Your first word was “uh-oh.” You never looked back.
You had a run-in with some tree roots or your own untied shoelaces—the culprit will never reveal itself—while playing tag in elementary school. Rocks dragged themselves up your nose and your face was dirty and bloody. You still have a scar. To this day, you can’t feel snot running down your right nostril until it’s too late.
You sold a bunch of toys at your family’s garage sale. Enough to buy a Swiss Army knife. You whittled sticks in the woods with your best friend who owned the same knife in a different color. You brought it to Girl Scout camp and used it to carve soap in knife safety class. Soap is slippery. You lost your grip and it slid down the bar and over your wrist. Your mother had a premonition. She knew she was right when she picked you up from camp and saw the white bandage. You milked it for all it was worth.
The wind was knocked out of you on the stairs just going down for breakfast.
Your shins smacked against the open dishwasher in middle school, bruising them so badly you had to confess the incident to your track coach.
Your parents never let you touch a kitchen knife until you were out of the house for good. Once you were out of the house for good, your fingers met plenty of blades, bleeding for hours at a time. Your appendages love to bleed more than the rest of you, but the rest of you likes to bleed, too. One time you sliced through the nail on your right pointer finger (like an accusation), close to chopping off your fingertip.
Running into walls and doorways and tree branches happens frequently enough that it’s not really worth getting into right now.
You’ve dodged a tornado on the highway, you’ve been grazed by a lightning bolt, an ex-Marine locked you in an industrial freezer, and you were threatened by a boss with a personality disorder, but the greatest danger to yourself will always be yourself.
And then there was Germantown. A tiny neighborhood of Nashville with notable architecture and trendy restaurants. You were meeting a friend after work. She was trying on wedding dresses at a fancy boutique. She’d invited her bridesmaids and a few other close friends. You parked. You were on the sidewalk gazing at the glorious facades across the street when you heard a metallic bang.
A clang maybe.
You heard it, but you didn’t feel it. Your head was still turned in the other direction. So, you whipped around to see what was what.
You’d run into a stop sign. As a pedestrian. The sign bolt went straight into your lower leg. It was already bleeding. People were approaching. Did they see what just happened?
You limped along to the boutique while blood made a path down your leg. Everyone was already inside. They were drinking champagne. You steered clear of all the expensive white dresses as best you could and pretended like everything was normal. Let’s focus on the bride, please.
You used to wrestle with your nature. Now you like it. Now you know. It keeps you close to the ground.