I had a post ready to go for today. It was about the time I got thrown off an airplane because of my skin.
And then two things happened.
Thing the first: somebody linked to this.
Thing the second: I didn’t get to bellydance class tonight. Instead, I was curled up on the bed, unable to stand, let alone execute a 3/4 shimmy with snake arms. I’m still not moving around very much. In an attempt to distract myself, I went online and happened to read that article.
And it occurs to me that the author missed the point entirely. Which is entirely expected, given that he is not a patient. Was it a major accomplishment that I managed to finally get off the bed and walk to my computer desk? Yes. Does it make me brave or exceptional? No. It makes me somebody in pain. The fact that Michelangelo had pain doesn’t make me hurt any less.
If you really want to understand our pain, the first step is to acknowledge that we hurt. And that it’s OK for us to not be OK with that fact. Telling us about those who overcame doesn’t stop our pain. Making us into brave brave little soldiers doesn’t help us. Telling us to be “positive” has no meaning without acknowledging that we also may be feeling negative.
And that’s the point. There is nothing brave or virtuous about having chronic pain. It doesn’t make me humble or noble. It makes me cranky, angry and tired. And I’d bet that Frida Kahlo would agree with me.