Dear Paper-Cut

I hate you, but you taught me a lot

Sometimes I think I’m a badass bitch, and then I get a paper-cut. I’m quickly reminded otherwise.

But really — how frustrating are these monsters. They show up uninvited and refuse to bugger off for days — weeks! — ruining my daily chores.

I mean, sure, I shouldn’t haggle the can of beans the way I did (is it called a paper cut if it wasn’t caused by paper)? Maybe I should be more careful when washing glass (ditto). But anywho, it’s too late now. I have not one, but two papercuts.

It’s really impacting my flossing routine. Try to floss without using either thumb — no go. Try to floss using your thumb but not re-opening your papercut, on said thumb. Still a no go.

So, here we are. Two papercuts later. Considering social isolation, I’ve had significantly too much time to ponder how my papercuts impact my life.

Clearly you also have significantly too much time on your hands since you’re reading this. Let’s waste our time and ponder together, making (well you’re reading, to be fair) an arbitrary list about what my papercuts taught me.

1. I should be more grateful for my body

Ok, I get it. I have two working legs, my arms are long enough to reach someone else’s fries from across the table and if I convince myself out of my sweats, I don’t look half-bad.

But it takes a papercut to remind me that the smallest misfortune downright ruins some experiences. I don’t know about you, but I take my flossing seriously. Also, washing my mane with a papercut makes for a less-than-enjoyable shower experience.

I hate to break it to ya, but we humans are preeeeetty fragile. Have you ever thought about how easily a tumble could leave you unable to walk for weeks? No? Oh, so you don’t roll your ankles every 11 steps. That’s coo’ that’s coo. Just me.

But really. Your body is kinda your temple. You can’t do anything without it. I know you prize your smarts, your “soul” and all, but your body is what gets you to where you need to be. And Uber.

While you can, take a moment to thank you legs for holding you, your neck for supporting your big ass head, and your back for dealing with the ridiculous positions you put it through.

Image credits to wajed @borderlineyikes on Twitter

This picture was an epiphany moment for me. Thought it was my due diligence to share. Also, now that we’re here, this:

Image credits to @feminist on Instagram, quote credits to Dr. Gail Dines

I promise you, body-gods, I’ll really like my body once this horrid papercut disappears.

But in all seriousness, girl (and boy, we equals here)— you’re doing just fine. Please stop hating yourself. As Caitlin Moran said in a letter to her teenage daughter,

“Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are — marvel over the world turning over within, the brilliant meat clockwork, as I did when you were inside me and I dreamt of you every night.”

I don’t know what brilliant meat clockwork is, but I love Caitlin Moran, so she must be onto something.

In other news, I also learned that Clinique — yes, the makeup brand clinique — is hiring 1,300 people amid the coronavirus pandemic. That’s cool, but also, what secret drug are they smuggling? Who in their right mind is buying overpriced makeup right now?

Ah well, jobs are a good sign. I digress.

2. The chores I normally hate doing are actually a blessing. I should stop bitching.

Cooking is a slight inconvenience at times. I’m hungry and feel hangry hovering in the near distance. Too close for comfort. Do I cook… do I go for all-you-can-eat sushi… I should cook…. but man, now that I think about it, a spicy salmon roll sounds perfect.

Alas, I take a look at my monthly dining budget (yes, I do that — yes, you can judge me) and decide to cook.

I grumble my way to the kitchen, make-shift a pot of god knows what, and rip open the spice drawer. Blessed is the spice drawer, transforming my very shitty cooking into almost palatable cooking.

A bit of thyme, a lot of mint, a mixed spice (what’s in this shit, anyway?), a dash of chili flakes — ohshit ohshit ohshit, I opened the wrong end of the shaker… that’s a lot of chili flakes — and salt, of course.

Oh, salt. All is fine and well until and I get the damned salt in the wound. The wound is on fire. Ring the fire alarm, grab a distinguisher, I don’t care. Make this shit stop buuuuurning.

I frantically hop around the kitchen, cursing anything that will listen (my poor, poor cat). Suddenly, I halt to a stop and come to a new, calmer conclusion. (It’s at this point that my cat yawns and walks away, disappointed that the daily, “This human is a freak” show ended earlier than usual.)

