The skin is tight around the wound. Blood has tried to clot the area to form a scab. I can feel the tension at every moment while seated. When I walk on the foot there is a small stabbing pain. It is as if I am stepping on the edge of a butter knife with each stride. My mind tunes the ache down to a mild inconvenience and focuses on the worries about my day.
Yet, I cannot ignore the pain of the wound and I reflect, again and again, on the cause. It was a failure. A better person would not have caused the harm. This pain was self-inflicted. It was loss of self control because I am weak. I let anxiety get the better of me. I gave in to the strange satisfaction of fidgeting. I picked at the dry skin on the sole of my foot until it was gone. Then, I kept going. It is gross. I am gross. I disappointed you by revealing this disgusting act.
I blame nervous energy and anxiety, but the wound is deeper. The disappointing, weak, gross person is my self-image. The narrative within my mind for over 40 years is that I am not enough. I have been a terrible friend to those around me. I have consistently disappointed my family and failed every employer I have ever had. This is the keystone of my personal architecture. Whether I am baking a cake or writing a blog post, I will never do the task good enough.
The stabbing pain in my foot is a physical reminder of my inadequacies. The bleeding is deliberate. As I work to create new neural pathways and change my narrative, subconsciously I have sabotaged the process. With each step of my foot I find the dull pain that I seek. My keystone, my default, is pain. Without it, I feel lost and afraid. Satisfactory and successful are not me. It feels wrong, as if I were to put my shoes on the opposite feet.
The dried blood from my foot on the carpet is like the stain of failure on my mind. Here in this moment, I have realized my nervous habit of removing dried skin is far more sinister. Rather than using this information to update my healing process, I give into it. All the work up until now was for naught. Working towards a new narrative being enough for me has been subverted. I have been doing physical harm to my body through stress eating, nail biting, and the removal of dry skin.
Like the skin around my self-inflicted wound, I tighten up. I am frustrated. I am sad. I am ashamed that I am here feeling this way. Now, I have physical and mental pain. It feels familiar. I take a deep breath. I breathe in and out a few more times. The urge to find that rough edge on my pinky finger nail comes to mind. Instead of listening I take another breath. Success. It is a small victory, and the combination of those negative little things are used to beat myself up every day. So, it must work with positive as well, right? From heel to heal, one day at a time.