Yesterday was Father’s Day. I’m fortunate to still have both my parents, and so my youngest and I spent yesterday on a socially distant patio visit at my parents place. While getting ready to go, I got sidetracked on my way to the shower and stood naked in front of the mirror in my bathroom tracking the freckles across my body.
I’ve gotten to the age where in the summer, I think about skin cancer. I’ve gotten to the age where this body, which once was a thing of beauty, has frankly seen better days. Yet, yesterday as I ensured that I have freckles not cancer, I found myself immensely thankful for this body where I reside. This body has been used. The marks of my life are a road map of my history.
There are the scars from my two surgeries. There is the tattoo I got to commemorate my University graduation. There are oodles of stretch marks, but as I’ve always said, the lives of four human beings for my figure seems a fair trade. There are my twin ear piercings and the bump of scar tissue where the third piercing closed over. That was at the top of my right ear, and I loved that piercing except that my long hair constantly ripped the earring from my flesh. This was a battle I eventually succeeded. Hair, one: piercing, zero.
My right front tooth is yellow because when I was eight, my brother and I were horsing around in a pool. I tried to jump out the side of the pool, and when he pulled me back in, I smashed my tooth on the cement edge. Well, in truth, that is why the tooth is fake. It is yellow because my dentist aunt was so good at her job that although I was told to get the cap replaced when I turned nineteen, it is still here many years later. Subsequent to this early dental work, I came to hate going to the dentist. That is why I still posses one of my wisdom teeth.
Currently, I have dark roots because for the first and only time in my life, I died my hair with a permanent colour. Mostly, I did this because it was corona-virus stay-cation, and I could. I didn’t think the dark roots thing through. Also currently, there is extra of me to love. That is because three years ago I had several people I cared about die, and I coped by sitting on my couch eating everything in the house and watching vampire shows. Hey, don’t judge me.
On my right knee, there is a tiny scar where I fell at the end of an escalator because I didn’t listen when my dad told me to stop fooling around. I also have his blue eyes, and according to my mother, his nice, firm skin. His white skin.
Yesterday, I stood in front of my mirror thinking about how I never asked to have white skin, but how my life would have been different if that one little detail about my body was different. The biggest difference — beyond the potential pipes of Beyonce or hoops of Jordan or unjust death of far too many — is the simple fact that I so rarely spend time thinking about the colour of my skin or its effect upon my life. Other than making sure the freckles are not skin cancer, I do not often have to think those thoughts.
This body is mine, and it has been used. I am proud of the living I have done in this body, and looking forward to more living yet to come. I can never fully exist outside of the reality of this body’s experiences. That is my road map of freckles, and that means this body is still a thing of beauty.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the hearing in this body. The mind it contains is interested in hearing about your map of freckles, too.