Maybe I’m doing this wrong. Maybe I should just accept my fate of chronic pain and learn not to be angry at a body that has betrayed me. Learn not to push for more or want more, and simply accept less and less of myself.
Somebody in a pain forum linked to this article in Popular Psychology as a good mindset for those of us with chronic pain. Which seems to advocate for just that approach to the genetic hand that I have been dealt.
Leaving aside for the nonce that Popular Psychology should just be considered the National Enquirer of psychology publications, this goes back to one of my biggest frustrations with advice that not only do we chronic pain patients get from family, friends and physicians, but that we give each other.
Yes, there are days when we simply have to accept that we cannot have All the Things. That we cannot do what we could two, five or even 10 years prior. This is simply the way things are.
But, unlike what the author of this piece seems to believe, I fundamentally cannot — nay, will not — accept that this means I must learn to “love my fate.” I may have to accept it. I may have to learn to live with it. I will never, until about two weeks after I am planted six feet under, love my fate.
The day I love my fate is the day I give up trying to push myself to do more. It is the day I give up bellydancing. It is the day I give up yoga. It is, in short, the day I give up. The day I might as well be planted those six feet under.
On days I can dance, I will dance. On days I can do a “tree” pose in yoga, I will be a tree. On the days I can’t, I will tell myself that tomorrow I will dance. Tomorrow I will be a tree.
But I will never, not once, mistake accepting not being able to do now for not being able to do *forever.*
And that, mon amies, is the mistake pain patients tell each other. We confuse one for the other. Because we cannot have All the Things now, we learn to “love our fate” and believe we will never have them again.
There will come a day I can no longer dance. There will come a day I cannot be a tree. But every morning, I will do my damndest for today to not be that day.
I will, as Dylan Thomas says, rage against the dying light. I will rage with furious anger, I will rage with terrible joy.
But I will rage.