Home > Reflection > I’m a klutz

I’m a klutz

Sometime in sixth grade I stopped being able to walk through doorways or around tables without falling into them.  I remember noticing it as it was happening and wondering vaguely about why, but I was a little too busy going through puberty and avoiding sharp edges to worry about it.  I think I assumed that I would regain my balance once I finished growing, but 17 years later I still can’t walk safely.

I currently have a nasty looking purple bruise on the upper side of my knee and a greenish blue circle on my upper arm.  I learned in the state of Virginia’s online child abuse training (to recognize it, not inflict it) that bruises on hard spots – shins, knees, elbows – are pretty common and not usually a cause for alarm, but that regular bruising on soft tissue – arms, stomach, thighs – is often a warning sign that there’s abuse.  Based on this metric, I’ve been abused for most of my post-puberty life.  I feel like I always have at least one shiner somewhere on my body, the result of moving a little too quickly or with a little less than grace.  I got the bruise above my knee when I slammed it into the corner of the bedside table climbing into bed.  I got the bruise on my upper arm while using the restroom last night – I closed the stall door harder than I’d meant to and sent the metal coat hook on it straight into the muscle of my arm.  It’s unusual, though, that I remember how I got these bruises: most of the time my discolored flesh is a mystery to me. I’ll have some vague memory of the initial pain, but the bumping and knocking of my body into surfaces is so common that I rarely note it anymore.

Perhaps the answer is to walk a little more slowly and to move with deliberation rather than speed.  If that’s the solution, though, I think I’d rather have the bruises.  I like moving through my world quickly, even if it sometimes leaves me smarting.  In the end, some oddly colored spots are probably an okay price to pay for living and moving in my own way.

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