Originally published on Medium.com
In first aid training for kids, you learn how to help someone if they are burned, choking, or need basic CPR. Most in-case-of-emergency tips, however, boil down to “Go get a grown up.”
Except when it comes to blisters. We were instructed to do nothing. The liquid inside of them helps them heal.
I took detailed notes on how to save someone if they’d taken too big a bite of steak, but I ignored how to care for blisters, the wounds we create through repetitive motion.
I didn’t understand what a blister was. I didn’t understand how innocent, long walks while wearing sandals could cause pain.
I thought I understood injuries.
They hurt. They needed to be disinfected, bandaged. They could heal as long as you took action.
The instructions to leave blisters alone made no sense. There must be some way to help myself, to speed up the process. The blister was ugly. I wanted it to disappear.
I would sterilize a safety pin. I would make a small hole and drain it. I would tend to the pain by prolonging it.
I would half-hope someone would notice. I would half-hope someone would take care of it for me. I convinced myself that this method of self-harm was self-care, that it would eventually work.
This is what happens when you don’t know which grown-up to go to.
Or when you don’t trust that they can help.
Or when you don’t believe that they want to.
Now I’m the grown-up. With new sandals. And new blisters.
I didn’t touch them, save for the bandage I applied.
And I took a shower one day. And the dead skin of the blister came off. And there was no pain. And the new skin was beautiful. And the new skin was soft. And the new skin was excited to feel the world for the first time.
Just because you’re doing nothing doesn’t mean nothing gets done.