I am finding it hard to be grateful for pain. I mean, really, who is all, like, yay pain! except in certain situations that are maybe consensual and between adults and not at all the kind of experience that I am talking about here.
I’m talking about chronic pain. Which can be unfun.
I have been feeling super resentful of it because it is cramping my style. On Saturday I was out with some friends. Because of pain, I had to stop and go home 2 hours into our fun day. I made it through lunch and around one block of shopping before the nerve endings said, “No more.” That was super frustrating for me. I had a lot of resistance and anger on the ride home, which made the nerve endings even angrier. I came home, and I began journaling about my frustration in my nice clean shiny new journal. I had a moment of not wanting to put that stuff down in the clean white pages, of not wanting to journal anything negative or painful there. I had to ask myself what that was about. Why was I so resistant? Not acknowledging it doesn’t make it less real. It doesn’t make it less present. It just stuffs it out of sight and makes it act out in even more awful ways to get my attention.
Resistance makes it hurt more, in more damaging ways.
I’m grateful for that lesson. The one that is trying to teach me that it is okay to let the negative out into the light because it does not make me unlovable or unworthy of living. The lesson that says my negative and positive experiences do not define me. I define me, always, by what I choose around those things, and who I choose to be in the face of them.
All the experiences of our lives are worthy of marking, of writing down, of learning from… they all have value.
Think “willow tree” not “mighty oak.” Sink your roots as deep as you can into fertile ground. Art, music, love, friends, the stuff that feeds you. And then be willing to bend with the storms.
I had a really good time on Saturday. Two hours of hanging out with my friends in the sunshine was super therapeutic and fun. We had epic noms. It is, as ever, my choice to either celebrate the two great hours I had or get bound up in resentment about not having more.
I opt for celebration.