I am 10 trillion cells.
16% of my body weight is skin.
This means that I change. I change a million-cells worth every day. Every hour, I regenerate like Doctor Who. Though I may look similar, my face today is not the same face you saw yesterday. It is newer even as I grow older. And the same is true for you. We age like a paradox and are the only creatures to fuss about it.
And because I am changing so frequently, every portrait of me is a lie. Even something as recent as a graduation photo is not representative of present-day me. That face is old and gone, even while the features of it are young and gone. This is the grinning madness of truth. We are older when we are younger. We are younger than we were yesterday. Newer cells for older selves.
But those skin cells have to go somewhere. Where can I put my old face? Casual litterbug that I am, my skin cells shed wherever they please. The dust on my books? Mostly me. Window sill grim? Mostly me. In the course of a year, I’ll leave 8 lbs. of myself just lying around the house. Or in the car. Or at the public library.
That is the wonder of all this is: I leave myself everywhere. If I’m shedding skin cells by the hour, then wherever I go I leave bits of myself. My body dispenses souvenirs. There are pieces of me in the deserts outside Tijuana. I still linger in the forests of Vermont. Most wonderfully, there are parts of me hanging around somewhere in Busch Stadium (where I truly belong).
Every portrait of me is a lie, but I everywhere I go, I leave faceless portraits. While I can’t be everywhere at once, parts of me can be parts of everywhere at once. And that’s a start.
What about you? Where have you left yourself? Any place nice?