I am really, really, really clumsy. I walk into walls, corners, couches, tables, etc. Now, partly this is because I don’t like to turn on lights. Therefore, I am often groping around in the dark, and not in a good way. In addition, it’s not easy to see two black cats in the dark. Plus, they seem to have a knack of placing themselves juuuuust right so I will trip over them with the least damage to their own little bodies.
My mom likes to tell the story of how when I was a little girl of around two, and remember, this was in the days before fences for toddlers, I would fall down the stairs every day. She would hear me go thunk, and there I would be at the bottom of the stairs. There were only a few stairs, and it never stopped me from doing it again.
When I was also two or three, I was playing follow the leader with my brother (him being the leader, of course, as he was (and is) older than I) on our parents’ bed. It had a crappy headboard (again, before regulation and all that shit), and as I jumped, I gashed open my forehead on the headboard. My dad promptly fainted as my mom rushed me to the hospital. You can still see the scar today as I’m keloid–which means I scar twice as badly as most people.
When I was a teen, there was a mosquito in the garage. I went to kill it, and the glass on the garage door shattered. I sliced my wrist, and my brother had to take care of me. I have no idea how I managed to avoid breaking a bone, but I have thus far (knock, knock).
I am regaling you with a few of my accidents to underscore a point–they were all avoidable. Most of the time I hurt myself, it is avoidable. If I have the lights on and I walk into something, it’s because I’m not paying attention. I am so good at this (walking and not paying attention), I have managed to do three times something that is fairly hard to do–I’ve fallen UP stairs. I did it today after getting the mail (I was brushing my teeth at the same time with my electric toothbrush as I looked at the mail), ind now, I have two bruised knees and road rash up and down my right leg.
I’m a fucking idiot.
The thing, though, is that this is a metaphor to how I live my life. I’ve been living it, not really paying attention to where I’m going. When I run into something and hurt myself, it’s usually my own damn fault. I could have avoided so many of the mistakes I’ve made if I’d only paid more attention.
See, for many years, I’ve lived inside my head. I’ve thought of my body as not being a part of me. It was merely the vessel in which I got around, so I didn’t particularly care what happened to it. That’s another reason I hurt myself quite a bit–I just didn’t give a damn.
Back to my head. Through the years, the only thing I’ve really valued about myself, consistently, I mean, is my intelligence. It was my way of boosting my very low self-esteem. However, my pride of my intellect was also my downfall on several occasions. I was able to rationalize many a situation where it would have been better for me to listen to my body. In addition, I am very good at talking myself into or out of something. It’s one reason I like my therapist. She refuses to let me get tangled up in a web of words because while the words sound reasonable, they really are just a cover-up for what I really need to do. I can spend days pondering the meaning of life (there is none) in order to avoid actually doing anything.
In some ways, falling or running into things is good because it jolts me out of my state of incomprehension. When I fell up the stairs today, I was bewildered for a minute as to where I actually was and what I was actually doing (hitting the concrete with my ass) until I was physically jolted back into my body. I am so used to leaving my body. I need to be reminded once in a while that my body is not optional. Without it, I will die.
Anyway. Back to the metaphor part. I have never decorated any office or dorm room in which I’ve lived. When I was in the Bay Area renting a room in a house, I didn’t decorate that, either. This is partly because I am not a big decorating kind of gal (I know, big surprise, that), but it’s also because I didn’t want to leave any imprint. Partly, because I never wanted to admit that I’d be around for very long, but also because if I put down roots, then I would have to be a real person. That is something I have avoided for the last fifteen years.
I can’t do that any more. I can’t go around in a fugue, constantly bumping into things that make me hurt myself. I need to start paying better attention. Tomorrow.