The Ache of Healing

Erioluwadamiloju Shodayo
4 min readFeb 19, 2022

I want another piercing.

I’ve always been one to self-sabotage. It’s more elaborate than self-harm, and I like grandeur – however delusional it is most of the time. But whatever it is I did, whatever it is that friend did or that person on TikTok, I’ve always been beguiled by the concept of making myself pay. No pain, no gain.

The first time I heard the word, I was…well…beguiled. Liam Hemsworth’s Australian accent probably played its own role in the beguilement. Okay, enough of the word.

Me to my brain, at least 24 times a day.

I recently found out that my need to hurt myself might just be another part of neurodivergence; but I like how I started. Plus, there really is so much more to it.

Not only do I like to hurt myself, I like to heal from that hurt. It’s the familiar feeling of growth and replenishment. Familiar as that feeling is, I’ve dreaded today. Something about losing the ‘-teen’ suffix felt like losing my license to be reckless.

I’m too sober for this shit. I have been for the past week. Hilariously appropriate, now that I look back on it. I spent the week before the day I feared solemn. Aware of every cell that has lived and died in this time.

The ship of Theseus.

The first few weeks of harmattan always involves some shedding for me. The skin at my finger and toe tips start to peel, and if I pull on the dead skin, I lose a lot more skin in a lot less time than I would have if I’d just let them be. As I watch this process happen, I wonder: Am I still me if I’m not made of the me I was prior to this moment? Before Saturday. Before Christmas. Before my birthday. That’s the order this year – and every other year, really.

The peeling doesn’t hurt. It’s not growth. It’s loss. Loss is it’s own kind of pain, so maybe the shedding is growth? Prior to this year, it’s always been automatic. I never truly felt it. But the awareness, this year – the sobriety; I watched myself lose it in many ways than one. That hurt – made growth.

Perhaps I’m simply romanticising this year because I’ve had to watch it happen, but that’s also kind of the point. You only love that which you have known; that which you have lost. And over the last few months, I have known this vessel. I have loved her. Even when we became them. Even when we wondered if we really knew her. Even when we wondered if we really loved her. Even when we did things we spoke of to no one but the one who calls us Bunny. My other friends were barely 2 feet away, yet they didn’t hear me cry. I’ve always been good at choking, whether by owner’s large hands or by vessel’s fluid hook.

It’s a meme. Get over it.

I can’t catch my breath, yet I don’t think this is good enough. I’ve always had the highest expectations of myself. But then the one lesson I spent the most part of this year learning is, it’s not about you. And since it’s not, I can remember this is simply documentation. I remember this, at the start, was simply letting myself roam without the need to understand or be understood. Maybe that’s just my lazy resolution so I don’t have to put in any more energy into this than I need to. Maybe I lied and I’m really not sober enough for this shit. What even is sobriety?

Maybe I just want to stop for a second and not have to think or have to do. Maybe I just miss my person. That’s the ache of healing. My inability to express how I got here because I think these are epiphanies people have to have on their own.

Or, once again, maybe I’m just lazy. A myriad of reasons to stop, but doing regardless. That’s growth. That’s healing. And that’s why it hurts. Because I do not understand it at first, and I don’t like to not understand. But that’s healing.

Now that I am at tears, I can rest. Mene’s Twitter name is ‘tears are emotional cum’, and I agreed. Somehow, I understand even more now. I’m here.

Happy Birthday, Eri.



Erioluwadamiloju Shodayo

On growth and neuroses. She/they. Libertine. Anxious person on the journey to self-discovery.