I’ve been retooling a speech, putting together old and new material into one super speech for this weekend. I’m speaking in Merritt, BC and while I’m talking story I’m also explaining lessons I’ve learned through the story.
One of the topics I cover is ‘wholeness’. How physically I’m altered and logically I’m not whole, but I feel whole. If the state of my mind and heart are whole then I am, in fact, whole. Even though my crazy stitched-up body will always be my crazy stitched-up body I’ve made peace with it. Until summer comes around.
It’s far better than it used to be. I don’t intensely dislike girls who can pull off a tank top anymore and what I mean by ‘pull off’ is really anyone that doesn’t have scars running up and down their arms stopping and starting in neat lines making sleeves. I was envious of something I no longer had and I was a girl that wanted to feel pretty.
Everyone is allowed parts of the body they hate. I just hated almost all of my body. Except for my boobs. Miraculously, they escaped the fire. So, I had that. For the most part, I didn’t judge people’s nitpicking about themselves. Once in a while, though, I got uptight. When people would complain about the nick they have on their otherwise smooth tanned leg or the small scar on their arm from when they were poked with a fork or something equally as offensive I thought, oh yeah? I’ll show you. I wanted to rip off my clothes to show them what scars were all about, which was quickly rebuffed by sanity and my polite side returning to me. I’d murmur my agreement. “That sucks.” And shake my head knowingly. They knew I could sympathize. Years ago Someone-I-Knew said, “I sprained my toe and I thought of you right away. It is so painful. I knew you could relate.” I tried to stop my jaw from unhinging and said, “Oh?” What I should have added was uh, no, spraining your toe is not the same as having someone cut them off.
As I got distance from the crash I was less jealous of people with normal skin and more tolerant of the stupid things people say (also, people stopped saying stupid things). I grew comfortable in my new skin, in who I am. It’s just that summer is a trigger for what I lost.
As I’m reading the lessons I wrote down two years ago for one particular speech I’m reminded again of not just how horrific it all was, but what has happened since, what I’ve made of my life. All of the good that’s come, the joy I found, and I’m filled with gratitude.
The speech is called A Life Worth Living and this weekend on June 12th it will have been 13 years since the car crash and I think it’s kinda cool that I’m speaking on June 11th, the day before everything changed in the blink of an eye about love, hope and being whole.