Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Body as Ecotone - Part 7 - Jarvis Slacks

On Keloids - Jarvis Slacks

It’s called keloid. Key. Loid. It is when the skin won’t heal like most people’s skin heals. Think of the skin healing cross-sectionally, lacing together and then melting to produce a seamless reality where a mistake happened. A keloid is the opposite. The skin lumps together and then just tries to figure things out the best it can. It is like the skin says, Can blood get out? No? Then we’re done here. No one really knows why the condition exists. And, yes, it is most common in black people. My people. In some counties, they still call us “you people.”

Keloids are the most wonderful scares. They rise up off the skin, or make the skin appear completely different than it did before. I have one on the back of my right hand. It happened after a bad night with a bad girl. I was riding my bike and flipped and slid and there they were: five new scars that will never go away. When people ask about it I tell them the truth: a mistake. But I’m not talking about the bike accident. I’m talking about the night before. Scars are direct representations of the things you do—I am a firm believer that, somehow and sometime, you have to pay for your mistakes.

For example, there is a scar on my belly. On the left side, up and down. I called my sister a foul name (bitch). Then I climbed a tree. Then I slid down the tree, and my belly took off some of the bark. It was huge, then, the scar. The length of my body. Now it is as long as my pinky. There is also one on my shin, from my foot to my knee, where I refused to help my mother do something. I can’t remember what. Then I ran into the underpinning of my house on a four-wheeler. There are scars from where I dated this girl for a week, this girl I shouldn’t have, and then I got ring-worm and now there are dozens of little places where the skin is dark, places where it should be light.

Recently I’ve been having conversations about plastic surgery with beautiful women. These women are older, yes, and they are afraid of what aging may bring in thirty years. The conversations seemed to bounce off me. My body isn’t something to fix. It isn’t something that can be remedied. My body doesn’t have scars, I have scars. Emotional, physical, whatever, I’m riddled. My belly isn’t big. I’m big. My leg doesn’t hurt. I hurt. I am slowly understanding that this place that I spend so much time with, my body, is so much of me. People say, Get rid of the physical. Look past the flesh. I’m embracing my flesh, fully accepting of it. This is me, I say, sometimes, to people. These days, I tend to walk around my house naked, the windows open.

This could be me getting old, not caring about the ideas of beauty as much as I used to, when beauty was obtainable. Or it could be me getting more arrogant, thinking my body is the most beautiful body in the world. And I really do think that. When I look in the mirror, I don’t want to be anyone else. I couldn’t imagine it. A certain level of arrogance can save you a lifetime of doubts, some costly medical procedures, or some therapy. Scars aren’t so bad. As long as you remember where they came from—how not to get them, again.

1 comment:

mdimergirl said...

I never thought of keloids as being common with a particular group of people. I'm covered with them. I'm an Irish/ Scottish/ English/ MicMac/ Mermaid blend. Keloids are small, hard to see except really up close, or by touch. They're often accompanied by nerve loss in the same spot. The keyloids on my mouth make kissing a very different experience for me: I can't feel it. So I kiss with my eyes open.