Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Importance of Scars

The picture above my desk:
my older brothers and me.
For a while I forgot about the scar at the corner of my right eye. Time has masked it with laugh lines but noticing it again, the story remains fresh. Pondering it now, I realize time has also changed its meaning. Scars are often secrets but this scar in no way began as a secret. I made sure this scar shouted.

My brothers and I were boarding the bus one September morning during my first weeks of school. My oldest brother's impatience got the better of him and he gave me a push to "help" me up the stairs. I bet I was carrying my lunchkit and maybe that's why I didn't put my hands out to brace myself against the fall? Instead, my face introduced itself to the steps, hence the scar.

I do remember crying, probably more like wailing, standing with my Mom, watching the bus drive away. Equipped early with a propensity for drama, I also remember thinking Is my eye going to fall out? Why isn't my Mom taking me to the hospital?! And why is my brother so mean? And why do they get to go to school considering the fact that I'm the only one who likes to go?!

Despite the hullabaloo, my scar is pretty tiny. And like that saying "when things go wrong, don't go with them," longevity and the loss of my oldest brother has taught me that this tiny scar is actually something huge to me now.

I wonder if my brother ever thought about it again? I wonder if he thought about the time a few years later when I punched him in the nose. I had to stand on a snow pile so I was tall enough. A spontaneous act, I remember feeling shocked that I had actually followed through with that very foolish decision. I don't recall what happened afterwards but I suspect G-rated would not describe it.

Revenge. That was always a problem with my brothers. They were older. They were taller. They were stronger. And worst of all, my heart just wasn't into revenge. Although I was always wary of my brother's negative attention, and I was always quick to tell anyone who would listen that they were meaner than mean, I would forget about my elaborate revenge plots and subplots. Eventually, I realized this may have been what irritated them the most about me. I rarely fought back. Plus, as the classic annoying tattletale, I learned fairly quickly that people would actually listen if I told my sibling war stories in such greatly exaggerated detail that even I couldn't keep a straight face while sharing and thus I turned their torture of me into legends that my cousins Laurel and Jo and I would laugh about until we couldn't breathe.

And thinking about this right now, I realized something: I wonder if this scar made me a writer, if indeed my brothers made me a writer. I needed someone to listen and they wouldn't listen unless I entertained them. That is the bigger thing this tiny scar means to me now. So brother, for this scar, I thank you.

4 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Great post, dbs!

My anxious life said...

Scares make better stories!

CLR said...

Oh how I love this. I love all your posts. You make me think. That's a favorite hobby of mine - thinking.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your stories and the picture is awesome too !!!!

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