Bruised Knees and Memories

I have, of late, found myself with a ridiculous amount of cuts and bruises on my legs.

These have come about from fairly mundane things. A gash on the back of my calf from shaving too absent-mindedly; a scrape on my knee from racing too hastily to answer the phone and giving the door frame a swift one; a bruise on my thigh from walking into my bed frame because my nose was in a book.

When I was younger I didn't go a week without a new bruise or cut gracing the white expanse of my legs. When you look back on school photographs with me sat back straight, feet together, the canvas of my legs reads like a Rorschach.

Thing is, I'm kind of proud of my scrapes and bruises, because they remind me of the simpler time when they represented adventure and exploration. I don't really do that anymore - have adventures. I mean, sure, I jump in my car and take a drive out somewhere new, and maybe I'll stop at a few kitsch shops or grab a drink at the local, but it don't really explore. Not like I used to.

I remember climbing up trees and pushing my way through bushes and overgrowth; filling my arms with scratches like a tally of square inches covered by my innocent feet in search of whatever I could find. I didn't care what I was looking for, the point was I was looking, and I was picking up the evidence of my journey on the way.

Once, a neighbour spun me around by my arms, let me go, and I landed in a rose bush. I remember being covered head to toe in thorn scratches. Another time I fell from a tree and found myself with a gash down my spine from a broken branch. My friend thought I was laughing when really I'd had the wind knocked out of me.

In a way, the best thing about scratches (notsomuch bruises, but I do feel the shadow of them when they're gone) is the scars that they can leave. I have scars that form a text on my body. Point to one and I can recall where and how I got it. Scars show a life lived, mistakes encountered, memories made.

It's not just my own memories that are formed with a scratch or a bruise. I remember others' stories from their scars. The friend whose brother knocked a wardrobe door onto her, catching her lip and leaving the faintest line.  The cross-scar on my dad's arm from his falling from a bed whilst jumping when he was a youngster and putting his arm through a window. Scars are underlines, the highlights in the text of our bodies so we don't forget what got us here.

So I'm wearing my current cuts and bruises as badges and I'm making the commitment here and now to try and get a little more adventure in my life. I want people to ask about the marks on my body and for me to be able to give them more than a mundane reason for their existence.

Who's with me?

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