I’ve never been an amazing athlete. I mean, compared to the average bear, my “athleticism,” or whatever semblance of it that I possess, has sufficed. What that means is that I’m much better than a dead weight on the field, on the court, or wherever on the team. And a regular sports cliche is that, those who aren’t as naturally gifted as others tend to try and make up for that by working harder than everyone else. In basketball terms, that translated into hustling around the court, fighting and diving for loose balls, and played hard-nosed defense even though I knew I wasn’t going to get many chances to score on the opposite side of the court. It is what it is, and I’m fine with it.
Having said that to characterize my play, there was this one day where we were playing ball at AHS. This was prior to the renovations they did a few years back; the new courts run east/west, while the old courts ran north/south. We were playing on the court closest to a huge patch of dirt and grass. My memory of this incident is pretty foggy, as this was about five years ago, and all I can remember was that for one second I was running about, sprinting off for something, and then all of a sudden, I slipped and took a pretty hard. As is my tendency to do, I immediately jumped back up and declared to everyone that I was fine, but as everyone looked over me, they saw that I was anything but fine. Apparently the area where I had slipped on had a bunch of sand, and in the middle of that sand was a tiny little rock that, when multiplied by my falling momentum, had managed to scratch me for a length 3.5″ and go about 3mm wide (NSFL; link to xanga post with pictures). This was in addition to the 4″ x 2″ patch of skin that had been scraped off by the sand particles on the rest of my leg. In hindsight, I probably should’ve gotten that properly cleaned up and stitched at the hospital or something, but I didn’t, and it was a slow painful healing process (a process that I further aggravated by returning to the court before I was fulled healed and damaging that same exact area, oi). I ran one race during my senior track season of high school, and still managed to damn near match my PR for the mile without being in training/top form. Oh, what could have been.
The healing process, as I had opted to take care of it on my own (again, hindsight, whyyy. I could’ve been up and about so much earlier), involved nearly an hour’s allotment of time in the shower to properly unwrap my dressings on the wound, take the care to meticulously clean it and disinfect it, and then wrap it up again so I could walk around without getting my blood on everything. And as with any skin breaking injury, the healing process involved scabbing and itching and a great big desire to pick and peel at the healing mechanism taking place. I’m pretty sure I was doing so even with the knowledge that it was best to leave it be and not touch it. Even though there exists the platitude “mind over matter,” clearly the matter at hand was taking precedence over the desires of the mind.
Like I mentioned before, it’s been just over five years since that incident, I have a beautiful (read: ugly) scar where the rock sliced my skin, and surrounding that is a huge patch of epidermis with a weird pattern and texture to it. It’s kinda hard to forget about this incident, seeing as how every time I look down to my leg, there’s that scar, staring right at me, taunting me about that one fateful day 60 or so months ago. But I mean, I’ve gotten over it, and there are no ill feelings about the whole thing. It’s just simply.. there, a physical manifestation of a less-than-amazing time back in my past.
(Whew, that was a much longer introduction than I’d planned. Shall we then?)
Just like physical grievances, emotional injuries can often leave a lasting effect on us. While there may not be physical reminders on our bodies of a time that once was (or maybe for you, there is), there are items and incidents and other strange quirks that serve to bring up recollections of the past. As with the physical pain, so too does emotional healing involve the itching and scratching period, a period of time when our mind knows that it’s not safe to go and revisit specific things (it’s a trap!), but we do so anyways, bringing us all the way back to step 1 of the recovery process. And just like how physical wounds heal over time, be they a few days, a couple of weeks, several months, or possibly years even, emotionally hurts do heal, eventually. The fact that we fall prey to the whims of Father Time and have such little control over it is an agitating annoyance, but it ultimately is something we learn to live with and learn from.
From time to time, I still sometimes get these weird random itches. No, not on my leg, but in the back of my mind. Occasionally it may be due to an external stimulus that jogs the memory, and other times it’ll just be me sitting by myself, and scumbag brain will chip in and go, “Hey, remember that one time when…” In the past, moments like these would instantly rip apart all progress that had been made in getting over that issue in the past, but I think now, I’ve finally transitioned more into the stage where it not longer is a painful reopening of the wound, but something more along the lines of something that brings a small smile to my eyes. I’m not gonna lie, I mean, there are still times when I still wistfully wish for things in the past, and times where the anger resurfaces as if I were feeling the hurt all over again for the first time, but thankfully, those moments have dwindled down to instances that are few and far between, and instead are replaced with more populous episodes of fond recollection. We can’t worry too much about the people from our past because there’s a reason they didn’t make it to our future.