I Know Pain

Pain.

It doesn’t scare me.

In fact, pain intrigues me.

This wasn’t always the case.

At 16 years old I was suddenly in such constant, excruciating pain.

I didn’t have a choice but figure out how to deal with it.

After two brain surgeries, five spinal taps, a fractured spine, an infection in my brain, too many needle pricks and IV’s to count, fear was known. I knew pain so well I could practically call him my best friend.

People fear the unknown. Pain was no longer the unknown.

I know that pain will come and go and I know that pain won’t kill me. I know that pain is temporary and relative. I know that pain is more in the mind than of the body.

When in the hospital they show you a chart with smiley faces ranging from 1-10. Number one has a big smile and number ten is grimacing in pain.

Number 10 couldn’t do justice for the pain I experienced as a 16 year old.

But I survived, I lived through it. So what pain that is to come can I not handle?

I know I can handle pain. I know pain. Pain does not scare me.

In fact, I take much pride in my ability to conquer pain, to not fear pain.

Because I know pain.

 

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Capable

Capable. What is that word really?

I mean if you think about it…at least for myself…I have always doubted my capability to succeed, to do, to get through, etc.

And yet, I have, haven’t I? I have, up to this point, succeeded at, completed, gotten through, all that has come my way…or I wouldn’t be here. So why do we continue to doubt our abilities when so far our success rate is 100%?

Sure, the path the where you are now may not look as you thought it would, but one way or another you made it through. You are here. You have conquered the past and who is to say you won’t make it through the next tomorrow? Because so far you have made it through all of your tomorrows.

the oldest story

I guess this thought comes from a place of reflection. As I delve deeper and deeper into trauma work with my therapist on a bi-weekly basis, I doubt more and more that I can make it through to see the rainbow after the rain. And yet, here I am, I’ve made it so far. Why wouldn’t that continue?

Sometimes in the little moments where the world feels too overwhelming it’s hard to zoom out and see the bigger picture. But  you can’t make sense of one puzzle piece without the whole puzzle and you can’t complete a puzzle without every little piece.

Internal Demons

You know when you are lying in bed at night, lights out, thoughts racing, and you can feel the flood gates locked, the tears that need to be released so desperately it hurts, but somehow the gate keeper is no where to be found to unlock the gate?

You can feel it behind your eyes, in your throat, the tightness in your chest, the ache all the way down to your toes?

It hurts, it’s painful and you lie there wondering how to possibly let out what has been kept locked inside for decades. Is it possible?

You go to work each day, you do what is required to make it through but behind it all, you are dying inside. And nobody knows because you are so damn good at putting on a face of joy, laughter, and love. You go to work and try your damn best to put a smile on others’ faces, and yet you can’t even do that for yourself.

Behind all the laughter and jokes you spend hours in therapy, reliving what has happened to you, so that maybe one day it won’t haunt you and ruin your life. So maybe one day you can live an okay life (dare I say a good life).

I think what is more painful is holding it all inside while you go through the motions of life, with each person passing you by with no idea what demons you are facing inside. No one will ever know.

You really never know what someone is going through. I don’t care how rude or disrespectful someone may be, all I can think about is how much pain they must be going through.

Every day I spend hours making people coffee, smiling, asking them how they are doing, thanking them, and wishing them a good day. Hundreds of people. Hundreds. Including those I work with. And none of them will ever know what I am going through. THAT is painful.

I don’t even know if I can explain why that piece of it is so hard but it is and I know that anyone who has ever gone through a trial in life understands the pain of holding the weight of something so painful while also having to pretend it doesn’t exist in order to do what needs to be done.

The pain is immense. And sometimes I fear it will never go away.

Autobiography

Grease Logo

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writing a book about my story…it’s something i’ve really wanted to do for a long time, it just seems like a daunting endeavor. I don’t know the first thing about writing a book but the other night I thought I would just try to start…here is what I’ve got for the Prologue…

Grease. Not the black stuff you get all over your hands when trying to fix your car, but the 80’s musical starring John Travolta. Grease; Grease is the moment everything shifted.

That was the theme of my high school dance team’s Homecoming football game performance. Standing on the rough, red, and yet oddly cushioned track (I was clearly not a runner), I wore my satin Pink Ladies jacket counting down the minutes until show time. In that moment I was certain of many things. I was certain that adrenaline was rushing through my veins, that I loved to dance more than anything, that it was cold outside and that I really had to pee, and I also knew that I was never going to be good enough, at dance, at being popular, at all of the above. And it’s only now that I can look back and realize that I would have given anything to stay within those certainties, even though along with those came pain and self-hate. But at least there was solid ground to stand on; at lease I knew what was happening.

Because in one minute, one moment, one phone call, everything in my life became the complete opposite: utterly and terrifyingly uncertain.

I no longer had the privilege of housing simple 16-year-old concerns, worries, and drama in my mind. I would no longer be stressing about finals, scared about getting asked to prom, or insecure about my outfit choice for school photos, because suddenly I was terrified for my life. In the blink of an eye my life turned upside down, because my life was on the line.