You are being called to heal yourself, not to agonize over your mistakes. Quit overthinking; this is what surrendering really means. Don’t focus on your problems and don’t obsess about “fixing” things. Avoid forcing “positive thinking.” These thoughts can be psychological irritants. Just leave yourself alone! When you pick at things they never heal. Simply relax and give yourself more time. – Bryant McGill
Scabs are curious things.
In the middle of running around you fall to the ground and scrape your knee. The resulting injury is red, angry, bleeding, and seemingly immense. And it hurts. So you go to your mom, crying, or if you were old enough you tended to yourself, not exactly crying but still sniffling. You washed the wound, put disinfectant, and as a final touch, covered it up with cute Band-Aids. Or, if you were like me, you simply left it alone to dry out in the air so you could impress yourself and your friends with your battle scars.
At first, the wound is painful and raw, but after a while, the blood dries up and the wound is covered up by a hard, dark brown shell. I knew, intellectually, that scabs are meant to be left alone, but I could never resist poking and picking at it, especially when the skin around it started to itch. I’d wonder my broken flesh was knitting itself back together underneath that scab the way I’d seen in an animated PSA in Health class, and would pick at the scab to see if I could get a closer look at the process.
When I grew older, scabs ceased to be badges of honor and became unsightly dark scales on my knees that prompted my older relatives to shake their heads at how I was covering my legs in scars. As everybody knows, women must aspire to look attractive to men, and flawless legs are requisite. Instead of fascination and respect for what my body can do, scabs sparked a sense of shame and embarrassment. They were evidence of my carelessness, clumsiness and general failure as a woman.
So I stopped doing anything that could lead to me getting scabs on my legs. Instead, as I hit my teens, I grew scabs on my fingers, after I developed a habit of chewing on my fingers and gnawing at the tiny flaps of skin on my cuticles, leading to small, stinging wounds all around my fingertips. (I know. Ew, gross.) I never managed to break that habit, and up until this moment, I still have about three or four scabs on each set of fingers—more when I’m stressed or nervous or guilty, or feeling in any way disappointed with myself.
Now, scabs are symbols of my neuroses and inadequacies. Most of the time, I hardly notice them, but every now and then I’d take a good look at my hands, and berate myself for failing yet again to achieve smooth, pretty, hand lotion-model-worthy hands.
Like every human being on the planet, I have scabs on the inside, too. Scabs and scar tissue and some still open, still seeping wounds. Self-help junkie that I am, a lot of times I find myself feverishly reading books and articles and taking down notes, only to castigate myself later for not doing a single thing those books and articles told me to. Or I’d try to pick myself apart, imagining a Freud-esque figure peering at me disapprovingly from his analyst’s chair. Or worse, there’d be a drill sergeant in my head, yelling at me to get my lazy, irresponsible, undisciplined butt off the floor and actually do something worthwhile.
That would be me in a myriad forms, picking at my inner scabs and reopening wounds in the process. When all the while, deep inside me, I’m already on the way to being healed. And even deeper still, I’m already healed.
So just for today, I’m going to take a deep breath, say a little prayer of thanks for the healing spirit moving within me, and just get on with the business of enjoying my life.