When someone breaks their leg, gets a tattoo or has a minor surgery they are instructed to take it easy, take these medications, do these simple steps and “before you know it, you’ll feel just fine.”
With chronic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis or other “lifetime” illnesses; looking forward to a day without the viscous symptoms fades. We don’t fall asleep saying “next week” I’ll be fine. We fall asleep saying “please God, make tomorrow bearable”. We stop making vacation plans, travel plans, life plans. Goals fade, production fades, life…. Fades.
We stop talking about it, because there are no more words… and likely, no more ears to hear. Just as a teenager shuns an old person, the common, able bodied person cannot deal with one who “brings them down”. It’s nature. Leave the sick wildebeest behind for the lioness to claim For we will slow down the herd. Soon enough, weak minded friends continue to mix with the herd, blending in and leave us to contend with the lioness; alone. They wish to avoid the cold, harsh reality that we bring with our words and our actions.
This leaves the strong willed people in our life, the ones that love us deeply. Be as it may, we, the chronically damaged, want to avoid another casualty… so we suck it up and internalize the outward vocalization of agony. The lioness is never far behind.
We stop crying about the angry, searing, stabbing pain only because we’ve ran out of tears. Unless we sleep, then the tears come without our consent. And the lioness smells the pain. We wake our partner with cries.
We “stop looking sick” because, eventually; life goes on. Our tears have dried, our black circles can be hidden, our hair, tied hastily in a knot looks like we just don’t care. (Eventually, we don’t) Our limp… Can be carefully disguised. For eventually we have to get up and grocery shop, make a meal, visit family, take a shower. Eventually, we learn to deal. The lioness sees through the mask.
Unless we are alone. Alone is when the tears come, the motion stops and the facade falls away. We can stop protecting others from our pain. We writhe and cry. Loathe and fumble. Crawl. Sweat. Die inside. The lioness… Is among the weeds. We wish she would take us.
Pump me full of pills so I just don’t care.
Pour me out into the stark white sand with a drink in my fist and dance for me all ye who see me
because the lioness will eventually claim me…
I will welcome her jaws with open arms
her sweet hot breath I will breathe in like fire
she will be the only way that I can truly escape this cage!
Violently she will shake me
I will be free.