Needs editing and clarification, most likely.
Shrapnel. Something exploded, and a piece of it embedded in your flesh. Now you have to carry that around with you for the rest of your life.
It affects you. In changes the way that you behave, you take the experience of being hit by that shrapnel with you in every decision that you make. Even if you remove it, the scar remains. Even in its absence, it informs your decisions.
For the most part, the explosions are essentially random, when taken from a subjective view. Someone else planted these things, and you walk right into it. These things may have exploded centuries ago, but the shrapnel is still in the air. Still able to pierce into the heart of you.
Often, they tell you where to go. They push you onto new paths, or keep you going down the one you’re on. They can blind you, they can cripple you, they can make you afraid to continue. They can accumulate, like scales, like armor, like a lead weight. Given enough time, they can even render you impervious to other bits of shrapnel. But not forever.
Shrapnel is not subtle. It’s just that we don’t recognize it for what it is. We get hit full in the face, and we don’t even realize what just happened. We know something just went down, but what?
You heard a symphony.
You read a story.
You went to school.
You got a job.
You fell in love.
You got into a fight.
You fell out of a tree.
You were mugged.
You got an erection.
You listened to a preacher.
You took drugs.
You got lost in the woods for 3 days.
You lived your life. And you carry that with you. Each thing that got the limbic system pumping, every “aha!”, all the moments of simmering rage, each instant of bliss… They all left their bits of shrapnel in you. They all push and prod you in directions you might not even have intended to go.
But you don’t have to be one of the walking wounded. The choice is yours. Self-surgery is messy, but it’s possible. Search out the bits that got stuck into you, see if they’re worth keeping. Then get a pair of pliers and an exacto knife, and get to it.