My skin chronicles the journey of my life, telling my stories and my secrets.
*A half-moon shaped nick in my right knee tells of the kindergarten recess when I jumped off the monkey bars because a boy taunted me with the idea that only boys were brave enough to try it. If you look into that scar deep enough, you’ll see the years I’ve spent trying to prove I can do anything a boy (or a man) can do. Look long enough and you might also see how often I’ve wondered whether my parents would have had a third child if I had been the boy they must have wanted. My name alone—one typically given to boys—begs the question.
*Stretch marks on my thighs reveal the cycles of weight gained, lost, and regained. The number and shape of these imperfections tell the stories of how difficult it is for me to face the world without being cloaked in the invisibility of excess weight.
*Hundreds of tiny discolorations on my upper arms whisper about the years when I neglected myself so assiduously that my skin erupted in flocks of miniscule pimples. When I reclaimed the right to care for myself, simple exfoliation and the regular application of moisturizer solved an ugly problem that had persisted for decades.
*Dry, torn cuticles, rough heels, and scaly shins display the sad truth that I rarely partake of the services offered by the salon and day spa I own in partnership with my sister. Deb, a martyr of epic proportions, practically has to be forced to do anything for herself. I feel guilty having my fingers or toes buffed and polished when all she ever does is work. The dryness on my fingers and toes exists in direct proportion to that guilt and to my inability to stand in my own truth in the face of hers.
*The smooth expanse inside my right elbow is entirely unremarkable. That is, it bears no mark of the lips that kissed that tender skin, sending ripples of pleasure up and down my spine. And yet, my fingers can trace the shape of those long-ago kisses and revisit their magic even now.
*Through the variations of its colors, my skin characterizes what I show to others as well as what I hide. The fish-belly-white of my rear end reveals how hard I try to cover my imperfections. The bronze of my face reflects the way I turn toward the Light, following its path like a sunflower in a field. The tan line along my breasts delineates exactly how much of myself I expose to the world.
*Tiny crinkles at the corners of my eyes and deep groves that bracket my mouth speak of my reactions to the wonderful, absurd comedy of Life. I don’t use eye creams or expensive elixirs to try to erase these lines. Instead, I appreciate them for what they are: evidence of the laughter and joy that has shaped my life and my face.
My skin is more than the largest organ of my body, more than the container of my self and my soul. It's even more than the sum of its shapes and sizes and textures. It is an historian, a wise teacher, and a miraculous gift.
I'm grateful for this skin that I'm in and all it has seen me through.
To read more Sunday Scribblings, go here. I especially recommend this one.