruise that was terrifying.

mom said: “That looks so dangerous, all of you guys kicking at each other.”
I got kicked in the right shin so hard that the “skin of my bone” was chipped, causing me to have to take medicine, as well as drop out of a dance class because I couldn’t kneel for a month. My entire leg down to my toes turned black with bruising, and swelled like you wouldn’t believe.

Rolling down hills:
mom said: “I don’t want you over there.”
I rolled down a hill and tried to get back up. The hill was slick, and I tumbled backwards, jamming my elbow up towards my shoulders. A black bruise covered my left arm, and to this day I cannot fully extend my arm. When it rains, it hurts.

Climbing on counters:
mom said: “Don’t climb on the counters. You could fall and hurt yourself.”
I climbed onto the kitchen counter to get a breakfast bowl out of the cabinet as a kid. When I jumped back down my leg caught on our oven stove, ripping my thigh open. Thirty-six stitches and one horrible scar later, my mother is still saying “I told you so.”

mom said: “No skiing. Don’t.”
Fell face-first on a green slope. Cost me six hundred dollars to find out that I was going to be sore.

Roller Skating:
mom said: “Don’t skate so fast.”
Fell at a rink and a boy ran over my pinkie and my mother sprained her left ankle. My bad luck was contagious.

Playing Rizzo in Grease:
mom said: “I think you should be a stand-up comedian.”
Fell every night off a bench and banged up my entire right side of leg. Black bruises.

Walking into the bathroom/bedroom:
mom said: “Watch where you’re going, not where you’ve been.”
At least once a week I will smack my forearm on the doorknob, causing intense pain and bruises on my arm.

mom said: “You’re gonna get hurt.”
The first time I played softball I was trying to impress Eric and catch a fly ball. No one had ever taught me how to catch a ball before. I caught it with my eye. I had a black eye for two weeks– you could see the stitching from the ball imprinted on my forehead. Every woman at every store we went to looked at Eric like a big abusing man. It was terrible.

mom said: “Now that has to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Why are those kids intentionally hurting each other?”
In my first mosh pit some idiot picked me up and threw me to the ground. The concrete floor cut my knees through my jeans and banged up the heels of my hands so badly my right one is still a little weird looking. Some other guy punched the asshole who threw me, though, so, you know, it was okay, I guess.

mom said: “Don’t go so high!”
I went off the high dive without anyone telling me it’s the scariest thing in the world. I’m an idiot, so I tried doing a dive. I hit the water in a way that felt like my arms were being ripped from their sockets, and I was so deep in the water I was choking by the time I got to the top to breathe. Never again.

mom said: “The cat doesn’t like the vacuum cleaner.”
The damn cat scratched my chest. I still have the scar.

mom said: “Who wants to twist themselves into all those positions? It’s boring.”
Putting the “strap” on my arms the other day (which is a belt that is looped) and putting myself into the “plow” position– (on your back with your legs in the air, supporting yourself with your hands on your back)– I got stuck. Had to roll out and the straps cut into my arms so badly I’ve bruised.

Playing hide and seek:
mom said: “Don’t play barefoot. Are you in the house or out of the house?”
When I was five I was playing hide and seek with a neighbor child and ran into the house (barefoot) trying to get to “base.” I slipped on the throw rug they had placed just in front of the door and fell into the splits. The screen door closed onto my bare foot. I panicked, and yanked my foot out, causing the worst noise I’ve ever heard in my life. A square section of my flesh had been ripped off, and you could see inside my foot at bones, veins, etc. Seven stitches.

So, really, if I just listened to my mother and read more and watched more television, maybe I wouldn’t be so scarred up. But what’s the fun in that, right? The problem is, I’m terrified of everything. I know that the first time I try a sport I’m going to get so banged up that I scare myself out of trying it again. Some of the things lasted longer than others, and some things I just can’t avoid (like going into the bathroom/bedroom). I just really hate being a klutz, because it makes me a scaredy-cat. I eventually try these things, but dammit if my mother’s predictions don’t always come true. Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Am I doomed to whatever future my mother predicts?


She never said anything about not standing up too fast in case someone is swinging a chair over your head because then you could get a metal chair leg colliding with the bridge of your nose, but I’m sure when I tell her what happened, she’ll come back with, “See? What did I tell you?”

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