My friend and I have our own secret language. We have reduced complex, emotional experiences down to simple words or phrases. One that is most commonly used is “I touched the wound today.”

How often have you had a wound, whether a bug bite or cut or blister that you just can’t leave alone?

<Insert picture of me raising my hand here.>

Have you noticed that the more you touch it, mess with it, pick at it, the longer it takes to heal? But isn’t it so satisfying to get the nasty scab off your skin? Disgusting? Yes. For me, however, it fulfills some base animal instinct to mess with it. I work with animals all day long. So many times we have to send them out with the dreaded “cone of shame” to keep them from messing with healing wounds. Why?

So the wound will heal.

Cones are awkward, inconvenient, and frequently damage walls, or the legs of the owners as the pet, their peripheral vision messed up by the cone, barrels through the house. I always tell owners, “don’t give in to the temptation to remove the cone. Trust me, you’ll end up dealing with it much longer if you take it off your pet. Push through the challenge and stick with it until things have healed.”

Interesting advice. I should listen to myself sometimes.

My friend and I read an article a year or so ago that resonated with us so completely, it created this phrase in our secret language. In fact, it seems to form one of the core pillars of the foundation of that language.

I don’t have to know any of the circumstances when I get her text, “I touched the wound…” and she doesn’t have to ask me when she gets my text, “wound touching, party of one, your table is now ready.”

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just put a figurative “cone of shame” around our wound and force ourselves to leave it alone? To focus on living instead of the wound. To focus on anything else but the wound.

But that damn wound. It’s so hard to stop touching it. Oh we go for days without mentioning our respective “wounds,” but inevitably something happens, we get a random text from the source of the wound, or we hear something or see something on social media. Whatever the catalyst, the result is always the same.

We touch the wound.

The results are always the same: depression, sorrow, loneliness, anger, hurt, rehashing really old history–the list goes on. I have yet to solve the mystery of wound touching. It’s hard. It’s messy. It’s time consuming. It’s a journey, not a destination.

Do I foresee myself touching my particular wound in the future? Duh. (Have you read my blog?). But when I look back, I realize something. I am touching it much less these days. I still, however, could use that cone of shame sometimes.

Now, don’t expect to see me driving down the road wearing a giant plastic upside down lamp shade around my neck.

If you do, please call the appropriate authorities and get me off the road.

It’s time for my wounds to heal.

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