WTF?

She said, “Think back over the past week. What have you observed that was odd, unusual, or just plain weird? Tell me about it…” I shrieked my response into a poem.

My cracked bones and I
danced on hot nails
for years, screaming

“WTF!”

falling and rolling
in self-defense,
just to feel sharp
steel stab spine
and pierce gut.

For years, I’ve screamed
of my wrinkled psyche
and arthritic will—

you’ve heard nothing.

But when 40 springs kiss
silvery wisdom into my hair,
you say, “I’m here for you.”

“WTF?”

.
the
(not so) wee notes…
– I’m stating that this poem is autobiographical (see what I did there? *cackles*). As anyone who has interacted with me for more than a month or three already knows, I’ve been seriously ill for quite some time. Because of this, I’m used to friends and family asking after my health, telling me that they will keep me in their thoughts, saying that they will light a candle for me, reminding me that they are willing to listen if I want to talk… So, when certain person said to me, “April is almost here. This will probably hit you hard. I’m here for you if you need to talk”, I assumed she was talking about my collection of chronic illnesses—the weather can be murder on some maladies. But nope, the twit was offering solace because she thought I would have a hard time dealing with the fact that I’m turning 40-years-sexy next month. I laughed hard enough to scare her. And yes, I actually said, “What the f*ck is wrong with you, woman?” Some people’s children, I tell you.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads ~ WTF?


“Glamour Puss”, by Shelle Kennedy
(I just love the expressions on their faces)

A Closed Mind Is a Threat to the Body

Most people who live with chronic pain, or with any of the hellishly labelled invisible illnesses, have probably heard the phrase “It’s all in your head”. Few statements are as hurtful or as infuriating to someone whose life is pretty much structured around the whims of his or her pain. This might explain why it’s so hard to keep an open mind towards a treatment, when doing so involves acknowledging that our heads could control how we are affected by pain.

I understand this. Every time I hear someone say that my pain is all in my head, I want to beat them half senseless, and then tell them that they are imagining the agony, the bleeding, and the missing teeth. Having said that, I wish to point out that we can never allow other people’s stupidity to take away our options. When we close our eyes, ears and minds to what we might consider strange possibilities, our bodies end up paying for our actions… or lack thereof.

I’m saying this because a few weeks ago, while I was going through a back school refresher class, the pain management therapist suggested that a way to help control how much we hurt is to “use our heads and will to stop thinking about pain all the time. Things like meditation, art, and the simple act of laughing can help our brains regulate chronic pain.”

Before the therapist finished talking, a patient started shouting at her. Telling her, “It must be nice to be you and live in a fantasy world where you feel pain only when you want to. That’s my problem with these stupid classes. They are taught by people who have never lost sleep or time to pain, people who are too dumb or blind to understand that the pain in my leg has nothing to do with my fucking head. When you feel what I feel then you can teach me something…”

The man went on and on and on… The therapist was trying to calm him down, but it wasn’t working. I made the mistake of believing that perhaps my status as a fellow cripple would allow me to get through to him, so I said, “You know, meditation and a positive attitude doesn’t really make the pain go away. But they really help me do things (writing, playing, crafting, laughing…) that make me happy, create endorphins and—”

My crippleness failed. The man screamed at me, too. He said that he “wouldn’t be in [our] shitty class if the VA hadn’t threatened to cut off [his] meds” (opiates). He called me names, questioned my sexual orientation, said I “would sing a different tune if [I] hadn’t been a paper-pusher. Some of us got really hurt. We didn’t just pull a muscle while reloading the printer…”

I just cocked my head and stared at him. I said nothing about getting run over by an ATV, or about being badly thrown from a grenade pit, or about nearly crushing my toes under the barrel of a .50 caliber machine gun. I just watched him, probably smirking—I smirk rather nastily when I’m angry. And I was furious; not at him, but at the rigidity of his mind, at his ignorance.

