Today I was injured while getting a haircut. Yes, I waited 3 weeks to get an appointment then drove 50 minutes to see this lady (whom I’ve gone to for over a year) and right at the beginning of the haircut she chopped a big hole in my ear with her scissors! It bled like crazy. Luckily, as she told me, she was Red Cross certified to practice first aid! Which she demonstrated by carefully, gently, and thoroughly Band-Aiding my ear (twice, since I bled through the first one before she was done cutting my hair).
She felt terrible about it, of course, and I mainly thought it was funny (though painful!). So many possible jokes could be, and were, made about it during the rest of the sitting. She said she really just wanted to be blood sisters with me … I said I wished I had at least gotten a badass piercing out of the deal. She said someone asked her if I had screamed and she told them, “She just kind of said ‘ow.'” For some reason the understatement of that moment was hysterically funny to me and I could not stop laughing!
But when I got home and was telling the story to my housemates, I had the strange realization that this was actually only the latest in a series of bizarre injuries I’ve sustained lately while doing seemingly innocuous things. Yesterday I hurt myself while watching cartoons — I fell asleep in a weird position halfway through an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender and when I woke up half an hour later I had a spasm in my back that’s lasted all day.
Just a couple of days before that, I was at a chant retreat in which we had a little body percussion session. The leader, encouraging us to experiment, talked about some traditional practices of creating rhythms by beating on the chest. Well, for whatever reason, it felt really good to me to wale on that area of my body and I did so with abandon, surprising myself with how resonant my, well, upper breasts were when hit with a cupped hand. It reminded me of a technique I learned in massage school for detoxing organs and tissues — the slight vacuum created encourages the release of stuck stuff. And it also makes a cool sound.
I was even more surprised when, changing my shirt later in the day, I found that I’d bruised that area black and blue! Ok, a little black and blue — and a lot red. And a lot tender! Good grief!
For the rest of the night, and throughout the next day — during my gospel choir rehearsal and spring concert — I couldn’t help but be aware of the rawness around my heart. I don’t think it was a bad thing; I think beating my chest like that felt good because there was stuff that needed to come out, stuff that was blocked. Nonverbal stuff. And when it was able to flow out through the channel of the physical sensations, it made the general energy flow in that region feel more clear and more free.
So now I’m sitting here feeling my ear throb and thinking, what the heck is still going on here? Why do I keep incurring injuries while doing what would seem like perfectly safe activities? There’ve been three now, and they haven’t been subtle. Is there a message?
I don’t know exactly why I’m creating these experiences. Maybe I’m just keeping the natural balance of floating a little upwards, then … getting a little chunk of my ear sliced off. Maybe there are more things I haven’t fully expressed, that most closely resonate with cuts and bruises and muscle strains. Maybe. Neither hiding out in my room nor going out in the world seems to keep me safe …
But in all these instances, I can say without a doubt that whatever I was doing was worth the hit. I begin to feel like a crazy person, laughing while I bleed, but I think maybe that’s really all I need to take away.
Bizarre hurts happen. And the human situation can be freakin’ hilarious. So when I can, I’ll do my best to laugh it off and keep on going. And when I can’t, well, I guess I’ll break down. And cry until my heart is clear. And then make some silly joke, hit reset, and start all over again.