The Long and Winding Road

"Touch your forehead," I say to Cecilia. I want her to feel the sweat, the flesh, the weight of her forehead. It has substance. It acts. It reacts. Feel what you are made of, I think.

"Now," I say to her, offering a feel of my own to someone NotMe for the first time in my life--that I had control of. "Feel here." I guide her fingers to the fleshy, warm, wet skin of my temple. "Feels the same." I move back.

"Now, feel here..." and I guide her fingers to the thin, darker skin of my forehead. "Feel here."

I can see her face change. She moves through expressions of discovery. Realization that what she expected to feel was not what she found. The skin is smooth. It is tight. There is just skin, and then there is bone. There is no fat. There is no muscle. There are very few nerves. I do not flinch under her touch. I can barely feel it.

I tell her I was one of those people they tested skin expanders on. My hair was once one quarter of the hair on my head. We spread it. No one knew the consequences.

1.) I overheat when exercising. I have about 1/4 the pores on my head as the rest of you. When I run, play tennis, lift weights, I do not have the physiological ability to cool off through my head like you do. It took me until I was in my 30s to figure that out. Why I turned so read doing exercises my body was fully capable of handling.

It also explains why when my parents wanted me to wear hats skiing, why I said no. I wasn't losing that much heat. I was warmer inside because I couldn't lose that heat through my head.

I still can't.

2.) Head massages are useless. People seem to love head massages. There is a little patch on the back, left side, that has what I assume is mostly real feeling, and that feels very nice. Move off that one inch, and I am indulging you. Sorry.

3.) I have resisted getting wrinkles. Perhaps it's because I have lost those sagging muscles and my skin is pulled so tightly that it won't sag... Maybe it will later. I should perhaps not be shy about having that altered in the future. It was done enough in the past.

4.) If someone is operating on your face, ask to be put to sleep all the way. One of the awfulest things you can experience is the sound of someone cutting your face. The sounds it makes when they are sewing things up, when you are awake and can hear them, but you cannot feel them.

It was my last. The last I would let happen.

The last time I would live as someone who needed to be fixed.

Writing that makes me realize the strength 18 year old me had, that was lost on my own self as I grew older, thought men mattered more, thought being beautiful meant more than being me. I have never thought twice though, about that decision I made then.

I am done.

This is as fixed as I will ever be.

Take me, baby, or leave me.


Alison Stevens said…
I always enjoy reading your blog. You have always been such a great writer. And reading this, just made me feel for you... I can't imagine going through something like this... And can totally see why you stopped when you did... Makes you wonder how all these people get plastic surgery to fix minor things..

But I also remember back when you had the accident when we were little. I think it was the summer going into 2nd or 3rd grade? My mom always talks about what a blessing it was that your Dad was able to act fast... I was supposed to go visit you in the hospital with Alli and our moms, but was sick that day... I remember being so excited when you came back home.. Anyway, just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you... Alison
Proud of you, J, and deeply moved by your strength.

So much to reflect on in this post. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

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