I Hate You, but I Love Me and You’re Mine… So We’ll Dance

I hurt my hip and my shoulder in the early 2000s. The injuries healed. But as it is common with injuries, some discomfort remained… Stiffness of the muscles and ache of the bones on days I hiked with a pack on my back for too many miles; spasms on weeks I got little sleep (especially if that sleep took place out in the cold and on bare ground); cramping after driving long distances… But most of the discomfort in question would subside after a good rub with arnica oil and plenty of rest.

By 2004 the discomfort became mild pain that required a couple of pain killers a week and a lot of recovery sleep. Two years later, I began having problems sitting down—the hip and shoulders began to throb often, and a pinching pain settled on the left side of my back. When 2008 arrived, I could barely sit without my left leg beginning to shake; I could do little that required the use of my right shoulder, without the latter drooping.

Today, the pain is constant: I have days when the ache is not too bad, and days when the pain keeps me at the verge of screaming. I avoid sitting, other than in my bed with just the right amount of pillows. I haven’t run in a couple of years. I can’t write longhand for more than a few minutes at a time. I don’t drive. I can’t reach across my body, carry a purse heavier than a pound or two, climb too many stairs, hold a book in front of me for too long, vacuum, carry small children on my back (the Little Princess is not amused), ride any kind of transportation without pain, and the list goes on…

I’m sharing all these in order to explain the changes you’ve probably been noticing: I started writing poems—poetry and pain dance wonderfully together, they allow each partner to look the other in the eye, and silently say, I hate you, but I love me and you’re mine… so we’ll dance. The art form is also shorter than my beloved fiction.

More changes are on the way. I’ve been setting things up, slowly and gently, as my health allows… but I never stop moving: one must never forget to move with chronic pain. I’ve made my pain part of my day. I drink my coffee with it (place my mug on a tray by my hand, so I won’t have to reach across my body). I exercise my limitations with it (write short lists and notes longhand, while pacing myself carefully). I’ve been teaching myself to delight in the bliss of the things my pain and I can do… together.

I’m trying to learn to be one with my pain. I know how silly (and terribly cliché) that sounds, but it’s the truth. I only have one body, so the pain and I must share it well.

If we are friends on Facebook or Twitter, then you already know that I just set up an Instagram account: @MagalyGuerreroInDarkerWords. This new spot will be part of my Keep Moving, Keep Enjoying the Things You Like (perhaps in smaller doses *cough*), Keep Living with Chronic Pain or It Will Kill Your Spirit.

Because that’s the thing, my Wicked Luvs, as much as chronic pain hurts, the physical agony is rarely what gets a person in the end. What offers certain destruction (if not watched carefully) is the sense of helplessness, the near loss of identity, the nudges towards alienation… the depression.

I’ve chosen to live with my chronic pain creatively: I write about it, I laugh about it, I bare my teeth at it, I cuddle on the cold floor with it, I will live with my pain. And I’m a Dominican witchy Aries Marine woman: what I say I will do, will happen… There might be some rescheduling to accommodate a bit of agony every now and then, but what’s life without a wee twist thrown into the living?

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32 thoughts on “I Hate You, but I Love Me and You’re Mine… So We’ll Dance

  1. You are my brave inspiration, my writing and creative cheerleader, you do so much to help steer your on-line companions into looking deeper, feeling wilder, and to push on through. You are my reminder in the late afternoons when my back has been hurting so bad, that it is ok to sit with my heating pad, the Sedna, and on bad days, 800mgs of Advil, as long as I get back up when it has eased and get moving so that I may move on the morrow. It is good to have your witchy Marine voice in my ear! Thank you!

    • It goes both ways, dear Sharon. I see how much you work, the wonders you craft, how the affect people… that energy travels. Having people like you close by (in spirit) makes a soul strong and then some. So thank you!

  2. I need to remember that even if (not so) big (but still real damn) tough Marines can learn to waltz with their pain in dignity, then I can bust a move within my own limitations and still be pretty happy. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    • “…dignity” is keyword here. Sometimes, we spend so much time trying to stay strong in front of the wind, that we forget that we can be just fine if we bent a bit (sometimes a lot) and sway with the gust.

  3. The mere fact that this post u have written (in my opinion) is long.. especially if u are in chronic pain…omg, u have thought in detail of ways to deal w/the most everyday task and movement we all go thru- for us not in your situation, we don’;t give it a second thought…but I know u are determined not to let it control you! and I am glad for u …Your pain will bring out the most creativeness in your writing.

    • Writing is balm. When I’m birthing ideas–for fiction, for poetry, for blogging…–my mind is busy thinking of something other than the pain. The aches are still there, but the muse is sooo good as standing in front of it and just creating. It helps so much.

