Wednesday, February 12, 2014

shine on: my week with a black eye

I am one of those people who has never done anything exertive or interesting enough to warrant a cool injury. No broken bones, all teeth intact, not a single wake boarding concussion, in fact I don't think I ever even came off my bike as a kid.

At training last weekend, I attempted to catch one of those slam balls with my face. Heavy like a medicine ball, but with a rubber casing rather than canvas. As soon as my trainer said the words netball hold I should have known. Hand-eye co-ordination and I never developed a meaningful relationship. I held up my hands to catch the ball, felt the smart sting on my cheekbone, laughed at myself and continued on my merry way.

Arriving through the door after training, I saw that my eye was quite puffy and already starting to blacken underneath. I sent picture messages to my husband and my trainer, laughing at my own complete lack of co-ordination. Secretly chuffed with my cool workout injury.

Things got less cool throughout the week. I am too lazy for makeup most days. The first time someone jokingly asked me Hubby been smacking you around? I laughed and thought, what an odd thing to say, I don't think I've ever heard Hubby even raise his voice. By the third or fourth hilarious joke about domestic violence, a sick feeling settled in my gut, and it has stayed there, even as the bruise turned purple, and now yellowish. The solemn occasion of a funeral, along with my clumsy attempts to cover the bruise with concealer, didn't stop more of these comments. My darling, gentle Hubby was uncomfortable standing with me, hearing the jesting.

Relatives, friends, my kids' teachers and strangers have kindly asked what happened. People who know me well have asked, what have you done to yourself? Interestingly, people I work with avoided eye contact. I sat in the doctor's office, frustratingly chatting for ages about my kids, one of them was having high temps. Just a virus, but we were in there a lot longer than our regular three minutes. Glancing in the mirror in the parents' room afterwards, I remembered the black eye. Arriving home, I found my wedding rings I had removed to mix and roll meatballs.

It has been an interesting week, and a powerful lesson in human reactions to others' pain. Kindness and compassion are always welcome. Jokes about domestic violence are not.

If you are living in a violent or abusive situation, please talk to a trusted friend and get in touch with one of our excellent support services.


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