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"Remember you are not second class. The ones who treat you like you are, they are the ones who are second class."
These are words my father said to me one night after venting to my parents about an unpleasant encounter I had with a client of mine (I am self-employed as a dog sitter).
This was not my first negative encounter with this client. It was bringing back memories of when I was being bullied in school and discriminated against because I have learning disabilities.
It brought back a habit of skin picking that I thought I had under control.
I began picking my nails when I was in junior high as a way to deal with the bullying I was enduring.
Over the years I have tried numerous times to quit. I went as long as a little over a year without picking but then some event would bring back the negative memories, and I would begin again.
About a month ago, I began noticing an ache in my right wrist and arm. Pretty minor. I thought maybe I laid on it wrong. Maybe I twisted it while working or while taking care of my own dog.
As it turns out, it is due to my skin picking habit. A habit that I have had for over 30 years.
I admit I am a little ticked at myself for having caused this. Not in a way that makes me want to continue with the self harm but in a way to continue putting the effort needed to stop for good.
As annoying as it can be...in a way, I am grateful for the aches.
It is a reminder to me to appreciate myself just as I am.
As I have learned, not everyone has accepted nor approved of me and that is just fine.
I'll be 45 soon and I don't want to spend the second half of my life living a life that is no longer represents who I am.