Why Aren’t Callouses Part of Muscle Memory?

the short storyBecause what the body remembers isn’t limited to muscle memory.
the long storyTo be clear: I recognize that callouses, a condition of thickening skin, has absolutely nothing to do with muscle memory.

I remember when I first started playing guitar, I could not wait until the callouses finally settled in so it wouldn’t hurt as much when I played. I use steel strings, which means a sharper indent on my fingertips while I play.

I eventually did develop them, but after a few years of not playing, it wasn’t that the skin softened, but they were definitely not as prepared to hold down strings.

Today, can still see and definitely feel the callouses on my fingertips. I remember when I’d forget to trim my nails, and so the steel of the string would dig grooves into the edges.

But I’m not here to give you grotesque imagery about my hands.

Well, maybe a little. But not just imagery, I assure you.

I find it funny that my body remembers things you mentally don’t. Like riding a bike–you never lose that sense of balance again. That’s muscle memory.

But the body also remembers other things through marks–through scars.

For example, i had to get surgery when I was three years old because I had an infection in the bone in my right foot. I still have the scar to prove it. And yet I don’t remember what the pain felt like, or even being in a hospital all that well.

What’s even weirder is that I remember stuff my body no longer remembers. I used to have a wart on my right hand that I thought would never go away. I had it for years, and I hated it.

Would you believe it–it’s gone now. Has been for several years.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m sort of amazed by how many kinds of memory I have. I remember how to play a guitar, but my body has to built up the resistance to strings against my fingertips again. I have scars from surgeries I don’t remember and I no longer have marks that I worried over for years.

And, in some way, I have remembered them all.

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