We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.”
I don’t know how to deal with this pain so the pain deals with me.
By overtaking my body in fits of sobbing that come from somewhere deeper than I can reach myself, a hidden place known only to the pain itself. Only pain itself can tolerate it or hold space for it. Anything else or anyone else would crumble under its weight.
So I let my pain feel my pain for me. I let it absorb my hurt and consume my agony, shielding me from being paralyzed by the grief or being swallowed whole by the sorrow.
It breathes for me, protecting me from suffocation. It somehow keeps my body from being torn in two by the wild clawing from both outside and within myself.
My pain deals with what I cannot, must not, in order for me to go on surviving. I can only suppress screams and sing silent songs from deep within.
If the sound escaped, glass would shatter and my children would be afraid. My knowing pain holds my body upright and keeps me from collapsing into a formless heap on the ground. It keeps me awake and somewhat aware of life happening all around me. It forces my lips to smile at what someone says and pushes me to care about someone else’s pain. But I can’t reside there, where my pain might surface unannounced.
Pain gives me the strength to turn the conversation away from myself so that I don’t unravel into a million threads or give away too much of my heart.
Pain lets me put it onto a shelf and wonder where I left it, giving me a respite from the burning ache and the memories. Sometimes I look for it, but I can’t find it. And I wonder…was the pain even real? Or was it imagined? Because I seem okay now without it. Until pain itself reminds me that I am not okay-not deeply. It knows when I need reminding because it knows my body better than I know it myself. And my body looks to my pain to cry out for me or it will break under the pressure. It will burst open at the cracks with too many wounds to heal all at once. And where will that leave me? Bleeding out in too many places for a hundred hands to save me.
Pain knows I need saving and it won’t ever stop fighting to see me and to heal me.
Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that pain would be my friend?
“We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.” (Cesar Chavez, “Four Winds”)