Hello my dear readers. I have for you my very first guest post!
I love this woman’s creativity, from her music and painting through to her experience of life, and she has offered up this piece for us to read. It is posted anonymously, which does not detract from the insight or honesty she portrays.
Her bravery is always an inspiration to me.
I’ll be politically correct and mention it deals with a traumatic topic and is a slight departure from what I normally post.
I have this ugly big toe. I wasn’t born with it ugly. It became ugly somewhere between the age of 2-3. Though I cannot recall the traumatic event in detail, the story goes that I was playing out the back on a heap of bricks moving them around in bare feet. I must have been fairly strong to be doing this at such a young age, until I dropped them on my left big toe. Apparently I cried a lot. Well, duh. It hurt. I was left then with a black, curled toenail that would come off & regrow every year or so. When I was about 10, I had surgery on it to remove the nail bed. However, it was decided mid surgery that instead of doing this they would try & flatten the nail bed instead. Who knows what happened as I am now left with a shorter, rounder toe with a permanent disfigured nail. My sister & brother still to this day love paying it out, calling it names such as “helmet head” (why?). Without fail, every summer (I’m either wearing thongs or no shoes) people freak out asking me what happened to my toe. I always act just as surprised stating that “I have no idea. It wasn’t like that last time I saw it”. No amount of nail polish, regardless of colour, can disguise its unattractiveness. I’ve always joked that when I die, you could identify my body by my toe. It’s a part of me, & even though it takes a pair of pliers & a grinder to trim it, I have embraced it.
So, what’s the point of my toe story? The point is I like analogies. My obviously disfigured toe is evidence of a traumatic childhood event. The word traumatic may seem like an over emphasis, but it’s true. I screamed & cried hysterically (according to mum) because it hurt. There was blood, there was injury & though I cannot recall the event in great detail, still to this day I am very conscious of dropping something on it. I have other disfigurements caused by other traumatic childhood events, but not all of these injuries can easily be seen. They are on the inside, with a few obvious physical scars on the outside. Some of the scars on my body are self-inflicted caused by moments of intense emotional pain & anguish. Others are caused by the adventurous & slightly crazy person that I am, mostly bicycle accidents. I’ll be bold & say that most, if not all, physical scars on people’s bodies are a result of something gone wrong: cancer, car accident, assault, etc, etc, you get the picture.
As for my disfigured toe, I can’t recall the exact event, but my mother can. The scar on my left knee that still has specs of dirt in it, I can recall clearly. At 8 I came off my BMX bike on a BMX track when some idiot decided to ride his dirt motor bike on the track startling me. Idiot. As for the sexual abuse I experienced throughout my childhood, some I can recall & some I cannot clearly remember, & unlike my toe incident, I have no one to recall the events for me. If my perpetrator was alive today, perhaps I would have the guts to confront him, but he is not. So now I am left with internal scars for which I only have distorted images of, locked away in the hippocampus of my brain. I experience flashbacks & triggers. I have symptoms of, what my psychotherapists calls, PTSD. I self sabotage & though I know I am doing harm, I keep searching for answers in the wrong places. Most of the time, I function relatively well, or so it looks from the outside, but on the inside I am like my bed room. A cluttered, disorganised mess. I am told I also have depression, or anxiety, or ADHD. Even as I write this I have been distracted a million times by split ends & hang nails. How I made it this far in my career & studies I have no flipping idea! Thanks to medication, extensions & elaborate excuses, oh… & the amazing grace of God!!
Back to my toe. Though I have vague images of the aftermath of the toe incident, I know the traumatic event I can attach it too. I know the story of my big toe from go to woe. I have vague images, flashbacks, feelings & body sensations & intense emotional reactions to triggers from those other traumatic childhood events & I cannot tell you each of the stories from go to woe, & this continues to afflict me.