I realize, damn Negin, you privileged bastard. You have food to cook and a stove to cook it on. You have a spice drawer! With those fancy shakers, the ones with the different sized holes to control how many chili flakes you dump into your food, if you paid a half-wit of attention.

Well, fuck. Almost all the shit I complain about on a daily basis, I’m incredibly lucky to complain about.

Yes, papercuts included. But hush, I’m still bitter.

So I swallow my pride (and that burning sensation I’m desperately trying to ignore) and continue burning the food I’m lucky to have, lucky to cook and lucky to eat.

3. My ego makes me think I’m needed in places where I’m really not needed

Okay, we’re on day 5 of The Cut. I see recovery at the end of the tunnel. I mean, I’m not wearing my glasses right now so it’s highly likely I’m making this shit up, but I’m hopeful. I should be able to wash my hair without cussing soon enough.

Just kidding, I wash my hair once a week. It barely matters.

Anywho, I see the beginning of a scab. Lovely. I go through my day, teach a full-grown, fully-capable adult, how to refresh his browser (gotta love tech implementations) and try to ignore the steady stream of thoughts in my head.

Well, thought. It’s one thought.

“Pick at the scab pick at the scab pick at the scab. It’ll help. It’ll help. Pick at it. Do it. Do it. Doooooo it.”

I’m a strong, independent woman. I’m a bad-ass bitch, when I don’t have a papercut. I can handle this. Everyone tells me to not pick at my scabs. I’ll make it worse, they say. And by “they”, I mean my boyfriend. He’s the only “they” I’ve seen for the last four weeks. I’m a good citizen and following physical-distancing protocol.

Don’t do it, Negin. Don’t.

Two hours go by.

Fuck it — what does he know, anyway? I can handle this. I’ll pick this scab with precision. I’ll speed up the healing process. I’m helping, goddammit. With my stubborn mind made up, I perform a careful surgery of sorts, delicately ripping off this clearly un-needed and unappreciated skin.

I rip open The Cut once more. Ugh. Did I just reset my heal calendar? Am I back at the front of the tunnel? I can’t even see the light anymore, and this time I am wearing my glasses.

Well, now that my glasses are on and I can think clearly (yes, there’s a correlation) I realize this moment applies to more than my papercut.

I bet I’ve thought I was needed in situations where frankly, I was quite a nuisance. My idea wasn’t as ground-breaking as I thought, and I had more to learn from “Everyone Else” if I had just shut up and listen.

I’m kind of a millennial, and kind of Gen Z. This puts me right at the precipice of “I know everything” and “I know nothing”. Usually I teeter closer to “I know nothing”, but my ego can’t handle admitting that on a day-to-day basis.

I thought I didn’t like Hillary Clinton — I mean, she took money from villanized Wall Street, so she must be out to get me, right? Nevermind that I’m Canadian, and my opinion doesn’t matter anyway because it’s not my election to vote in.

But then I watched her four-part docuseries on Netflix and realized, damn. I had it all wrong. She’s actually a real badass bitch and the media tore her apart since she was in her 20s. In not liking her, I thought I was taking a stand. The problem was I didn’t know what I was standing for, or against.

I took a stand because it felt good to be certain of something, even if I was wrong.

But I was wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s slightly hard to admit, but also, I’m 2 vodka sodas in (and a light-weight, if that means anything) so not too hard to admit, at this exact moment.

Normally though, it would be.

Perhaps I have more to learn than to teach. And perhaps I’d do everyone a favor if I did my due diligence and took the time to really learn something before spewing nonsense about it.

Then if someone actually calls me out on my half-thought out opinions, I have something to rebuttal with. Because I am still a millennial, after all.

Well, Medium friends (and LinkedIn friends, cause you bet I share this on the only social media platform I bother with), that is what my paper-cut has taught me this week.

My body isn’t too shabby and I should learn what brilliant meat clockwork is (while rubbing my tummy), I’m a privileged bastard with a beautiful spice drawer (and should pay more attention when using chili flakes) and my millennial/gen-z ego needs some taming (and picking scabs is almost always a poor idea, but I’ll never admit to my boyfriend that he was right).

Now I’m going to pour my third drink, get lemon juice into The Cut (hello, makeshift mojito) and cuss at my cat. Toodles.

Passionate about communication, leadership and equality.

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