So, if you know me you know, that if I'm a fan, or STAN (see Eminem STAN video for definition) of anyone it's my mother. No, she's not perfect, but that lady is my heart. Also, if you really know me and you're reading this blog you'd know that I'm in graduate school studying aging. As part of a class project we have to pick an older person (not that I consider da mommy old, but this is a milestone year) and do what's called a life review with them. I chose to do it with her...Ultimately this ends up being about 20 pages on 10 major topics in a persons life: death, romance, childhood, experiences that shaped your life, family, career, etc. I also wanted to really get to know my mom. I know there are some stories that you hear so often you can finish them, but there are just some questions you never think to ask, some subjects you don't think to breech and I knew this would help us get there. This first story was evidence of that. In addition to doing the class project I'm going to be posting some of these stories and my thoughts on the blog :) . Here's the first :)
Black Car, White Stripes
I was a dancer. Always had nice, long hair had a nice shape, you know, an hourglass figure. I was in the dance studio four and five times a week, plus private lessons. I never liked the attention that it brought. It always seemed like I got the attention, but it wasn’t the attention that I wanted. It was sexual, not like they really wanted ME, like they really cared about me. I just didn’t think it made me; don’t think it makes any person.
I was on my way to choir rehearsal when it happened. Joyce, my cousin, and I were being driven down the winding hills by our house, in the Plymouth Belvedere. As we turned to go Huffman hill we could see it: black car, white stripes. Something just wasn’t right. He pulled over, but the other driver still lost control. He hit us head on. The rest, I don’t know.
I woke up in the hospital, with a tube down my throat. Scared, I was just ten. I tried to pull it up. They made me swallow it again. They fed me intravenously for about a week after. Joyce had suffered cuts all over her face, and a broken arm. Dad’s outstretched arm at the moment of impact had kept her from going through the windshield. We didn’t wear seatbelts then like we do now. I suffered a ruptured spleen, a concussion, and cuts all across my forehead and face.
The road to recovery was a long one. No more cheerleading, drill team, or choir. I tried to be normal, but the first time I tried to sing in the choir again I fell out during service. Therapy lasted a year, and the plastic surgeries, there were too many to count. The scars were ugly. They had formed keloids. I remember the surgeries; I was never put out, just numbed. The doctor would talk to me while he was working on my face. As time went on he would get closer to the surface.
Thinking back it was so traumatic, we had to go to court, the man had been driving drunk. I had the surgeries, the continuous therapy. I just had enough. After a year I had them stop the surgeries. I still had scars but enough was enough. I guess looking back my face really just wasn’t important. Part of that probably is I knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt that my parents knew me, and they would love me, and they would take care of me. They would do everything they could and I would have all the opportunities they could afford. I really just didn’t think getting rid of the scars was that important. I didn’t perceive that kind of thing as being something that could make, break, or change life.
Even now, I’ve been around folks for years, and they’ll notice the scars on my forehead, and I tell them, well they’ve been there since I was about 10 years old. I didn’t see it as I think I had to have done because I needed to look perfect. I like to dress nice, and have nice clothing, but I’m not particular about my body, it doesn’t defeat or deflate self confidence. It’s probably the reason why I never really liked fake hair. But, honestly I don’t know, it’s always been important to be whoever you are. I don’t know, that’s just the way I see it.