Badges of honor

I have a blister on my finger from writing today.  Not writing, writing… I’ve been addressing envelopes for dad.  But this kind of proves how little writing I’ve been doing lately, at least by hand.  Because I’ve had a callous on that finger for as long as I can remember.

I feel a little displaced by this.  True, a good part of it is that I’m not in school anymore, scribbling down notes, or doing in-class essays (which I kind of miss, oddly?  The essays, not the notes).  And it’s also that I have a computer open to me more than before.  But, I don’t know… that callous was such a part of me.  I hold my pen tight, too, so generally in my past there’s been a flat angle on the top of my thumb that doesn’t make sense until you see me writing.  And that’s gone too.  I didn’t notice either of those things until tonight, and I don’t know what to make of them.  I sort of want them back, as if it’s going to happen overnight, this sometimes-ugly callous and oddly flat plane on my thumb.  It’s like looking down and realizing you’ve lost your wedding ring or something.  Something that defines you.

This is probably a very strange entry, and my apologies, but it’s difficult for me to explain just how odd this feeling is.  Like something’s gone that I didn’t notice until now.  I’m not talking about my will to write, or even my desire to write.  It’s nothing that drastic, if it were, I would have noticed.  It’s that feeling of having so many words in my head that I can’t get them down fast enough.  Cramping my hand up over nearly-illegible lines that I probably won’t ever read again.

A big part of it is the academics, because I’ll find whole notebooks full of stuff I only half-remember writing.  But still, it feels odd.  It’s surprising to me that I hadn’t noticed its absence before, and of course it’s all I can think about now, so I keep looking back and expecting it to be there somehow.  Strangely enough, that callous was a bit like a badge of honor, as if it were proof that I was a writer, just like the ink stains proved it for Jo March.  Like scarred-up feet for dancers, or stretch marks for mothers.  Battlescars, even.  Some physical mark to say, I’ve done that, I’ve lived it.  I’ve got to re-earn my badge now.  And in a way, that’s kind of good.  It’s time.

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