I have not blogged lately.
This is mostly because I have been on vacation and have been hard at work on the memoir. My legs, however, have not been on vacation, regardless of what the rest of me is doing.
Several times on my vacation I had to sit quickly before my legs gave out under me. It would happen at the most inconvienient times: in line to buy coffee, walking to the store, while talking to someone.
I tried to sit quietly, if such a thing can be done; I tried to sit without drawing attention to myself. I know the concern of others is well meant but I still find it embarassing.
I don’t know why this is. After living with Cybill Paulsen for so long, that dasderdly twin of mine, you would think that I would be used to it by now; you would think, wouldn’t you, that I would be fine with what resides in my body.
But the truth is I’m embarassed for others to see me in pain. I think it’s a pride issue, that I have too much pride to even let on that I’m feeling anything. I don’t want to be a bother to others; their sympathy sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable.
I have always been this way though. Downplaying pain in a soft, quiet way. Once, when my brother broke a finger on my right hand and my skin had gone white and clammy, I said that it was throbbing slightly, that it was tingling.
In reality, my entire arm was numb and I could feel every movement, every scraping of the bones. It is the same with my legs, the same with my Cerebral Palsy.
I don’t want to be a bother to others, I don’t want to dampen them down, bring them down to my level. I don’t want them to have to feel what I feel; I need to keep it within my skin, to keep it to myself, rather than see the pain that is in their eyes.
This can sometimes have dire consequences, though. For about three days of my vacation, I existed in a blue fog, a sadness that seemed to seep into me. I would go for walks in the sun, have beer on my patio, work on my art; nothing would alieviate the fog floating around my head.
My good friend Dorothy told me that holding onto pain is what causes depression. Keeping it in is what brings us down.
I thought of something I could do to ease the pain inside me and help lift the fog. An idea came to me part way through the third day.
I drew a picture of myself; I tried to draw myself in pain: all rough angles, all harsh lines, my pen gouging the paper, ripping it in places, lines pressing into the other pages, leaving an indentation on the other paper like a shadow.
I folded the paper and put it in my pocket and went for a walk, my legs spasming painfully. I breathed in and out as I walked, making sure not to count out loud. Too many people look at me as it is.
I stopped in a park near Parliment Hill and took the paper out of my pocket. It was a windy day, the breeze was cool and the sun was warm. I remember it like a kiss on my skin.
I ripped the paper into small, smaller, smallest pieces, picturing the blueness leaving me and having it replaced with something bright. Something gold, vibrant and alive.
I raised my hand to the wind and let the breeze take the pieces; they littered the ground like snow or confetti and I remember thinking at the time:
Just take things one step at a time, one step at a time, one step at a time.
Strangely, afte the last piece of paper left my hand, I felt better.
Awww…Jamieson. You know, there was a movie..it was a Christmas movie and can’t think of the name of it for the life of me. Saving Christmas? Anyway, the story goes the man is grown and he puts all his problems down on a piece of paper and goes to his house he grew up in and lit the paper. Of course, the guy in the house comes out and hits him on the head with a shovel, but the point it, I think it’s a letting go ritual. Funny how you would think all this is is a piece of paper and just burning it or tearing it isn’t going to do a thing, but you would be simply amazed. It’s like when I tell everyone to go outside and say out loud what they really want and it happens, but you have to be at a state where nothing else will get you out of your bind.
I know your legs hurt and you can bitch and cry all you want…we won’t think any less of you. You are a remarkable person and when you feel pain, we feel pain. Your blog is very cleansing to me because it really makes me realize there is still hope when there doesn’t look like there’s a drop of it anywhere around. As much as you don’t believe this, you are remarkable. Of all the people in the world, you are unique and really stand out. It is such a pleasure to know you, to work with you, to read your blog and to see how humble you are in all this.
If there is anything I can do for you, I am so there, so you just remember that. A karmic soul mate is a very important thing to have. ;o)
Jamieson: To have such constant pain is so wearing on a person’s body AND spirit. It has diminished neither, in your case. I really get irritated when a member of my lupus support group calls me to complain about the latest ache or pain, and she can’t come to our group meetings, but she CAN volunteer at a local charity hospital……I want to tell her she doesn’t know what real pain is, and what coping with pain can do for you. Pain does something TO you, but coping does something FOR you — it makes you stronger in your faith and your belief in yourself. You are a productive member of society, in spite of everything, and I consider it a privilege to know you.
Keep going, friend. You have lots of us walking with you.
Wow, I never knew that Cerebral Palsy was a painful disease. Thanks for this post…..it is painful for you to write these words, but beneficial I hope. Good luck with your memoirs.