I lie awake at night and feel guilty about my pain.
I know a number of people who suffer chronic, debilitating illness. Who live every day as an exercise in pain management, in negotiating with the world to get simple tasks done.
I’m not one of them.
I’m in chronic pain…and I did it to myself.
My knees and shoulders are held together with spit, hope and sheer stubborn cussedness. My back aches and stiffens. I live my life by typing, both my writing and my day job and have no finger joints left that are not gnarled, bent, crooked. I realized a few years ago that I am essentially in a race: between my ambitions (to write, to train, to live) and the damage I do to myself in the process of achieving those goals.
These injuries, the dull ache in my knees from two patella damaged beyond repair (different injuries though! I’m REALLY GOOD AT THIS!), the stabbing pains in my shoulders from rotator cuffs ripped and healed and ripped again, the biting snap of the osetoathritis that is slowly taking my hands? This is from working out, from martial arts, from being stubborn, clumsy and heedless, for caring more about my strength and skill than my ability to bend my fingers when i’m sixty.
I’m dissolving, being pared away, reduced to bone and sinew and hope. And I feel bad even talking about it, because I chose this. I could walk away. I could stop…
…except I can’t.
I’ve tried. I got jittery and frantic. I lost my mind.
So I keep on, doing these things I love and need and respect and yearn to be good at.
I stay, and I lie awake feeling the pain, my hands unable to flex and grab, my knees distant knives in the darkness.
I lie awake and hope into the universe, that I will achieve something serenity before I destroy myself beyond all repair.
It’s tough not being able to sleep.
I have to get up to train in the morning.