Soft and pink, my hands were warm and moist from the dish-water.
I squished the soapy sponge into a mason jar with an imperceptible chip around its mouth as I turned my hand around, shoving the sponge into the corners. Emerging out of the now-clean jar my warm pink hand began to seep out of the small cuts from my knuckle. It was a slow seep. I finished the dishes and rinsed the hand clear of suds, put a salve on it and forgot about it unless something grazed it.
A few days later I noticed the slightly inflamed patch left a curious set of scabs: it looked like a little screaming face—two small slits for eyes, one for the nose, and a slightly larger one for a mouth. Maybe it wanted to sing some opera.
I have a bad history with scabs. Especially ones on my hands. I tend to pick away at them in their dry attempts at healing and they leave scars. I will always remember the swipe of a rag that caught the edge of the steeped-tea station when I worked at Tim Horton’s years ago. That tiny scar between my ring finger’s second and third knuckle will be a permanent reminder.
This one, however, I’ve been taking diligent steps to help heal. It’s not that the Tim Horton’s cut was very deep, it’s just that my poor circulation, combined with a fascination with these kinds of things and an unwillingness to let them heal created layers of scar tissue.
Since we understand our lives through symbol and metaphor I am, of course, looking at this symbolically. First of all there’s the very interesting notion of a face, looking at me throughout the day. In fact, there it is now, squinting its mournful song as I type. Though by now one of its tiny eyes is almost too faint to see—neither me it nor it through itself, if it ever was capable of sight. Does this mean that I’ve received another perspective in life? Another way to view situations is placed firmly on my hand: this less-than-one-centimetre long new way to face my day.
What am I learning from it? Well, I am experiencing a shift lately. Its the usual yogic thing about taking responsibility for my life. Yeah, I’ve felt this shift before, and, unfortunately, I don’t feel it so acutely when I begin to slide back in the other direction: blame, self-righteousness and complacency. This little face is my voiceless, screaming reminder that I can shift my perspective; I can carve a space out of my life for my life rather than wait for space to be presented to me. I’m learning.
Now, there is also the very tangible fact that I am caring for myself through these tiny, slightly angry looking gashes. I’m very obviously and conscientiously applying salve in order to keep it hydrated and free of infection. This kind of self-care often becomes neglected by me. Not only do I care for a small portion of my index finger’s knuckle with every wash and application, I also symbolically care for my entire being.
To that end, I’ve also re-dedicated myself to my four-year old commitment to drink enough water that has somehow been left by the wayside in the past few months. It’s going well. All of these little bits are adding up into creating a whole being. The ways in which I care for myself can exponentially increase with every small influx of self-love. The result? A healthy and happy me.
Plus, get this, I’ve stopped eating sugar. Yeah. It’s going well, too.