Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

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.

Peace, out

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10 Responses to Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

  1. Ellen says:

    Thank you for this. I’m 9 years in, no diagnosis, rapidly deteriorating. Flabbergasting the last of the doctors and almost starting to feel hopeless. I’ll keep this entry in mind on those dark days.

  2. glwilson says:

    Yes, this.

  3. anotheranon says:

    Well, well said. If you don’t have it this second, ask what’s good NOW and build on that.

  4. Tori says:

    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.

    Yep. And on the days where I am in between, I will figure out how to use a chair (or a strap or a block or another prop) to get myself into fucking tree.

  5. Kathleen says:

    I applaud striving each day to accomplish the most for that day.

    I don’t think loving the situation is necessary, but I hope you can let some of the anger go, because I’ve found in my own life that anger uses energy I’d rather spend on things that bring me joy.

    And I find resounance between your post and this one: http://much-ado.livejournal.com/2218047.html
    Obviously forgiving a person is not the same as forgiving your body, but there are some parallels.

    • JMixx says:

      In Jennifer’s Limited World View, anger creates energy. If the energy is not used, it can morph into frustration, and sometimes ultimately depression. If used without thought and care, it can lead to…”complications”. If directed into changing something about ourselves or the situation to make things better, it can be a powerful force. (Disclaimer: the term “Limited World View” means that there may be exceptions, and that I make no guarantee that the extent of my experience is sufficient to characterize every instance of anger. It is a theory, and as such is a
      work in progress.)

  6. If you accepted your “fate” and stopped fighting, you wouldn’t be you. I rather like the you that you are – you inspire me to try harder.

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