Some things have a magical tendency to become ‘normal’ to us very quickly – even if, in actuality, they’re not. We have a tendency to very quickly adopt things as routines and standards just for the simple fact that they exist in our lives. No questions asked. Easy as that. I’m very much like that, myself.
These past three years I walked around with a black line on the palm of my right hand. Always visible, slightly weird and a constant thorn in my side. Literally. A splinter had embedded itself there on the mouse of my hand (you know, the fleshy part under the thumb) after me vigorously trying to sand something or other at my then-softball-club. It broke off when we tried to get it out and dove so deep under the surface that getting to it became impossible. Believe me I tried.
Soaking it in soda-salted water, digging into it with tweezers, massages – I tried a boatload of things to get to that splinter out at first. It was painful the first two weeks, even slightly infected. It hurt every time I pressed into it. It was a constant pain in the….hand. And then all of a sudden, it healed (like most pains do, I’m lead to believe. Even heartbreak). And I accepted it being there for the simple fact that it was. It had no place being in my hand. No right to actually be there. It had hurt me in the past and it had absolutely no additional value to my life. But I left it there anyway.
And these past three years I’d occasionally get annoyed at it. Sometimes I’d hurt it when catching a ball on exactly that spot. Or had to sit through someone asking me why there was a line on my hand, suggesting I wash them more often. Sometimes I got insecure when extending my hand for a handshake (although, with all the current corona-drama, that wasn’t really an issue anymore.). But still, I accepted that splinter being there because I’d gotten used to it being there. Its annoying qualities were obvious but acceptable out of habit. And the thought of trying to get it out didn’t even really cross my mind anymore. It was just there.
Until this weekend and a good old soak in the tub. A mosquito bite that I’d thoroughly killed (like, I scratch open pretty much every single one of ‘em that I can reach) apparently’d opened a portal to the splinter of doom, and the soapy hot waters had coaxed it out without me even noticing. But when I was making breakfast yesterday morning – my hand looked good as new. Like. Entirely new. Unblemished. Splinter-less. And foreign to me.
It’s so weird when something you’ve taken for normal suddenly changes. And the now very blank skin of my hand keeps surprising me now. I stare at it every now and then, still expecting to see that splinter. It’s not that I miss it being there, not at all, but I’m just so used to the line of it sitting there.
My brain (this is how it works) of course then immediately draws parallels to the deeper levels of my life – where I know I have a lot of festering splinters that I’ve kept there for way longer than I probably should. Splinters that I’ve accepted in myself because taking them out always seemed too damn painful and after a while even useless.
If they’re just there but don’t really hurt me, and it takes more effort to have them removed than just leave them – how bad could it be right? I mean, the one in my hand was pretty harmless for three years, right? The occasional autsch when I hit the spot just right, but no issue for the rest of the time.
But now that I stare excitedly at the empty spot on my palm I wonder at how my soul might look with all those splinters. Wonder how much more beautiful it might be without them. Wonder how much little pains I’ve been accepting every time they get poked, in fear of the bigger pains of taking them out. Wonder how much I’ve left to embed itself in me, without even attempting to make it better. And ponder if I could soak them out like that splinter on my hand so I can be in awe at my shiny newness. Do you think they make soulsplintertweezers?