January 27, 2018 –
I sit here fully aware that I am swimming in pain and fear. Layers of pain igniting fear within the darkest recesses of my mind. For months I’ve been managing the effects of a neck and shoulder injury (re-injury).
Here’s the truth – I have always felt guilty for sharing my pain and suffering with others. I loathe the feeling of disgust that follows a moment of discontent and hopelessness. During a time of ‘what was,’ I rarely opened my mouth to complain. My struggles and anxieties ever-present, while lying dormant within – cautiously waiting. In the five years since my accident, I have shared very little with very few. Funnily enough, those who have seen behind the curtain, witnessing moments of weakness in me, certainly feel they’ve seen too much. Moments of vulnerability triggering decades of slumbering sensations and wicked wounds.
I’m saddened by how vivid my memories of these moments are. Perception is twisted. What I see – a pathetic human being who can’t keep her shit together – someone who knows better. I hate myself in these moments.
January 30, 2018 –
Every time I attempt to write about my pain; I come up short. I touch on the symptoms of my struggle, but always hit a wall when I attempt to dig deeper. The truth is, I was never one to complain or whine. I always believed ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,’ I still do, but my view has changed drastically. See, in my youth I saw this statement as a badge of courage – a reminder of what I had overcome. ‘I survived. No need to talk about it. Suck it up. Be thankful for the gifts your pain affords you.’ My pain at the time a hidden pattern of anxiety and insecurities, tucked beneath distraction and perfection.
Now, in a season of my life fast approaching ‘middle age,’ I see it as a ‘call to duty!’ A champion’s cry to own it all – without shame! The strength my pain affords me is not that which allows for accomplishment and titles. No. The strength bequeathed me through each of my struggles, is a strength that shines for others to see. An honest strength. No masks. No curtains. No wizard pulling the strings. Just a simple warrior doing the best she can, in every season put before her.
The truth is, the weight of my pain exhausts me, but I cannot sleep. Not enough, never enough. I wake at all hours with my mind on fire! Oh, not the kind of fire that promotes clear thinking and consistent rational responses, that would be a dream. Nope. My monkeys want to play; they want to go-go-go and do-do-do. Dammit, I want to let them, but then I am thrust into the throws of ‘negotiate and debate.’ How much pain am I willing to suffer? For how long? What urges will I give into? Which will be left waiting for another day?
Most days, I am afforded the energy to accomplish only one big task. Let’s remember, big is relative. Big these days is minute compared to five years ago, but I’m learning to appreciate the small victories. On any given day, I am left with choices of ‘do I write, or do I take a bike ride?’ ‘Do I clean the house or prep food?’ The list goes on and on, but the point is, I’m always managing the monkeys. I laugh at what I know now, and the idea of youth being wasted on the young. I TOTALLY GET IT!
I’m never one to go back and change things but given a second chance with my youth and full body abilities, I would do it differently. I would do it ALL! I’m still pursuing the big adventures in life, the sweet moments of irreplaceable joy. I figure the strength and energy I save in my day to day life, affords me the right to push the limits from time to time. Still most days, I am left wishing I had spent my days doing it all – swimming, biking, yoga, dancing, running, and hiking. I wasted a large chunk of my 20’s and 30’s sitting around. I was always actively doing but never consistently pursuing.
For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
Photo by Álvaro Serrano