Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Today I had an appointment with a facial surgeon to remove a lump of scar tissue from the inside of my bottom lip. It was a gift from my ex stepfather, who never learned that violence wasn't the answer, and it's been there for half my life. Over the years it has grown its own blood vessels, become as much a part of my face as my nose.

For a long time I thought catharsis was the answer, that the only way to get better was to tell all of my stories. I felt like I had to explain the gauntlet in order to be sure that I had made it through to the other side alive. But most of those stories I've never figured out how to articulate; I spent so many years lying and hiding in an attempt to keep my family, however messy, together, that I've never really figured out the words. I dug a hole in the corner of my brain and buried it all there. It was the only way to make it through.

But as I get farther away from it all, telling doesn't really matter so much. I don't think I need to get all of the pieces out to get better; I think that doctors sometimes leave bullets and shards of glass in their patients because they can heal around them. I have fought hard to be who and where I am today, fought against the trailer park and the drugs and the hitting and the terror and the abandonment and betrayal by the people who by all rights should have been on my side. Fought through circumstances that ruined many of my friends, fought to get to be this girl all the time. To never have to hide again.

Today the man numbed my mouth and took a scalpel to the last obvious remnant of that past, and with a bright gush of blood and a couple of stitches it was gone.

Life doesn't really come down on the side of girls like me; it never gets to be easy. But the anger gets harder to hold on to, especially as I realize that I don't really want to hold on to it. Every day I feel less and less like I need to talk my way to better. I think it's because I'm starting to believe that I am better already. That I'm doing just fine.

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