Branded by my Bag

Earlier this semester, not too long ago, I got in a car accident.  While the severity of this car accident was minor in the sense that I was able to walk away with only minor injuries I still walked away with one thing that will always remind me of this accident.  Due to the impact and the specific way I was grasping the steering wheel when the airbag deployed I inherited this burn mark of the Volkswagen symbol which now is a burn of the Volkswagen symbol on my arm. While at first this was so painful I thought it was probably one of the weirdest but coolest things that could possibly come from such a horrific experience.  The car not only branded me but it became one with me.  I see this as my connection with not only my body and the environment but also with my body and technology.  In Alaimo’s work entitled “Material Memoirs” Audre Lorde’s cancer scars are described as her “honorable reminder that I may be a casualty in the cosmic war against radiation, animal fat, air pollution, McDonald’s hamburgers and Red Dye No. 2, but the fight is still going on”.  While her scars resulted from saving her life and she can look at them and be reminded of the fight I look at mine and am reminded of the terrible act of the accident I experienced.  My material memoir is this scar, and when I look at it I do think of this upsetting accident but remember the car that saved my life and the airbag that protected me.  I am brought to also think of the substance of self as Alaimo also mentions.  My substance of self has been changed after this accident, meaning it occurred without my control and has left it’s mark on me forever.  My material memoir of this symbol offers up a personal story that only I experienced and while I may wish it did not exist I cannot get rid of it and it tells a story about me.  I also reflect upon the material memoir aspect of being reminded of how this occurred.  Bennet mentions in her work that certain things can occur by being in the right place at the right time, that this makes things happen.  My car accident was based off of the time and place and exact moment that I drove through the intersection and the other driver didn’t stop.  Nonorganic occurrences such as my car accident are all base off time and place.  It makes me think that if I had been grabbing the steering wheel a different way or going a little bit slower that I may be here typing about a different weird event, without this scar on my left forearm.  However, because of the power of things I am branded forever with my own material memoir from this accident.



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