  4. Darling girl, I don’t know your pain……but I do know mine. I battle with pain trying to get the upper hand, I am really a “sore” loser too. I appreciate every ounce of courage, humor and candor that you share with us. That in and of itself takes a great deal of energy. I haven’t been available lately. Just one of the things that happens when my arch enemy and best frenamy demands my full attention so I have missed many of your posts. I’ll try to catch up.
    Just know I appreciate and acknowledge all you tell of in your dance with life.
    xoxo Oma Linda

    • You’ve been in my mind so much, my Oma Linda. I know what it means when you go all quiet… I’m hoping that the pain run its course, and you find your way back to this fun mess. Smooches! ♥

  5. I had no idea you were living with chronic pain, Magaly. You look so young and beautiful…but that’s the thing, isn’t it? People say, “Well, I think you look fine” and even, as my sister told her daughter after I started receiving a disability pension, “Auntie Kay has no ambition.”
    I love your attitude. I have lived with my pain since the mid-1980s, and I’m getting old now, so the infirmities of age are beginning to creep in, too.
    I am going to follow this new blog of yours, for sure. I haven’t written in my own blog for a long time, but I’m sure you will be an inspiration.
    Hugs from here (gentle hugs),
    Kay

    • Dearest Kay, you’ve pointed out one of the most difficult things to overcome (at least for me). Because I’m young and disable, a lot of people (many times family members) will say things like, “But you don’t look sick” or “Maybe it’s all in your head”. To see the pain, the struggle being belittle and dismissed can be devastating (but you already know that).

      In the next few weeks, and probably long after that, I will spend quite a bit of time discussing the issue you’ve pointed out. I find that talking with other chronic pain sufferers helps a whole lot. We might hurt in different places, but we know what it means when someone says, “I know.”

      Gentle hugs, right back at you.

  6. Chronic pain is yet another thing I am clueless. I feel sad I don’t have the ” fix” for you, I know you will push on and explore possible solutions. Words I cannot express, but a huge hug and I am watching, even in my choked silence. xDebi

  7. I live with chronic pain too, and you are so wise to understand that accepting it and learning to live with it works far better than resisting it……that is a big corner to turn. I love “and you’re mine, so let’s dance”. That is wonderful!

    • To try to fight something that is part of us and inside us (even if uninvited) would be foolish. I spent a few years being young and foolish about pain (and other things), but life is too short to spend all our energy trying to pretend that everything is peachy. So yes, my dear Wild Woman (I love calling you that), we shall take our pain and dance with it… gently. 🙂

  8. You are an inspiration to us all.

    Dancing with pain is something that we will all have to learn to do sooner or later. It is a tragedy to have to learn so young. My dear Magaly, you do it so beautifully.

  9. It’s so hard to even imagine pain on this level(I mean daily, hourly, minutely) if you don’t have it–I have had bouts of it in my life, but nothing continual like this, and I can only be in awe of your courage, Magaly, and your determination. One’s first instinct is to run as far away from one’s pain as one can, but that is a dead end street of painkillers and mental fog which in the end can take a bigger chunk out of our lives and selves than the pain itself. I do hope that in each day you have some pain-free moments, some breathing room, and I thank you for shining on. Oh, and I love the title of this.

    • I live for those (almost) pain free moment. When whatever I’m doing is so distracting, when I’m so extremely happy, when the moon shines so bright that I forget the pain for a while. I have them, and they are precious. So thanks a million for your wish… So mote it be! ♥

  10. Thanks for your understanding comment, Magaly. I know you understand.
    Sherry (Blue Sky) and I have discussed our pain often, but we are both old and we can be drawn down by the pain, to the point of self-pity, which is useless.
    I’m hoping your point of view will be an inspiration to me and also to Sherry. I just know we old ladies can be tigers with a bit of inspiration from a younger person like you.
    Thanks for being there.
    K

    • I never used to share anything about my chronic pain. I started talking about it about a year ago, when some GI, dental, optical and neurological complications consumed all my energies… After that, I needed more than those very close to me to remind me that the world can be such a wonderful place; and that people accomplish great things all the time.

      I’m saying this because sharing is soothing; it gives strength. Maybe if we all talk about it, we will find strength in each other. I can provide the energy and daring of youth, you can provide the knowledge that you have survived (perhaps baring your teeth at times, but you are alive). If we can remind each other of these things (through poetry, prose, random rants…), we can paddle forward and enjoy this thing call living. ♥

  11. Just followed you on Instagram my dear Magaly! I have begun having chronic back pinching pain myself this year, after an injury last year. It’s not comparable to the chronic pain I know others experience, but it does hinder my daily life and it’s not fun. I accept it, or I’m learning to, and you inspire me so!

    • Yay! for Instagram friends. I just went and follow you, too. I LOVE your pictures, as you already know.

      I’m sorry you have joined the chronic pained family. But know you are not alone, and we can walk all paths in good company.

      Another thing, your pain is huge to you, so it is huge. Never compare it with someone else’s, for after a while… you might find yourself dismissing your pain as “not being painful enough”. You don’t want to do that to yourself.

  12. Magaly I wish I could do something for you! You know we are all here for you, always! Sending you loving energy ;o) I know you will keep kicking ass! I know you will keep being the brilliant person you are! Love you!

  13. I think you are so right that acknowledging our pain as a part of ourselves instead of Hiding it is a way for us all to be stronger. The group of people in this readership are the most supportive I’ve never met. Keep on baring your teeth and dancing with the pain. I shall do the same.

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