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the patient patient.



After a triumphant first post, I was overwhelmed yesterday with the strongest desire to pick.

There's a spot on my arm that isn't healing so fast. When I run my finger over it I swear I can feel the tiniest of lumps inside and I am desperate to get it out. Just the idea of extricating it sets the rest of my skin tingling, soon crawling with the idea that there are bumps and lumps everywhere I must scratch away.

Luckily (although infuriating in the moment) my nails are so short they can do no good, only reddening the area before I get enough control to pull my hand away. But yesterday I broke my pact in the most pathetic of ways: in the absence of nails I reached for the closest tool I could find, and was soon poking savagely at the swollen spot with a paper clip.

A moment of horror flashed when I saw the first pull of blood and I threw the paper clip across the room. and sat on my hands. I sat still, berated myself for awhile and then regrouped. A successful recovery doesn't happen without the occasional set back. I was getting too confident with progress and letting anxiety sneak in.

Getting angry with myself serves no purpose. The whole point of this is to learn to love myself more. I must understand that my mind is not always working to my benefit. The only way I can achieve my goal (and the gorgeously clean skin I think I deserve) is to fight for it. Even if I'm fighting against my thoughts.

So. I took a hot hot shower and slathered lotions all over. I put band-aids on any spot I could find that seemed likely to tempt me.

I made it the rest of the day (in the company of other people, which always discourages me from creating an awkward situation of my arms stretching back behind me, or facing a seemingly inexplicable circle of blood on my arm).

But there again I was a night, sitting in bed, feeling the skin on my shoulder- which has dramatically improved just to the touch from the oils- tracing the skin like an alcoholic swirling a glass of whiskey. I carried on until my fingers met a band-aid, and they withdrew. Jogging my memory and reserve I shoved my hands under the covers and finally fell asleep.

Surveying the territory this morning I still see some clusters of newer red pimples, though they are dramatically more mellow than the kind of breakouts I've been used to. A weaker me would have scraped away every last one and started the day with splotches of blood and inflamed skin. I have been starting my days like that for so many years. Instead I slathered it with some extra BP, got dressed and went on my way.

This stretch is the hardest part. This is the 10 pounds lost point where you celebrate with ice cream. It's the seven year itch. It's all or nothing from here on out.

I trust my resolve. But I've hidden all the paper-clips, just in case.


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