If I could, I would

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.

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6 Responses to If I could, I would

  1. cleo says:

    I am so sorry you are in pain. I hope you get some relief. I know what you mean too about its easier to conjure up sorrow than joy.
    Take care. xx

  2. Cricket says:

    It’s hard to admit we are vulnerable, isn’t it? Sometimes I have the opposite problem and admit it a little *too* often. ;)

    Have you tried not eating wheat? I stopped and within a week all my aches and joint pains and arthritis was gone.

    I hope you find something that helps!

  3. Imogen says:

    “I’d like to be known for who I am, not who I’m pretending to be.” Beautiful, and especially profound in light of the old stiff upper lip upbringing (mine was similar). Being expected to put on a happy face when in pain – either physical or psychological – does no good to anyone. You’re living and writing honestly and that’s why i’m reading. I do hope too that you find some comfort and relief from the pain xx

  4. Mary LA says:

    One of the uses of a blog for me is that we can say what goes unsaid in daily conversation or letters or over the phone. It does make a difference to say it — and perhaps robs the desire of its power.

  5. mishedup says:

    I have chronic pain too..back, which translates into sciatica and numbness in my legs and feet.
    Not fun, decidedly.
    Only now, not drinking, am I complete;y aware of it, the severity and how it bothers and limits me. Procrastination is catching up with me, and i am dealing.
    For which I am grateful.
    I am sorry you have these issues though, they are frightening as well as painful.

    • sswl says:

      Your pain sounds similar, Michele, and I feel bad for you too, Mine is from scoliosis, so isn’t going away, but can be managed. I’m just stupidly resistant to putting the necessary maintenance time into it. Bodies, like cars, are just supposed to work!

      Yeah, I notice it a lot more sober, too, but also am better at doing the exercises, etc. When it’s bad, I go into I’m-never-going-to-walk-again mode and am my own worst enemy. It’s when the fuck-it switch looks tempting.

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