I'm always surprised by how a bad neck day can change the way I think and feel, even the way I speak. Today was a bad neck day. I have chronic pain from a car accident that happened when Kai was three months old. That's fifteen years ago in December. It was a teardrop fracture and it hurt for a long time, especially because I was supposed to rest but I had a baby to care for, so rest was not possible, at least in terms of not using my arms. And then I went and had another baby right away.
All that is long in the past, but the pain is very much in the present. It's rare to have a day without pain, but some days are worse than others. Bad neck days. If I'm squinting a lot, or moving my head around, or you find me lying on the kitchen floor; chances are it's a bad neck day.
I've been thinking about chronic pain over the last year, more ready to call it as it is. (I think I spent the first fourteen years assuming I would be better in a month or so.) I'm doing more these days (some days) about exercise, massage, and supplements. (Magnesium citrate, and it has to be citrate.)
But mostly I want to enjoy my days and want to learn how to think past pain. Today was rough. I had a Thai lesson and could barely gather my thoughts. I forgot English words too. And I felt like moaning along, rolling instead of walking, not like cooking or being a standing and walking human being. Because on bad neck days, my neck doesn't feel capable of holding my head up, and really that's the least a neck should do. (You had only one job!)
It's less like a little piece of the day, and more like a puked on filter that drops over the world. Kids are more annoying with their fingers tapping on the table (little annoying tappy fingers) or their voices and faces. Food is an issue, rather than a joy. Work is hard because it requires sitting or standing or looking at things.
But I am aware that many people live with pain, or with sickness, and do it well. I want to live well, whether or not I get rid of this completely.
Today I tried being aware of pain and how it was effecting me, noticing it and then moving outside of it and into the rest of the world. So, guiding meditation this morning, I realized how much of my mental space was taken up by my bad neck, then moved out into the bird song I could hear, especially those gorgeous spotted doves cooing on the grass roof. I watered seedlings and thought about how pulling the hose hurt a bit, but how the earth smelled so good. And then on the scooter I thought about how the day felt endless when all I wanted was to crawl back into bed, but how the air was my exact favorite kind of air; full of golden light, cooling at the end of the day, reminding me of poems I have read in other places in the world.
This evening I made patterns with shape blocks with Isaac, and I asked Chinua to give me a quick massage, and I send Kai for takeout on the street, because the kitchen seemed like too much to handle. And I guess pain can make life less easy, but it can't really take away beauty or love, and it can only take away my sense of humor if I let it, so pain can't win. Even chronic pain.
What about you? Have you found anything that helps with pain?
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