Much (much!) later, I felt bad for him. I found myself wishing he could open his mind enough to let in a bit of hope and a possibility or two. Because it has to be hell to live like that, believing that nothing but a numbing drug (which kills you in so many ways) is the only thing that can help ease the pain… and just for a little while.

I have no idea what everyone else does to deal with their pain. But I’m with that therapist: if we don’t put our minds into the task of making ourselves feel better, if we don’t believe that we are capable of soothing our own flesh and bones, then more treatments (if not all) will fail. The pain is not in our heads, but our heads can certainly do something about how we react to pain.

A Close Mind Is a Threat

Flashing Teeth in Melancholia’s Face

Have you ever had a conversation that leaves you staring at the person on the other end of the exchange, and thinking, I can totally see why someone would want to avoid your company?

I know how mean that sounds, my Luvs, but the person in question deserves that and perhaps a bit more. Then again, it’s likely that I wrote this while still too upset about the nonsense that oozed out of her mouth, so the things that came out of my brain’s mouth weren’t all that pretty.

Anyway, I was talking to someone, mayhap a family member *cough, cough, cough*, who called me to complain about her daughter not wanting to spend time with her. After a little while, she asked me how I was holding up (the anniversary of my little brother’s death is only a day away). I told her that I was all right, a bit melancholic, but that’s not unexpected.

“I’m going to spend the day cleansing my altar, listening to music, rearranging my books, and delighting in some gifts I got from friends,” I said. “I will be sad—I doubt anything will ever change that—but focusing on the people I still have always does wonders for my spirit.”

“I know what your problem is,” she said.

“My problem?” I said, not caring for what I had just heard in her voice. “What problem?”

“You know,” she said, her tone adding to the annoyance brewing in my gut, “not being able to find peace after your brother has been gone for 3 years. Someone who is not in The Lord’s—”

I ended the conversation before she spewed something I couldn’t forgive. And before my outrage told her what her problem was. You know, having a daughter who wants nothing to do with her?

But…

…enough of that.

I know better than to waste too much time being upset at someone who doesn’t quite understand the maliciousness that lies at the heart of her well-meaning intentions. I prefer to enjoy my altar, my music, my books and the latest yummy bits I got from friends and from moi.

I promised myself that as soon as I got rid of certain mess I had in the middle of the bedroom floor, I would reward my efforts with a jar from Touch of the Goddess. Well, the mess has been gone for some time… So I got my “Dream” jar. Isn’t it just precious?
Dream Jar, by Sharon

And because Sharon loves to hear me (read me?) squeal, she sent a Muse to accompany my jar. Look at all this black and red yumminess. I’m completely in love with my fiery Muse.
Fire Goddess, by Sharon

Here she is with a few friends… 😉
Fire Goddess, by Sharon (2)

A certain nurse surprised me with an R2-D2 humidifier and a wee Darth Vader wireless speaker. The pair makes me giggle (Rocket Raccoon and Friday Lavender joined The Force *cough*).
Vader and R2D2

My dearest Ms Misantropia sent me a deliciously red and goldish bracelet and a Dawn of the Dead deck of cards (try saying that thirteen times fast!). Can you tell how well she knows me?
Dawn of the Dead Playing Cards

Since I first saw the bracelet, I’ve been wondering about the symbols on the charms…
Bracelet

Sharon also sent me a copy of “Sometimes a Wild God”, a poem by Tom Hirons, with illustrations by Rima Staines. And guess what? You can listen to the poem on SoundCloud.
Sometimes a Wild God, by Tom Hirons

Thanks so much, Sharon, Katarina, and P. Your gifts add all kinds of sparkles to my grin. To all who have called, emailed, texted… to remind me that you are there for me if I need you, I thank you from the warmest pits of my wild witchy heart. I might have to go into my loud-audiobook-and-even-louder-music-cave, in order to digest my grief in solitude, but knowing that you are keeping me in your thoughts makes me flash happy teeth into melancholia’s face. (( 😀 ))