Sometimes I wonder if experiencing trauma for extended periods, usually at the hands of those responsible for your care from a young age, has this gradual and invisible branding process. If your jugular, the back of your skull, your confidence, whatever, is the most often exposed, that becomes your branding site, like the way routine traffic through your house tends to wear paths on some of the flooring. It is easier to tell which paths get used the most, walked over the most, stepped on the most and it becomes so commonplace, nobody really thinks of it as anything beyond the way it was made to be.
I wonder if we’re all flooring and some of us by happenstance got placed where the most traffic occurs so the environments we are in change us naturally. It seems, no matter how many thousands of miles I might be from the homes where I was first laid as flooring, people look at me and, as if making practical decisions about which tiles to lay where, note the signs of wear on me and pragmatically put me in places where I will endure more wear as opposed to sacrificing the quality of the more intact flooring. It’s that or I’m branded. It has to be. At least I feel like it has to be because the only other explanation is that I am by some nature meant to feel like this, that I bring it on–and I don’t know if I could settle into the idea of living the rest of my life, however long that might be, under that reality.
My brand is on my throat, right below the jaw on the right side of my face, where if I tilt it just right and lightly touch it with my fingertips, I can feel the frothy spit lazily ooze from the corner of my eye down down my cheek until it pools in that festering, infected spot. That’s my brand, my symbol that tells people, mostly men, who are injured who are angry, that I have been walked on before, that I was made to be walked on and somebody determined it so decidedly he burned it into my skin. And even if most people can’t see it, any man within a thousand miles who has aggression he wants to act on without fear of consequence can see it, like a dusty bat signal outside of a strip club. But instead of being objectified in the name of carnal pleasures a target is painted on me for fulfilling animal aggressions in white collar ways. Regardless, it all comes down to power and I feel as if I will always be branded for hunting.