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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Scraped Knees Ain't Just for Kiddies

The entire time I was growing up I had scraped knees. I'd trip on my skip-it, slide wrong coming out of a tree, miss my landing jumping off the swings, and lose a layer of skin. There was always pain but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for having so much fun. Sadly, it's been years since I've had a scraped knee and I can't help but think that it's a sign that I haven't been having enough fun. All that's in the past though, cause I scraped the crap out of my knee and had to get stitches on my hand! The badass is back and ready to play.

I've always prided myself on not being the type of woman who refuses to kiss a man cause it will ruin my make-up or won't get my hair wet in a pool. I try to prioritize a good time before a good look, but if I'm going to be a badass, I'm going to have to take things a step further. It's time for a confession. Ever since moving to Jackson, I've seen women with mangled skin. Anyone who mountain bikes gets some nasty road rash (cuts and scrapes). I've always thought, secretly, to myself, gross. I never wanted my pretty legs to be cut and gnarly. I thought scars were ok for men, but these women should really be more careful. They were really detracting from their summer dress beauty and men weren't going to think they were attractive. Turns out, somewhere around fourteen, I started sacrificing fun in order to be what I thought was pretty. I've just learned what these women must know: Why be pretty when you can be having the time of your life? And really? What's better looking then someone having an incredible time? Nothing, you fools.

And now it's time for a story: I Fell Off My Bike and I Liked It.

I fell off my bike. Riding back from the river, a short trip, in nothing but a bathing suit, I turned off a paved path onto a gravel road too quickly and skidded over. A rookie mistake. Apparently, a lot of people know about this whole pavement to gravel thing. I didn't. Now, I do.

I was with Shaun and I really didn't want to cry in front of him. The second I hit the ground I prayed, please don't let him do that thing where he babies me and then I turn into a sniveling infant. Luckily, I needn't worry. Shaun is a man of little compassion and much joy. He's made this apparent to me on a number of occasions. This is the same man who after seeing me leave work miserable because I was going through a break up texted me, "hold on to the night. hold on to the memories." I looked up at him from the gravel and said, "I'm fine. Don't freak out." The second my eyes fully focused I realized his face was frozen in a look of awe and excitement.

He said, "That was amazing!" Laughter. More laughter. Big laughter. I nervously giggled as I stood and contemplated wiping the gravel off my leg. What was clinging and what was embedded?

"I totally saw that coming. I watched the whole thing! Don't you feel great?"

"I guess it doesn't hurt that bad."

"Isn't it exhilarating? Aren't you happy you can still do that?"

Blood dripped off my hands. Standing there, in my bathing suit, the pain started to emerge. At first there had been nothing. Now, though, as I stared at an open wound, not scrap, not cut, but gash, a true wound on my hand, it started to burn. It burned until it stung and then stung until it ached. I believe Shaun was now shouting, "You're a badass!" Suddenly, a mini-van is beside me. A bleeding girl in a red bikini with scraped knees stands next to a fallen bicycle and a minivan. That sentence could be used to describe everyone of my k-5th summers. There I was fifteen years later and nothing had changed. As I talked to the dad in the mini-van, I started to feel good. Don't worry about me, sir. I'm fine. Just fell off my bike. Not the first time it's happened and you know what? I hope it's not the last. Shaun's point was sinking in. I can get hurt and it can be worth it. The moments leading up to the crash were definitely worth a scraped knee. I had just floated down a river on my back for the first time ever. I had danced around on the beach. I had raced along laughing hysterically on a bike, something I haven't done in way too long and trust me, the laugh was an incredible one.

If you're pushing yourself to do things you haven't done or do something better then you've ever done it, you're going to fail. You're going to fall. Failing and falling both hurt, but they are things that happen on the way to awesomeness. So what if my pretty little knee is a little less pretty? It's a little less scared and that's worth it being a little more scarred.

Plus, I got five stitches in my hand. I've never had stitches before. I'm a badass.

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