I'd like to talk about pain. Not the pain of heartbreak, although a friend of mine asked me about that the other day because he'd never experienced that before. I told him that it was the worst to get your heart really broken, the most physical and emotion tearing you can imagine and the worst part of it is no one cares.... but no. Heartbreak, blah. If you're lucky you'll know it. It's bad but it's boring. Unless you're going through it and the I'm sorry for you. Go ahead and call me at 4:AM and I will drowse while you cry.
Ah but pain. Pain the body breaking down. Pain an injury. Pain a break. Pain a smash. Pain a growth that knocks your insides around. Pain with jagged edges, with teeth that bite and claws that catch. It's so personal and so relative and we really don't know how to deal with it.
My sweet girl, my baby sister Honey Luna just posted on her blog, Finding Those Dulcet Tones talking about her knee pain, and discovering that after all these years of us telling her that it's nothing, it's something. I feel bad about this.
Not too bad. I'm not rending my clothes or anything, and actually I'm glad that it's something, that she can get it fixed. She just.... well, it's a matter of timing.
This girl grew up so fast. I mean that literally. At one point she was small, and then over a few short years she grew about three feet. It was a foot a year, like a teak tree, and sometimes I thought that I could see her growing before my eyes, and her legs hurt. Now when I see her I say, "Nice Stems Baby-Cakes!" but of course her legs hurt her! She is not a tree, she is a Girl. Bones and tissue and muscle, sinew and tendon, racing and unfurling inside her stretching skin, she hurt. When her knees started hurting she was still growing and we were used to saying "Oh Baby, you hurt because you are tall". In retrospect it doesn't make a lot of sense, but none of us can deal with the pain of those we love. We didn't want to get down in the guts of her pain and ask, "Is this a new pain? Describe your pain."
Describe your pain. Well. It's an aching. Sometimes. And a sharp where it should be smooth. It feels like a crunch, and I may have gear sheers in there, but sometimes it is a jump pain like a shot that makes you jump. I have a buzzing, there is a tender buzzing that is pink but when it is red there is a stinging and then the bits are all angry. Sometimes it is not a pain at all but a weight, the area is filled with lead I have to drag it and it doesn't move when I tell it to move and sometimes I fall. Sometimes the pain is a coming out pain, like the bones are swelling and will burst through my skin and sometimes the pain is a smashing crushing, an ever so slow and tightening vise that turns and turns. Something like that.
That's my pain, from my magically healed bum leg, that gives me my sexy gimp walk (Gimps up, ho's down) but what good does it do to say it?
I remember when I was in recovery from my accident and nurses would ask me to rate my pain, 1-10. I really stressed out about that, probably because I was all wooped up on percoset and morphine, but what I wanted to know is, what are their reference points? If I said 3, what does that mean to them? All they wanted to know was could I stand it and did I need more medication but it seemed so existential to me. How do you rate pain? Every day you live your pain meter changes, every one's is different. Have you had a child? Do you suffer migraines? Have you been punched in the nose and boy that hurt? Is your pain as bad or worse than when you swallow a potato chip you haven't chewed properly? Is your pain as bad or worse than if someone were to stand on your calves and wiggle around? Have you been hit by a car? Have you any tears and cysts in your knee?
It reminds me of when old men joke about stomping on your foot to take your mind off the pain of your ear. THAT would actually be helpful. YES! YES IT HURTS WORSE THAN THAT!
Then there's my girl, and how she's been walking around so tough. We do want to be so tough, don't we? We don't want to complain, because we don't want to be complainers or martyrs or, god forbid, pussies. But who has the wimp-o-meter? Where are the pain police?
I don't feel too bad about not addressing my sister's pain, because she has been so quiet about it, but what I do feel bad about is maybe I like that I'm in pain? That I gain some sort of sick personal power from my constant ache? I don't hurt myself on purpose, but somewhere down the road of dealing with my chronic pain I've made it into one of the things that makes me special. And I want to be special. And I think that this has made me less sympathetic when someone else is in pain. Instead of feeling tender toward them I feel a cold comradeship. I don't like this side of myself. I don't know how I could have gotten to the place where I thought misery made me anything but miserable. I'm only really able to see this now because I do feel tender toward my sister, if there is any one on this earth I feel that soft protectiveness for it is my baby sisters. How can I call myself kind when I am so unkind and so uncharitable toward the people around me, and to myself?
It's such a delicate balance between being strong and stone. I am not glad that my loved ones feel pain, but I am grateful that there are people I love that help me see the softness in my heart, and the selfishness too. I'm so glad that her knees can be fixed, and that some pain is not necessary.
Ah me, this has ended up so far from where I thought I was going. Start out so sassy and end up so introspective. I have to learn to be more gentle. And not so serious all the damn time.
Okay Honey Luna! Get your knees fixed girl! You are far too tall to not be able to squat.