Some people bruise really easily. My Mom is like that; she once just slipped walking up the stairs and her entire forearm was a mess of purple and red. I remember because I was about 9, and seeing that freaked me out. I was crying and screaming and running the the phone, ready to dial 911. But my Mom caught me, and when I looked at her face I saw that she wasn’t really hurt at all.
“It looks worse than it is, trust me. I’m not hurt, I’m just fine, you don’t have to cry. Come on now, Calvin, you weren’t even the one to fall, so stop crying already.”
I had a habit of crying whenever anybody would get hurt, and probably more so when that anybody was me. I hated seeing other people in pain, and I couldn’t handle pain at all. I was a terrible batter because I was scared of getting hit by the pitch. I always backed away as the ball was thrown, and pitchers just gave me outside pitches I couldn’t reach. I refused to watch boxing matches, thinking they were cruel and inhumane and that the people making money off of such events were just monsters. I didn’t find things like guns and swords cool like other boys my age, and I didn’t like roughhousing with other boys my age.
This didn’t make me a social outcast though, not at all. I was funny and smart, so people always wanted me around. I made studying easy, and never had to wait around for a partner for any projects. It was like that from elementary school through college; I was always the same, reliable guy.
And I got over my aversion to pain. I found that boxing was more an art than a brawl, and saw guns and swords as some of the coolest things in the world thanks to videogames. I overcame my fear of being hit and became a decent baseball player, and I even found out I can rough it out with the best of them, although I was better at taking the hits and not so good at dishing them out.
I also found out I wasn’t like my Mom, I didn’t bruise easily at all. I took plenty of nasty falls during baseball seasons, but it never really showed. I picked up Soccer and backyard football and doing stupid, dangerous stunts on dares. I broke a wrist, ran into a fence and broke my nose, fell out of a slow moving car and lost most of the skin below my right kneecap. But it always seemed like I avoided the worst outcomes, and those things never left me with bruises to stare at in the mirror.
I’m a college grad, living the office life, using my Excel skills to produce some really insightful pivot tables. I play tennis now instead of baseball, but I’m still the funny, smart guy at work. I play video games still, and I watch boxing, and while my Mom hasn’t fallen down any sets of stairs recently, the new dog she convinced my Dad to get is bigger than she is, and while she was out walking him he pulled her down chasing a cat, and she sprained her ankle. Of course she refused to believe it was sprained and avoided the doctors for 3 days, until her ankle was so swollen she couldn’t get her socks on. So not much has changed, even after 18 years.
And wouldn’t you know it, I still don’t bruise easily! Nope, it’s not easy at all! I mean, I can take a hammer to my forearms, day in and day out, and barely be able to move my wrists, but no bruises! I can punch my stomach until I force myself to vomit, but no marks are there to worry about! And while the cuts obviously can’t not leave a mark, they are all located on parts of my body nobody has to see. My upper arms, chest, thighs…well, the point is they don’t have bruises! They take the punches and hammer blows, the backhands and mini-baseball bat like they are nothing, so that’s still the same.
And I still hate watching other people in pain, and I’ll cry about it and wish the world could exist in a state where nobody had to ever feel pain.
And I still can’t handle pain. So I cut and punch and beat and break every inch of my body, day in and day out. Because it doesn’t hurt. And it helps me to forgive myself, just a little bit, and makes this pain so much easier to live with. So I have to keep going. If I let up I know the pain will become to much, and I’ll end up dead. So I have to keep it up.
Someday…this body will give out, and even though I don’t bruise, I know my body isn’t invincible, and it will break. The only question for me is will my body break first, or will this pain drive me to give up sooner? It’s hard to get out of bed every morning, but it used to be hard because of the pain, and now my body is about 10% of the reason why. I wonder how long it will take to get to 50%. Or 75%. Will this pain win out before I get to experience that? What state will my body be in when I finally die?
So, some people bruise easily, but that doesn’t mean they are weak. Some people don’t bruise at all, but they can be the weakest, most pathetic fucking things on this planet, huh?