I want to talk about pain in a way that I rarely do. No one wants to be perceived as a whiner, and if I talked about it as much as I think about it, I'm pretty sure no one would want to listen to me anymore. But the truth is that pain is one of the most dominant forces in my life. As in the zen way of all things, it has taught me much, and it has cost me much, too.
It happens sometimes, just seeing someone walking down the street in front of my house. I think, she is not counting every step she takes. She doesn't feel like she's walking on broken glass. And I am suddenly sick with envy. I was a strong girl. Still am actually: but I was so fucking CAPABLE. For years now it has been a daily struggle to even get clean. IT HURTS WHEN I MOVE, EVERY FUCKING THING I DO, AND IT HURTS PRETTY FUCKING BAD. That is my truth. I want to cry just writing this. I'm not gonna catalog the variety and intensity of the various things that are wrong with me, but they all pretty much suck. I do what I can about it, I exercise when I can, I see doctors and eat well and meditate and listen to music and give back to life every chance I get and other shit, but it is a fucking STRUGGLE and it is brutal at times. I try not to whine, but I certainly do bitch to a few select people. Because if you do it too much you get judged.
I bathe and do my hair every day. I wear red lipstick too, damn it. My pride drives me forward, to work what magic I can, to inspire myself in every small way that I can. I don't wear pj's or yoga pants all day even if I don't leave the house, and most days I don't. I don't have a car. My disability has taught me to be my own best friend. I have to forgive myself for the things that I cannot do. When it comes to my son, and not being able to go for a walk with him, or being too fucking sick to honor plans we have made, well, you can imagine the guilt. He always says, no, Mom, just take care of yourself: that kid, man. That kid. I love that kid. And I have learned to forgive myself even for letting him down, aided by his grace. That is hard beyond any words I have. Have I mentioned today how awesome my son is?
I have lost friendships. I try not to make firm plans with too many people. Going to the grocery store is a huge chore, thank God I have someone to do it for me. I keep my house clean and care for my cats and look for ways to do good and to give back to life. I have come from so many kinds of hell, to be delivered to a relatively good place in life: I feel that when it comes to life, I OWE. So I try to give back. It's what I CAN do.
I don't know why I'm writing this. I know I'm not alone, but I feel like I am screaming into the dark. I just want to say all this for the record. Just this once, I want you to know what it's really like. Because the battlefield is never in my body, it's in my mind, in how I choose to look at things. That has been the hardest part of this journey. And you know what? I do it with a fair amount of grace myself. When a woman I barely know accused me of being full of shit regarding a specific affect of my disability, I ended the conversation pleasantly, immediately, and firmly. And I wanted to hurt her in the worst fucking way for days. This bitch has no fucking idea what I have come from, the abuse, the horror of my childhood, a Styron novel scratched out in the dust of a double-wide...and then my years of wandering in the land of drug addiction, finally finding my way to recovery and then throwing it all away again to suck a crack pipe and discover that there is really no end to how low your soul can go...there are no words. So my life today is actually pretty fucking sweet in comparison to that. Frankly, my perspective does make it easier to accept what I have to deal with now.
But there are days where the pain crushes my soul. Needles me with doubt. Sows the whispering seeds of suicidal despair. I hear them. Anyone with chronic pain, physical or other, hears those whispers. As a recovering addict, my chemical choices are pretty limited. I cannot safely use narcotics to maintain a saner level of pain. There are days I drug myself with TV. With video games. With fantasies, I have an amazingly vivid imagination. Those are the days that all I do is try to escape as best I can. I hide from you. I cocoon myself, and wait for better days. And there are days that I fight. With my hard dark humor, with my silliness, with my love for the world and my red lipstick, I fight. I am a fucking warrior. And even at my lowest, I believe that I will find my way back, because that is just who I am.
Every person who makes me laugh, it is like a prayer to me. Every person who I love, you make my world a bigger place. And for the many amazing and wondrous people who give me so much love, you humble me. Because in the end, it is the love that matters after all.