Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mark de Mann

"Who hit you?" "What is that?" "What happened to your head?" These are the questions of the most forward, innocent, unabashed or drunk. Many silently avert their gaze. Some steal a second look. None who look upon me are unaffected. Even those who insist they are unaffected, are compelled to the act of insistence, often in steadfast silence.

Such is the strawberry flavor of life. The birthmark is the shield against the shallowly beautiful, the cruelly judgmental, and hopelessly narcissistic who could never accept me among them. It is the wide eyed innocent stares of the young. It is the automatic acceptance among freaks and frankens. Physical form marks all social contact, and for me never so literally, immediately, prominently, repeatably and irrevocably.

When I was young and in rage, I began laser treatments for the long painful process of having my birthmark removed, convinced that it was the source of my intolerable youthful ill-at-ease. Each session would leave a gigantic purple bruise for weeks on my forehead. There would be many a session, many weeks with the bruise, many long trips to the exulted doctor in the concrete and steel high-rise in the distant city, and all paid by a well-meaning relative. Small price, I thought, for a lifetime of relief from carrying such a burden.

After two sessions a good friend brought me to my senses, "I don't know why you're doing that, I always thought it looked cool." No one had ever said that to me. Yeah, these are the people I want to hang with, the ones who can accept exactly how I appear, who can look upon the fingerprint of God and appreciate the handiwork. Now wherever I go, whomever I meet, with no impulse on my part, I clear space. I raise the tenor. I force the issue. I induce the decision. For I wear my heart on my forehead.