Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grumpy to grateful

As in I am. Hugely. Unjustifiably. But I am.  And I'm not entitled to it, I know.
I had a regrettable massage last night, my own fault (lying on the table it finally hit me: the why of why I hate massages and have never ever been able to enjoy them my entire life. A massage table reminds me eerily of an operating table. You're naked, exposed, and for me, it's scary. It really is).
I love when Mike or my sister massages my neck, truly, or my friend L.
But I'm sitting up. Clothed. In control.
Lying there, especially when ticklish/cold/warm/kind-of in pain/whoops a very sore muscle/ow that f*cking really hurt/ and then the one reaction I did not have: Stop the whole tired exercise and say, okay, can't do this.
I walked into the clinic feeling the best I had in fourteen days and left in pain.
I drove home.

And then, with poor Mike on the phone, having to listen to me when he's 700 miles (that's 1100 kms to you and me) away, I had a complete meltdown. Complete.
Crying. Hysterically. I had to hang up. I sat down in the bathroom, on the closed toilet seat, and
clutched kleenex while the tides of frustration, despair, and old-fashioned, "I give up" washed over me.

I calmed myself. Well, pills had to help, I ashamed to admit. Also, I took two muscle relaxants. So much for living pill-free (wow, I made it two whole f*cking days). 

Stood up, went to the kitchen,  the freezer to be exact, to my friend the ice pack, and slapped it on my smarting neck. I'd deal with my arm and leg next (yes, whole right side  of my body. I get it. RMT's want to TREAT you. But I don't want TREATMENT. I want this exact part of my neck and back rubbed LIGHTLY and I don't want you to touch ANYTHING else).  While I was taking out the ice pack I noticed, wayyyy in the back, a lone bottle (7/8 full) of Ketel One vodka. Took it out too along with some ice (chardonnay not going to cut it).
Wandered over to my little bar, grabbed the Vermouth, threw all ingredients into a short juice glass. 
Back to the kitchen (it's one step from the bar, really. Laughable) combed the fridge for olives. No dice. Capers? Not in a martini. No lemon either.
I gave up caring.

Living room now, I've traversed the length of my loft, sanity slowly returning as I 'fix it'.
Sink down on the couch, ice pack, martini, cell phone. Called Mike back and convinced him I was no longer on the ledge.
But God. Was I ever frustrated.
I let the whole scene ruin my evening. I had insomnia (again).

I watched the Housewives of Vancouver but even that didn't give me my normal jolt of horrified fascination. I turned on my computer (it took about two years to boot up), and opened an email.
You see, this is why they invented gratitude. This might even be why we even HAVE evenings like this, even though we know we are not remotely entitled to them. There are far far worse things than having a crappy massage experience that you engineered yourself (the masseuse, when we were done, said she sensed my discomfort. Me, in my head, Then would it have killed you to have said something? I didn't say anything either. She told me that somewhere inside me, I have a blockage. Really, is this something to say to a person awaiting an MRI? I have all sorts of nightmare scenarios that involve just that, so ....thanks?).  I'm adverse to touch in the best of times. Take away my creature comfort of endorphins for a couple of weeks and here I am, the monster (is that a full moon looming?) you see before you.

Back to the email.
My friend had not just emailed me, but sent me a letter, one of those pieces of writing where you say, damn, how come I couldn't write that?  It was almost a short story. A really good one.
A slice of a life.
A portrait of pain.
It's hard to write about pain, it really is. When you can, to me, it bears acknowledging that on some level, even if it's not conscious, you are somehow getting through it.  That it's starting to ease.
This is the sense I got from my friend and her graceful words.
I'm not going to go into deep details here--it's suffice to say that her story involves something we all often struggle with--loneliness--and how there are times in life when it is more acute than other times. Those are the times where you can be knocked down by pain. When I look back on my most lonely times, through my adult life, I notice how hazy they are. That's what pain can do for you. Shade things. Smudge them. Soften.
And then, you emerge from under that cloud.
And here, my friend so disarmingly sums up how her life is right now.

At once everything that I ever dreamed of yet packaged
so very differently that I could have ever imagined.

I couldn't agree more.

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