Sometimes I think I’m meant for pain, and she for me.
She is my cruelest companion, and yet my most passionate form of expression. I can always depend on her for a good cry, an inspired project, even the longing for what matters most.
I am nothing without her.
This past year has been inexplicably hard. The years get harder as they pass. I see them rushing towards me, each hallowed with hope, I pray and pray. Every New Years is the same wish — to get better; to scratch out that goal of accomplished health. To wear tank tops without shame. To make plans and actually be excited about them. To live each day without fear. To see all this money and expanded energy not go in vain. To not live in this shell of flesh…
It’s too much some days. It is this limbo of a half life. Close enough to see the adventures of old, but like Tantalus, not close enough to enjoy them. From canceled plans to numerous infections, flares, and bad news, pain just holds your hand while you wail into a pillow wondering what you did wrong to secure such a sentence.
You get to watch others indulge in all the things you miss. You get to hear their pallid complaints as you consolingly nod, like society instructs, while acknowledging their triviality. And then you go home, to the loud silence, where you can hear your heart breaking, wishing that those small atrocities others endure could be yours. What you wouldn’t give for the normalcy.
Ever since my leg surgery, I’ve felt this shift. An alignment, perhaps, rather than a wreckage or dislodging. I found myself alone a lot, my mind wandering in the loud silence of my apartment. I finally embraced it one day, and suddenly, I didn’t want to run from it. Instead, I’ve been running towards it.
It’s been churning up the sediment in me, in the things I’ve been suppressing or, perhaps, just not seeing. And even though I am still battling multiple health issues, all vying for the spotlight, I’ve been gripping on to the fractures stirred by this pain.
Things like moxie, and prospect, and conviction. To remember what it feels like to believe in my abilities and trust that, if I jump, I will never fall flat. That I need to jump. That if I stay here much longer I will boil in this uncomfortable water.
I have big ideas and goals and dreams. They keep me up at night. They flood pieces of scrap paper and crack onto my keyboard. They live in my heart, asking me to make room by letting go of the things that aren’t serving me anymore. Some days I lean fully in, my mind colorful and rich with courage. Other days, I am petrified, scarred by loss and illness.
If I wasn’t sick, I would be living a completely different life.
Just typing that makes me angry. It brings watery eyes and tremors. Anger is a constant piece that has settled in me, and I keep trying to knock it away, break it into smaller pieces, yet it is this boulder, heavy. So, so heavy. It refuses to budge. I stare at it, wasting so much time reveling in her mass.
But now, with all this time spent alone with myself, Ive wonderd sometimes if it really is anger at all but a disguise for something even harder to bear.
It is so much easier to say you’re angry. Admitting you fight daily, doleful demons within yourself, especially when you’ve been fighting for so long, is gut-wrenching. Not when you are supposed to be the optimistic one — the one who is reliable, and productive, and strong; the person whom you list out many admirable attributes on your fingers, setting them higher and higher on a pedestal.
So, I’ve been psyching myself up for this upcoming school year, a job that is neither a calling nor vocation. I’ve also overwhelmed myself with other projects that I wish were my sole responsibility as income. Add in studying for a test. It is all a game of Jenga. Block after block, pulling away to see when the crumble will occur.
Now, all this, while sticking to the hardest health regimen I have yet to face. Pills, dietary restrictions, no alcohol, and I have been vigilant. I am all in. Distressed and tired, but all in.
Then, you have my hip. It is a slow healing process, much like my skin.
The cherry on top, because you always need a cherry, is the knowledge that I need to endure another few rounds of antibiotics due to an infection in my stomach. Let’s affix a few sprinkles and add that my boyfriend must also take these pills since it’s a bacteria that can be spread back and forth so, if one party takes the pills, so must the other. I’m so over the people around me having to endure my trials. I’m. So. Over. It.
What spurred this word vomit of a vulnerable post was a phone call today. It is no matter what was said, but it pushed me over the edge. It was minimal, but it just stirred the sediment once more.
I needed a reminder that, no matter what I have been experiencing, there are others who have endured more and do endure more.
I popped Five Feet Apart onto my television. Netflix is a gift, truly. And, pressing forward, I went straight to the pool scene. It is engrained in my mind whenever I start to feel alone or lost. While the two main characters show off their scars to one another, not even allowed to touch each other, it is the closest representation to how I feel inside. The things that get discussed in this movie hit home, like an embrace I’m desperate to feel. While none of my health concerns are terminal, my mortality is constantly assessed and judged.
And the eerie lyrics that play during that pool scene speak to me.
And let it all rain down, from the blood stained clouds
Come out, come out, to the sea my love and just drown with me, drown with me.
Like I said, pain feels meant for me, and I for pain. She teaches me and molds me. If I am to be her companion for awhile longer, I will learn as much as I can from her.
I know I will be making some hard decisions these next few months, but this boulder of grief must go. She has grown like a tumor into the fabric of my life and I don’t want to feel her anymore. Much like the scar tissue I must kneed along my incision line, I must meticulously, but firmly, chisel away at this large rock. Perhaps pain and I will make something beautiful out of her, too.