Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Skin

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.


Tammy said...

Brilliant post! I loved the story your body tells and how it has grown so wise :) Well written!

Rose of Sharon said...

I enjoyed reading about the story of your skin. Very intimate details, very effective. Thank you for a great read.

commongal said...

Why do we consciously neglect ourselves? I do it because of the bills I don't want to face. To avoid the bigger problems. You sound, however, like you just don't feel you deserve it.

You trust your skin, at least. That's a good thing.

Chelle Y. said...

I love the part where you write that you do not use vanishing cream to "erase your laugh lines." That, I believe, makes a person more beautiful, than any botox could ever do.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to think about the literal marks on the body as part of our ongoing story--I seldom remember to do that.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words on my blog. You'll never know how much I needed to hear that today.

papyrus said...

Thanks for the glimpse you gave us of this most interesting book. I'd never thought of my skin in that way before, yet it's so true.

Mike said...

"The lines upon my face
They tell of where I`ve been.
While the lines upon my page
Fill the spaces in between."

I wish I could say I wrote those words but I didn`t. It`s from a song written by a friend of mine for a lady from his past.

I enjoyed reading this post.

ian russell said...

this is an excellent approach to the theme, yes, it's a good way of looking at your skin (there's a few chapters i haven't read in a while myself).
it's funny how cuts heal yet scars remain - there must be a point where the body decides oops, that one's a scar, i'm afraid! but who knows where that point is? i have an oval scar from a wrestle with a barbed wire fence when i was 8 yo.

Marilyn said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your lovely comment. What a fabulous post for this prompt! Loved it.

Mystic Wing said...

Great, thought-provoking blog.

Particularly interesting are the stories of our scars, don't you think?

Amber said...

I have tried to comment three times! I hope this works.

I want to tell you that this is such a great scribble, it may be my fav this week. I love the picture of loving what IS, and how it came to be...Living in our skin, as it is a blueprint of our journey. You write it well.


Michelle O'Neil said...

This is really beautiful Jerri. Touching on so many levels.

My grandmother was 94, and proud of her wrinkles, "I earned every one of them." she used to say.

I want to be like her, but sometimes I do freak when I see the lines starting. The gray hair here and there.

Thanks for beaing a beacon of light!

GoGo said...

I like your self-disclosure I skin. I saw some of my own skin in your words. It was nice to relate. Thanks.

Suzy said...

Love the lines,"It is an historian, a wise teacher, and a miraculous gift." And so is your writing.....