Having been raised in the school of stiff upper lip like so many others, I’m reluctant to write much about pain, it feels whiny and weak. Everybody has problems, why should I be any different? I should grin and bear it, smile in the face of adversity, put on a happy face.
Hiding isn’t something I want to do anymore. We all know what it was like when we were drinking, that grim pretense that everything was just hunky dory. It eats your heart out, numbs you to your own feelings. You become a shell of a person. I’d like to be known for who I am, not who I’m pretending to be.
Today, I am in pain and aggravated and sad. I’ve just come back from a short walk on the hill. Despite doing stretching and exercises first, loading with medication/herbs/aromas/etc. etc., using my cane–all the tricks I’ve learned over the years of dealing with a chronic back problem, I hadn’t been walking more than 10 minutes before I had to get off my feet. Fortunately, a bench was nearby with a beautiful view of the city and huge eucalyptus trees shimmering in the wind. I sat down, turned on my Mp3, and there was Leonard Cohen singing…
Like a bird on the wire
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
…which got me thinking about that sense of freedom I got from alcohol so long ago, and how beguiling it was. I sat there listening, feeling mournful, realizing how much easier it is to conjure up sorrow than joy, how much I missed those alcohol-induced elated flights. They got shorter and shorter as the years went by and finally disappeared.
I know there’s no going back, but–no more hiding here–if I could, I would.