Let me say first that I am accident prone. I blame this on my childhood. I was force-fed by my mother until I was 12 and this has hampered my motor skills. I’ve had so many freak accident my sister calls me “a disaster ready to happen.” I’ve been called, clumsy, careless, klutzy, and other names too hard to spell. My mother was mentally ill and just wanted to make sure I stayed in the chubby state that was considered healthy at that time. I was chased with bottles of milk while the other kids snickered. I was called a baby before I became a babe. This post has to do with my latest mishap. But I will also relate my most unusual accidents.
I guess I should start with one that I wrote about in my memoir about Gerald Washington. He didn’t like me. I was fifteen and he had a pea shooter. He followed me around the projects shooting his peas at me. I ran home with my heart beating like the bongo drum my father had brought home from the trash. My dad loved trash. Well, I wasn’t safe at home because all night the pea that I knew that was lodged in my throat, caused my first real panic attack. I made my mother take me to the emergency room the next day where the nuns at St. Catherine’s told my mother there was no pea in me and I wasn’t “right.” Later that year, I accidentally ran into Gerald’s bike while he was riding it. I found out what it means to have the wind knocked out of you when I tried to get up. I tried to get up because my mother was screaming at the top of her lungs which was loud and I hate loud noises. I survived and Gerald never bothered me again. But the panic and fear of those accidents stayed with me.
I won’t bore you with a couple of falls down a couple of stairs and a big fall off a stage where I danced Salsa in my 20’s. That could be explained by an excess of Sangria and a possible push from a fellow dancer who thought I was getting too much attention for my own good. I believed that story because the truth might have been I danced too close to the edge because I felt I was at the edge of the panic attacks that kept me dancing too fast and running away even faster.
I fell in a pothole in Soho NYC and busted my knee. The pothole was so large and the crowds so adept at walking gracefully around holes in sidewalks, that I didn’t blame myself for almost disappearing in the huge hole. No one stopped although many gawked at me from above. I didn’t make a fuss even though I was bleeding and limping. I thought things like that just happen to me. A few more falls and a few more holes were starting to worry others. My sister who is prone to swearing in public at drivers or anyone who have “mouth’s on them” was almost silenced when I walked in front of a truck. “Oh No, you did “nit” she said in her Nyurican accent, when the truck screeched in front of me and I didn’t even notice. “fugget about it” she warned but I kept on falling
I went to Paris on my 60th birthday, a superb present from my life partner, and I thanked him by taking a kid down with me on a fall. It wasn’t my fault. There was a kindergarten class and I was walking like I always do and something grabbed my leg and my knee buckled. I didn’t know it was a kid, I just grabbed and we both fell down. That was the first time I took someone down with me. The French were not amused and I had to look up some of the words they used to scold me with. Both of us were unhurt but the look on the kid’s face was priceless. I go down and I go down fast -so beware.
A more unfortunate accident wasn’t even a fall. It happened because I always hold stuff in my hand. I don’t put things away. I am not careless as much as so grateful to be out of my house. You see I was once a prisoner in my home, I locked myself away to avoid all panic and accidents. Now, I just wander around oblivious to anything but the beauty of my surroundings. I heard in an old song, “Not all who wander are lost” and I wander a lot. I also wonder a lot. But I am not lost. I think.
I was in an elevator holding a paper card in my left hand while a poem was composing in my head. A portly gentleman stepped in and pushed. I was in the back and not paying attention when I poked myself with the point of the card causing much tearing up and pain. My cornea was torn and remains so one year later. I didn’t want to hate the man for pushing so I began to hate myself for being unaware of any possible danger in the world. I didn’t like hating myself anymore because I was in the process of healing and decided to ignore the small stuff and if I’m still breathing, it’s all small.
So, today, I’m watching TV and heard Ashley Judd speak of her recent experience of being judged on her appearance. It brought back memories of my past experiences with appearance discrimination which started from my childhood and spilled over to school bullying and job interviews where I was judged not worthy due to a bad case of acne that persists until now . I always thought Ashley Judd to be a talented actress with an ethereal expression. Now I know she is also smart and a champion of all woman and men who have to conform to what Hollywood deems to be acceptable at any certain time. She spoke of plastic surgery and being damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Yes, she is famous but she says that her “puffy face moment” could have been another less famous women’s “big butt moment” and another’s acne moment.I liked that. I had many moments of not feeling good enough on so many levels. I didn’t want to show my scars in front of the world so I hid myself and my talent for kindness and writing inside of a closet. Now, I am out and ready to face the world, scars or not,
So, the matzoh edge somehow found its way to the roof of my mouth and it bled. But I just had a giggle and a feeling of love and self-acceptance and most of all appreciation of how I now love myself not matter what. I might try to be a bit more careful though, I don’t want to accidentally kill myself. That would be a real disaster.