It has been said that every human being has a masculine and feminine side.  Carl Jung believed that when you dream about men and women, you are not necessarily dreaming about those actual people but about your own male and female self.  This random piece of theory, which I’m sure I mangled in its description, often has me wondering which parts of me are male.  I suspect there are many but here’s one that might make Dr. Jung roll over in his grave:

I love a good bruise.

Okay, so not in a “hurt me, hurt me” way.  And I certainly don’t like bruises on my kids.  But a well placed technicolor shiner which resulted from some misstep of mine often makes me rather proud.   I think that revelation qualifies as “male” as I know few females who delight in the site of a  purply, green-turning-yellow, Rorschach blotch on their bodies. 

Usually bruises look exponentially worse than they feel, which gives you street cred without the pain.  A bruise tells a story of survival and guts.  It shouts “I don’t just cruise along daintily through life!  I’m a fighter.  A warrior, even!”   It’s a symbol of hardiness and a testimony that I can take it, whatever, “it” might be.

I have sported many bruises in my lifetime, mostly in my gymnastics days when a missed foot on the balance beam was good for an impressive brush burn bruise the size of a generous piece of pizza.  But since then, my bruises have been far and few between. 

But I got a good one last week.  Wanna see?  No?  Well, here it is anyway:

 bruise1full bruise closeup 

While training for the tri’s this summer, I joined the ranks of bikers who “clip in”.  For the non-riders, that means that the bottoms of my bike shoes attach to the pedals so that they don’t come off when pedaling, unless you do this little ankle twist to release them.  When speaking of these new shoes to my training partners, all of them (who had clipped in some time ago) had a story about how they fell on their bike because they couldn’t clip out fast enough.  I was nervous about this hazard, but after completing the SheRox without a problem I figured I had escaped this rite of passage.

Not so much.

Last week, Liz and I were doing a swim-bike-run brick which had us stopping and  turning the bikes around at a busy intersection.  I must have been distracted because I failed to clip out in time.  And down I went. 

Into a mud puddle. 

Stuck like a turtle. 

During rush hour. 

In front of at least six cars, all which contained very nice drivers who inquired about my welfare out their windows as they moved slowly past me, flailing around with a bicycle attached to my legs.

I was grateful for the mud. (Another masculine trait:  I like to get dirty)  I was grateful for Liz who cheered when I fell. (Feminine trait:  I value relationships).  And I was grateful for the bruise which showed up a few days later as a testament to my bravery, a nice balance for the humiliation of not being able to ride a bike.

The bruised ego has since healed.  I hope the leg bruise lasts a few more days. 

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