Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wincing from the knife

About three weeks ago, I cut my thumb open badly. I was slicing a hard cheese - Drunken Goat, actually, which is excellent - and doing it a lazy way, and the knife didn't stop cutting until it hit bone. My bone.

I had this weird reaction that split almost evenly between "oh, this isn't good and please God don't let me pass out" and "whoa, the inside of my finger is cool, and I need to remember what this feels like." Writeritis in its end stages, I suppose.

(No, I didn't go to the hospital. Yes, I would have if I hadn't gotten the bleeding under control.)

That's not actually the point. The point is, I was making dinner tonight. Soup. It involved lots of chopping - fennel, onion, garlic, kale. And because I spent the holidays away from home, this was the first time since that accident that I've held that knife.

I flinched, when I held it.

I was being more thoughtful this time, less careless, but my hand remembered the pain, and tried to avoid it. The problem with that is, it made me clumsy. More likely to get hurt again. I was thinking too much instead of trusting myself.

It's hard, once you've been hurt, to go back to the way you were before. To be fearless, to feel immortal. You remember the knife, even if you don't want to. Even if you're mostly healed, just the scar showing. You remember that you bled, and that you can again. That it happens in an instant.

That you have to learn again how to trust yourself.


  1. Too true, and so difficult to do sometimes. I feel that way driving in snow/ice after I had a car crash a few years ago. Trusting yourself is hard enough without the threat of mortal peril!

    (BTW, so sorry I never replied to your last email! It was a crazy time, what with moving around and settling in and such. *hug*)

    I wish you a brilliant new year, dear Kat.

  2. There are a few knives I'm not trusting myself enough to use. It's harder when you know you can hurt other people with them too.

    As you said, it's something to learn. Again.

    Thanks for that.

  3. "I need to remember what this feels like" is something I've tended to adopt as a coping strategy. It's harder to channel something onto the page if you haven't experienced it!

  4. Scars certainly remind us we aren't immortal, but they also tell us we're survivors. The body memory never truly goes away, and perhaps that's a good thing, but we learn to live, and live well, with them.

  5. Hmmm - comments involving muscles, metaphorical or otherwise, seem to be a bit of a theme for me at the moment ... must investigate and think thunks. :D

  6. A kitchen accident and metaphor! I hope the meal was as good as your writing.