True Confessions of a Teenage Clutz

I’ve been clumsy my whole life. My tally of major injuries is: 12+ concussions (I stopped counting), one broken arm, one bad knee, three serious burns, nerve damage in my foot and a currently injured ankle. I’m always the clumsiest person in the room, without fail. Anytime I get hurt, all I can think is, “Oh, this again.” Even my friends and teachers have become accustomed to it, asking me how is it that I manage to get hurt every time I go out. To be honest, I don’t know.

It’s not that I mean to get hurt. I just move my body wrong. Ever since concussion No. 3, I haven’t had good spacial awareness and depth perception, which has caused me to get injured a lot more. Just this year, I have had three concussions, been on crutches twice, gotten stung in the ocean twice and had multiple nasty cuts on my feet. One of the cuts ripped off all of the skin on my left pinky toe and it happened when I was walking and didn’t notice an enormous concrete block. My toe didn’t stop bleeding for two days.

The first time I was on crutches, I dropped my curling iron and, when I was jumping down to grab it, landed right on the curling iron and severely burned the bottom of my foot. One concussion was just from getting in a friend’s car - I think that’s the third car-related concussion I’ve had - and another was from slipping in the bathroom. I was just on crutches again after taking a nasty fall off of the curb while running in heels, either spraining or fracturing my foot. The day after was my close friend’s birthday brunch, and I hopped around using my friends as crutches. My mom always told me that I would get less clumsy with age, but it seems like I’ve gotten worse given everything that’s happened.

It was in high school when I got all but one of my concussions. They were from all sorts of things, such as getting in the car, running blindly into a pole, getting hit in the head by a water bottle and hitting my head on the concrete ground while playing a game. I worked at an ice cream parlor and had a summer-long concussion from the number of times I hit my head when I was scooping ice cream. I didn’t really try too hard to stay safe; I was pretty reckless. Now, after seeing some of the effects of concussions, I try to be more mindful, but I still fail sometimes. I used to just think it was funny that I got a lot of concussions; now I have trouble remembering things and I can see that it isn’t funny at all.

My freshman year of high school, I tripped on my backpack and landed awkwardly on my knee. It hurt, but I didn’t think much of it. Now, that same knee cramps up or collapses if I spend too much time on my feet. Most of the time, I don’t notice it, but sometimes it will creep up on me. I didn’t do all of the knee strengthening exercises my doctor gave me at the time because I thought I didn’t have to. Now, it’s too late to go back and fix that.

I was on crutches my senior year because I dropped a hammer on my foot and didn’t realize it. I had been barefoot in the snow and couldn’t feel anything and accidentally knocked one of my dad’s hammers off the counter and onto my foot. I barely felt anything. The next day, my foot was swollen and completely bruised. If I pointed my foot, you could see my bone awkwardly sticking up, but I could move it just fine and insisted on not seeing a doctor. After I went off crutches since it wasn’t swollen anymore, it would spasm and cause me severe pain. The hammer hit some nerves in my foot and now it spasms due to the damage my nerves sustained.

A lot of my injuries are complete accidents, a result of my clumsiness and carelessness. Now, I’m much more aware with my head because I can’t afford any more concussions. At this point, injuries are fairly routine and are just a result of constant bad luck. This sounds weird, but I don’t really mind getting injured anymore. I mean, I don’t enjoy it, but it’s a fact of my life. I do what I can to avoid it, but most times, it’s not something I can consciously think about to avoid, so I just have to roll with the punches. After all, when life gets you down, all you have to do is get back up.