me, March 2006
Originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

I think the prettiest part of me is my neck and shoulders. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but it might be that 19th-century girl inside of me that is attracted to the romantic cameo-style cutouts of that era.

It's funny, though, that I had forgotten I had dark brown scars across the back of my shoulders. Because I never see them [they aren't showing in this particular pic, but are in some of the others that john took]. It was deja-vu-ish to look at them in a picture after so many years of forgetting. The scars are from a particularly nightmarish bout with morphine--a drug I was given to ease the pain after my amputation. For some reason one day I "wigged out" and started clawing at my own shoulders, leaving deep welts where my fingernails cut the skin. The cuts never healed well because I was on chemo at the time and all the new cells in my body--even those that were 'good' cells--were killed. Thus, the scars are still there.

My body tells so many stories--mostly sad ones, I think. Almost every part of me bears a scar from some kind of medical procedure. But, despite that I do love my body. It's soft and warm. It's very strong. When I am stressed out, the smell of my own skin calms me.

So John took this pic yesterday. I always feel I can trust him and the camera. He makes me look like I feel.

I tweaked this picture (and a few others)in photoshop--mostly just softening the background. I want to learn how to manipulate images better--to add artistic effects and fix errors. It's not an intuitive process for me. I get so frustrated when I can't figure out the 'layers' or the tools don't work the way I want them to.

But John is a patient teacher. :)


Anonymous said...

You do look really lovely here.

Gray said...

How extraordinary. This is a wonderful photo. Besides the facts that you are indeed lovely and that I couldn't help experiencing a fleeting jealousy of John, it really does convey the feeling of an old cameo or a silhouette. I seem to remember a silhouette of one of the Bronte sisters with the same feeling, but without of course the modeling of light on your face.

I enjoyed the way your wrote about the stories told by scars. The stories themselves may be sad, but the sadness does not seem to attach to who you are now. Rather, they sound like badges of strength and icons of how you came to be who you are. Perhaps scars are an abstract map representing physical history, but also the thoroughfares, country lanes, cul de sacs, and meanders of life. I am reminded how the carvings in Maori meeting houses seem to represent much more than mere chronological history.

We readers of course see you and your family illuminated only by the carefully selected visual and written vignettes offered to us on your blog. Yet I suspect that the physical and metaphorical scars of outrageous misfortune would not affect our impressions of you.

Enjoy your week.