I have a deep purple bruise

In the last week, I apologize profusely when I instinctively pulled my sleeve back and my deep purple bruise on my right forearm displayed proudly. Not quite looking like a birthmark, I didn’t want people to feel repelled by it. Then upon noticed by another party, I pull the sleeve down and tell myself not to pull it up.

But then again. Why am I protecting myself from being seen by others? Why not show it as a proud marker of cycling? After all, I did exactly what almost all cyclists do in San Francisco. What do I have to hide?

When I was 15, I had a bad habit of scratching my bug bites. As a result, being allergic as I was, the bites would get gruesomely swollen. Yet, I never felt shameful enough that I would stop wearing shorts. So at school, I walked around with the large red welts without any self-consciousness. Some people did remark and I obliviously described it—yeah, so I got bitten…and I like scratching!

Whether that repelled people or not (most likely?), I am not sure. But is it that now I have become so self-conscious, so sensitive to my surrounding that I would try to cover a vital part of who I am? Granted, it was only an injury, but is it a metaphor?

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