One of my rear tires was looking slightly flat. Again. It would never lose enough pressure to set off alarm bells in my mind, but it really was starting to annoy me.

The gas station’s mechanic must have seen me muttering to myself at the air pump, and he came over to investigate. He offered to remove the tire and inspect it for free, and sure enough, I had picked up a nail somewhere along the way. He repaired the tire for 16 dollars and off I went. That’s excellent customer service.

I must have been driving around with that nail for months. How amazing that something could have such a low grade negative impact on my life and yet I hadn’t noticed for so long. It made me wonder what other “nails” I carry around without even realizing it.

Almost immediately after having that thought, I stumbled across my journal from my senior year in high school. I sat down to read it for the first time since I had written it. It was a painful read.

I had forgotten how miserable I was as a teenager. My self-esteem was at rock bottom. I was so starved for love and validation that I went looking for those things in all the wrong places. For example, I described an excruciating date in which the boy in question had treated me horribly. I mean, really, there was no excuse for his disrespectful behavior. And then I wailed, “And he didn’t even kiss me good night!” Ah, teenage angst.

I practically had “welcome” tattooed across my forehead. I was a bleeding fish among sharks. I was so easy to victimize that I drew unscrupulous people into my orbit. The 52 year old me weeps for the 17 year old me. But the 17 year old me did not know any better. She had no frame of reference that would lead her to believe that she deserved more.

Those old journals are heartbreaking. But I’m going to continue to read them, because I cannot affect repairs on myself until I know exactly how many nails I’ve been driving through life with. I think I have some customer service I need to apply to myself, and it’s long overdue.


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2 thoughts on “Nails

  1. Nail-in-the-tire is an absolutely wonderful analogy to checking on our emotional or physical health. So often we just put up with stuff! I think this is one of your best essays. And I would also like to point out that just as I would never try to fix a tire on my car, sometimes it would behoove me to ask for professionals’ help according to the specific issue.

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