A Whiny Post That Only My True Fans (and Friends) Will Read
I am not a quiet sufferer.
Robbie and I were watching a movie the other night and in this movie one of the main characters had been diagnosed with cancer.
She did not tell her ex-husband who was in the process of getting remarried, nor did she tell her daughter. At least for the first half of the movie until her cancer became too much to keep hidden. She suffered in silence, visited her doctor alone, vomited quietly — alone.
I made the remark to Robbie that there is no way I could have done that. He asked me why.
Because I am not a quiet sufferer. This does not mean that I do not have a sense of pride or that I do not have personal strength. But whatever I’m going through is typically going to come out of my mouth.
I talk my way through things. If I’m struggling with something you’re going to hear me talking about it. If something’s on my mind you’re going to hear me talking about it. You might even hear me full-on bitching about it.
Pain has a way of ruining your mood. (Just try and write whimsical poetry when your neck feels like it is on fire — not happening today folks.)
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
Somehow in society we’ve developed this notion of praising people who suffer quietly. I’m not sure what type of societal rule this is but I’ve never been very good at it.
Does this come from a history of not feeling “heard”?
Given my history that is quite possible.
“Perhaps watching someone you love suffer can teach you even more than suffering yourself can.”
― Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
But it’s also possible that I saw people in my life suffering quietly that I wish didn’t do so alone. I think if we don’t tell people what’s going on in our head, how are they to know?
How are those that love us supposed to step up to a an invisible plate?
So this morning, when I was in too much physical pain to get dressed, I told Robbie without shame or embarrassment or holding back one bit that I need help to get dressed. (He was more than happy to help.)
When people ask me how I am, I have never been one of those “I’m fine” liars. You know what I mean — no matter what is going on, they are “fine.” Um, no. You are not always fine. People ask, and I tell. And if I don’t know them well it’s a much much truncated version, of course.
No one wants to hear the whiny ramblings of a stranger — I really do not do this. But I may say “I’m not moving too good today but I am out and about enjoying the weather anyway! And how are you?” See how easy that was? Truth.
But how I am today is a damn slipped disc or bulging disc in my neck. It is wreaking havoc on my entire upper back and my left arm and I’m in freaking pain. Pretty terrible pain, if I’m honest. It’s making it difficult to move my body around, rest or sleep comfortably at all, or get anything accomplished whatsoever.
I woke myself up moaning in pain multiple times last night. Moaned loudly enough to wake myself up! (My mother used to snore herself awake — we thought that was hilarious. Perhaps this is my payback for being that snotty kid.)
So am I suffering silently? Absolutely not.
I am sitting outside in the beautiful weather with the glorious sun beating down on my upper back and it feels truly wonderful. I’m sitting here to write but let’s be honest, it is difficult to concentrate on anything when you’re in pain.
So it just occurred to me, that people might underestimate my strength because I’m noisy about my discomfort. This would be a mistake. I think the fact that I have been living with chronic pain for years now shows my strength. I tolerated, grew, and powered my way out of an abusive marriage and raised my kids alone — while healing from that trauma=strength.
SO, no, I do not think my strength is in question, at least not by me.
Resilience? Oh yes. When one body part is “out of commission” — you figure out a different way to do things.
I get up out of that bed every day and I tackle life whether I’m in pain or not. I will use whatever parts of my body are still operational. And I am very grateful for the ability to write with my hands or with my talk-to-text, even on the worst pain days like today.
You have to focus on your gifts. When the pain rips your attentions away — you wrestle them back and focus on your talents, your abilities, your gifts, and what you can do.
Refocus. Redirect. Ask for help. Let others love you through it. That is my strategy.
And if you have sat for a moment with me in this post and felt empathy (please, not pity) for what I am going through, then you are my kind of people.
Empathetic people are the lifeblood of a society.
Whiny rant over — carry on!