I have a ganglion the size of a golf ball on my left wrist. It’s a jelly-filled, bulbous, grotesque son-of-a-bitch and I wish it would die.
But like all things that we wish would die, like weeds and war, they probably exist to teach us a thing or two. Weeds, that you need to take better care of your garden. War, that men have small penises. As for my ganglion, what’s it here to teach me? That I don’t love myself as unconditionally as I thought I did.
Now, a small wrist bump may not sound like a big deal to most people – it’s just a bump on your wrist, so what? Other people have it worse off. Yes, I know this. In the grand scheme of things, I am blessed. But you see, my ganglion might be your crooked teeth, or your back fat, or back bones, your stutter or your short leg, your long leg, your pale skin, tanned skin, your unemployment, your recent breakup. Whatever. Whatever. It’s that thing that you give so much attention to for all the wrong reasons. That one thing that you wish you could make disappear.
You see, I’ve had this ‘impediment’ for the past seven years. I’ve had it surgically removed a few times but it grew back (‘grew’. Ew). So now, because it won’t fuck off, I do my utmost to keep it hidden. I wear bracelets and bangles, long-sleeve tops, I avoid using my left hand when I speak and save all my storytelling cues for my right. I don’t want to see it, for God’s sake, and I highly doubt others want to either. But because my most recent epiphany has centred around self-acceptance and about how we need to start showing people all parts of ourselves yada yada yada, I decided to conduct a small experiment; I wanted to see what exposing my ganglion on a New York City subway would do to my emotions and to the ability of the world to keep revolving.
My method wasn’t to walk around the train carriage holding up my left wrist shouting ‘Step right up! Step right up, folks!’ or anything vaudevillian like that, but what I did do was try to notice the specific moments on my train ride where I would usually hide the ganglion – whether it was when I was fixing my hair, or holding onto the carriage poles, or using my phone – and then I made the conscious effort to not hide it, but instead, let it be seen.
The result? This was not fun. In fact, it was emotionally challenging which I feel guilty saying because it’s just a bump on my wrist. The whole time, I kept looking around to see if anyone had noticed it, I started to get anxious and I was very tempted to just hide my left hand in my coat pocket. But then, a strict, tough-lovey kind of mother voice in me spoke and said: ‘No. Leave. Your hand. On. That pole. Do not. Hide it. This too shall pass’. So I listened, and as the train rode on – with my left hand holding onto that pole, ganglion exposed and all – I started to feel less and less self-conscious.
I left the subway that day without having anything thrown at me or anyone calling out ‘Freak! Freak!’ The world continued to revolve, train services continued to be disrupted, American workers were still getting paid $3.00 an hour, and sixty year-old Sydney-siders still weren’t allowed to drink Pinot after ten. Huh. Would you look at that?
Do I still wish it would die? Uh, is the Pope Catholic?
But until that magical, praise-be-to-Jesus day arrives, I have two choices: to accept it, or not. And fuck me the last option takes up a lot of energy. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got shit to do. Like, live my life. And eat smoked salmon and shit.
The experiment inspired me; I’m going to learn how to be friends with old mate Gangly. And so as I’m over here doing that, I urge you today to do the same: expose your ‘ganglion’, let your jelly-filled, bulbous, ‘supposedly’ grotesque son-of-a-bitch – whatever that may be in your case – come out into the light. Hey, you may even want to take it to lunch. And when you do, see how it makes you feel, monitor the thoughts that flood your mind, confront them, and if they’re not pleasing to you heart and soul, then politely excuse yourself from the table and let the fuckers get the cheque.