Middle School Prose

You Have To Love My Scars to Love Me

Betsy M., 8th Grade, CHMS

For starters, I would just like to point out how incredibly simple it is for someone to be clumsy. Clutzy. Uncoordinated, as the technical term. I don’t’ mean it in the whole “Oh-don’t-worry-it’s-just-puberty-you’ll-grow-out-of-it”  way. I mean in the full blown sense that you are literally on guard twenty-four hours a day to make sure you don’t trip and kill yourself. I pride myself in being one of these few, special people.

You may ask, “But how do you define someone of this small clan?”  Well, I’m glad you did. I know that you are just a person who has most likely never met me, but if you did know me, you would know. Automatically. Perhaps some stories would suffice to paint you a mental picture.

Story 1: I was walking up the stairs and trip. No, not trip down the stairs; that’s amateur. It’s gravity doing the work. No, I propelled myself up the stairs and slid back down, slicing open my leg. Not only was this hugely embarrassing to myself, I was in a crowded staircase. With my friends. And other students.

Story 2: I was in my house in Michigan and was letting my friend drive a golf cart. Seeing as I thought she had come to a complete and final stop, I stand up to get up, in which case she speeds up again and I trip off the back, spraining every muscle in my shoulder and bruising numerous parts of my neck and tailbone.

Story 3: Ah, this may be my favorite. I was at a wedding in New York in my beautiful, floor-length dress. I was walking up to greet the bride, and I trip over the legs of one of the chairs. Of course, I fall face first into the edge of the table and gave myself a black eye. I told everyone that I was mugged.

But I won’t bore you with the rest of the exhibits of my disease. However, many people try to hide this fact and get it under control. I, however, am different. Seeing as I know undoubtedly that I will never be able to hide anything of this magnitude, so I therefore embrace it and let it become part of my everyday life, much to the enjoyment of my surrounding friends. However, I feel as if this entitles me to a poetic license, some way to use it to define myself in some way, like people do with more sophisticated things like art or poetry. I use my ability to injure myself at every possible opportunity.

The thing about clumsiness is the fact that it’s completely unexpected, like a shooting star or a celebrity sighting. A blue moon, if you will. The fact that I carry around these rare sightings with me like attached spirits sets me apart, I believe. When my girlfriends and I were younger, we talked about becoming famous models. It was a beautiful dream, yes, but now I imagine myself on the catwalk in a beautiful outfit and just doing a complete face plant. I have scratched off “model” from my list of possible things to be when I grow up. I’ve narrowed it down to a) writer, b) entrepreneur, and if all else fails, c) a masseuse or circus performer.

But, I digress. The thing that sets me apart is that I’m the one who doesn’t even attempt to be poised or mature, because there is just no possible way. It’s like trying to make a cat bark, or Courtney Cox relinquish Botox (I mean, seriously: she’s like 45 and she still looks like she could be in college). It doesn’t work; but you love them just the same. It’s become more than an annoying curse, a fly in my ear–it’s become something that makes me powerful, a staple, something I can depend on, even if that something involves me possibly visiting the ER. However, I believe that everyone should embrace this facet, the thing they hide because no one will accept it, the thing that makes them different. This special something, this quirk, it gives you strength, it separates you from the rest of society. Do you notice how everyone wants to fit in to “society”, but no one actually knows “society’s” names? I, for one, want to be remembered as more than “the girl who fit in” or “the girl that was pretty.” I think I’m worth more than that. I almost look at my maladies as glory scars, badges of honor. Something to tell my grandchildren when I’m older.

“See that scar? That was from when I flipped off a diving board and slammed my head!” I will have so little hair by then that it will be prominent.

But, let’s not turn this into something it’s not. I would just like to point out that this is mine. This is the piece of me that defines me, in every way. There is not one part of my life that isn’t affected by me. Everyone who really knows me can recite so many “Remember when Betsy fell (tripped, slid, kneed herself in the face–fill in the blank) that it’s almost scary. But still, it’s part of me. It’s who I am, and I love it. I get to laugh at myself and with other people almost every day, and it makes me stronger. Less prone to embarrassment, considering I’ve grown such a high tolerance for it.

But for everyone who meets me, it’s like a message is sent to their head, without even saying it. Once they get to know me, they know three things about me as an absolution: That they must be ready to take me to the hospital at any given time, that I have unusually low blood tolerance and will faint, and that to really be friends with me, you have to love my scars to love me.

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