Poking for pleasurable pain

What’s it about the uncontrollable urge to do a repetitive action that is painful but in a way that you want to keep going back to the physical sensation of pain over and over again. Is it because it’s the pain that occurs in non-exists shots of time, or is it a form of self punishment you inflict upon yourself thinking it would absolve you of all the extremely mundane and insignificant wrong doings you routinely and unconsciously commit? I would never know, because I’m too busy enjoying and indulging in the physical sensation that I need to compulsively experience.

Isn’t it irresistible to take a toothpick and keep picking at that slight spot, where something was stuck just a couple of minutes back, and which you successfully took out after drawing a faint micro milliliter of blood. There is no logical reason to keep visiting that spot. The main purpose is taken care of. Yet you can’t hold yourself from poking the tight spot between two teeth with extreme precision. It’s a successful feeling when the tooth pick inches in a micrometer more than before, when it pushes your gums down and you involuntarily squint. You know that person before you (mind you, this should be done only before people you completely trust and accept your eccentricities as something only human) is trying to engage you in a conversation and all you can manage, out of your personal reverie, is a couple of “hmms, aha, ahems” trying your best to show that you are concentrating hard. The truth is, you don’t remember the last word that was uttered.

It’s the same with exfoliating the roughened skin off your lips with just your fingers. Trying to focus on your lips is quite taxing, especially if there is no mirror and you are determined to lower your eyes towards your lips as deftly as possible. It doesn’t stop after peeling a little bit. You then feel that it’s not evened out and try to do it with your teeth. Once you’re happy with the finish, you apply some lip balm and feel good about yourself, only until you’ve had something to drink. Once the layer of balm subsides, you suddenly become aware of new rough edges and your new mission. You keep repeating the process till someone warns you and hits your hand that compulsively reaches for your lips. But what do them laymen know! 😀

And then you find other ways of going back to other such little joys from your robust repertoire. They don’t let you peel your lips, you have your cuticles. Pushing them back, biting them, getting your cuticle cutter out…all this until you give a tiny involuntary shriek and your well-wishers turn you away from another one of your immensely pleasurable painful activities. 

And what about removing your blackheads with the blackhead pin? It’s irritating, it’s painful, it brings tears to your eyes and yet you continue onto your blackhead free nose mission. I will spare the readers more graphic details of more of such activities that find way into my ordinary daily routine. Putting them in writing make them seem a lot more gory than they really are, but I don’t want to take more chances lest readers condemn this blog forever.

P.S: I’d be very interested in knowing your set of similar activities that have a strangely meditative effect.



  1. Heheh.. this post resonated with me so much…

    OK, with me it is the following:

    1. Biting and removing nails and cuticles
    2. Untangling my hair which takes about 75% of the day
    3. Digging through any scab and removing it
    4. Scratching the dog for ticks

    Like you said, when I am doing any of the above, I can’t focus on anything being said or done around me. It is like the world shuts down except that scab, that blackhead, that stubborn nail…


    1. 😀 Isn’t it fun? Oh of course, scabs! How could I forget?! Untangling hair, hehe, that’s funny. I get hooked to removing split-ends from my hair. I just need everyone to leave me alone when I’m at that. that’s not painful, but super fun!

      I know for a fact that my mother and aunt used to love it if we had lice in our schooldays. They’d catch hold of us and ensure that our hair was clean in no time. They pretended that they had to do such a tedious job, but by the looks of it, I’m sure they enjoyed pressing the lice between their thumb nails. 😛


      1. Exactly!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

        Finally someone who understands. People don’t like it when I say, “wait a minute, you can continue after I get a scissor. Don’t worry, I am not looking at you, but I’m still listening (how I wish that was true 😀 )”


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