Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: skin

So many of the ways we use the word "skin" have to do with protection or tightness, which can be the same thing. We use skin to protect ourselves from each other. There’s an illusion that it’s not porous, that it can keep us separate, that it can hold in or out, that it can hide anything at all.

When we skin our knees, our protection is scraped away and we can see inside. When something makes our skin crawl, the edges of who we are literally creep away from something repugnant. When someone gets under our skin, they have invaded our country, pushed past our boundaries, breached the front guard and made their way inside our protective barriers where they can annoy, distract, bother.

A skin head has hard lines of belief that don’t welcome investigation. When a wound is skinned over, it is covered, but not healed. And to skinch is to squeeze or pinch to effect a savings.

And yet, in golden moments, when we chance vulnerability, we invite a touch and risk the hazards of allowing our protective boundaries to be approached. An invader becomes a guest, granted leave to explore our limits, to trace the lines we’ve drawn. The strength of no defense.

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