I have been banging up my knees since I was a little kid. I was always overly aware and awkward with my body which resulted in many many falls off of bikes, tripping while running, or walking into things that just happened to be knee-high. That blue-ish gray scar on the right side of the photo – that was a scab that was accidentally re-opened about four times when I was little and that’s how it healed. You can actually see my blood through my skin. Also, you can see that fresh scrape healing on the left side – that was from tripping over a boulder in a park – even today, knee-high objects are not my friends.
Yeah, I’m clumsy but this was something more. When I was a kid, I was completely uncomfortable with my body, how it moved, how it grew, and how it felt. The inhibition that I felt from being a chubby little kid resulted in more awkward moments that I can count, often ending with me in tears and my mom lovingly spraying Bactine on some part of me. I also remember my father berating my mother for always walking with her head down (this is another issue entirely), which made me determined to always walk with my head up, trying to look where I was going in advance, and often failing and thus falling or tripping. And I remember people and other kids always commenting on my knees and how messed up they were. In my life, I’ve been told how ugly my knees are, that they will be ugly for the rest of my life, and that I am fat and clumsy. My knees became one more part of me to feel shameful and embarrassed of.
As I grew older, I got used to using my body in new and different ways. Some were incredibly harmful and some were very restorative. I have also slowly been getting more comfortable in my body, the space it takes up, and how I move in it. In my last treatment program, we were offered a yoga class. I started practicing it and haven’t stopped since. My balance is still laughable (again, see my freshly healing scrape) but I can do Cow Face like nobody’s business. And I started reclaiming my ugly knees – I am strengthening them all the time with yoga and I am appreciating their uniqueness more and more. Now I like pointing them out to people because they are fucking cool.
These scars on my knees are offering a visual story about who I am and what I’ve become.