Clearing My Head About Pain

Athens, Greece

I was watching YouTube the other day when I happened upon a video of Pink on “Ellen.” To summarize, Pink said that she needs pain to make beautiful art. Ellen asked something like,

“Well, then what do you do when everything is going well?”

To which Pink responded something like, “Look around. There is enough pain in the world.”

I agree.

Salt Lake City, Utah

In fact, if all I wrote were happy awesome things like my tall blond boys are equally beautiful and awesome to me and everyone else; my marriage is the very best; I am healthy; I exercise; I do not age; I am my goal weight (even though I eat a lot of sugar); we travel all over the world; and of course, Dave and I have mind-blowing sex on a regular basis, including great orgasms (for both of us), I suspect you might want to hurl a knife at my eye, or better, if you are less violently inclined, you might mumble something softly under your breath like, “bitch.” I know I might.

In fairness, please let me share the painful reality: I am not my goal weight (and probably never will be). Regarding my awesome sons, recently someone stated,

“you know son apple is better looking than son orange, and you just have to deal with that fact.”

Then this person proceeded to support their assertion about my better-looking son, because (obviously) I knew it too. Ouch! That is some hardcore, mama-bear pain! Oh, Oh and I have tried Botox in my forehead (and really liked it). Dave and I fight. I cry. He looks at his iPhone. We do have sex (thank God)! We also fart during sex. I never wear lingerie. I may or may not compose a to-do list during foreplay, and my legs are rarely shaved, or better, they are often stubbly.

Budapest, Hungary

Hey, and I have also certainly rolled my eyes a time or two after I see a friend’s Instagram perfect bikini shot captioned with some humble brag like,

“Silly me for posting this bad photo. I am usually so shy about posting pictures of myself.”

(Screw you yoga, Cross-Fit, and “shy” friend with a perfect body. You win!). No. I am not writing about jealousy. Nor, do I want to. It is fair to envy.  I am writing about pian. We are human and I imagine most of the time our frustrated jealousy may just be reflections of how we feel about our own lives.

Maui

It is funny (not funny at all), after we attended the funeral of Eli’s friend, Eli said something like, “Hey, did you see so and so and his mom?”

I was like, “Yes, I did.”

To which Eli, said, “Isn’t weird that even at a funeral they had to act all better than everyone, like their pain was more important. The kid gave me shade and his mom was not very nice to you.”

I agreed and actually wondered the same thing. I was like,

“Why did they think they were more important? A kid committed suicide because he felt like he did not fit in. And as we were there to honor this young man, it appeared that this mom and son decided that it was the right time to remind us that we were not good enough, that we did not fit into the world as well as they did.”

Weird. I hope they are not people who think they are better than the rest of us. In fairness, maybe they are so used being on the top of the pecking order that they do not notice. I hope that is what it was. I  realize as I write this that I need to recognize how I convey myself to others. I need to wake myself up and play fair. Do I make people feel less than? Probably? I hope not. If I have, I am very sorry.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales

Nevertheless, I think the experience Eli and I had at the funeral is an interesting moment to deconstruct. I also think that is why writing pain (and awkwardness) is not only safe, it is compelling. Sadly, I imagine I am not the only one who has felt less than or rejected. I also imagine (hope) that when I share my own vulnerably (pain), my guess is that you may relate. It is compelling. In fact, no matter where we sit on the cool scale, the socio-economic hierarchy, or the righteousness ladder, we all know pain. Further, I would argue that showing our pain is a gateway to revealing our empathy.

Hold up. I say this with a strong caveat. If revealing your pain is all about,

“my pain is worse than your pain,”

then I think you need to step out of your self-centered cave, look around and see that you may have missed the boat, or the world exploding around you.

Russell, New Zealand

Ultimately, (because this is kind of a long, streaming thought), I think the incredible beauty of our world is connection.  And pain seems to be the catalyst for that connection. My pain allows me to relate to your pain. Sure (and another caveat), obviously there are many many people who have experienced pain that I cannot even imagine. Where I can relate (love) these people is by reaching outside of myself and showing them that I also have known pain.

And then we are able to LOVE!