I like to tell myself that I am not in pain. I like to tell myself that my body didn’t change. I like to pretend that my muscles are as strong as they were. I like to think my body could perform how it did. I like to pretend I am the woman people used to see when they looked at me. I perform wellness, not just to others but to myself. It permeates every part of my life, this fact that I pretend to be that same old Samira: unchanged, unscathed, resilient. I am, in fact, fooling you, and fooling myself.
Yesterday I did a workout that I loved. But I did it at a fraction of the weight I used to use and my head pounded violently with every movement, the pain radiating down the right side of my back and shoulders. With each movement and each wince I thought, don’t let it show, act casual… Breathe through the pain I told myself. You can do this. And for a moment I got into my head, sad and distraught at my lost strength that seemed to be replaced with only pain and sheer force of will. Then, the coach looked at me and said, “don’t think that you can’t do it, if you need to adjust you adjust, but go in believing you can get through it.” Ok, I thought. Don’t stop at fear, just try. If you fail you fail but at least you didn’t fail yourself.
So I’d been fooling myself that I was a certain way and that my pain was just a figment. But in that moment of diminished strength but renewed power I saw that, the woman I am now? She’s even better than the one I was, because she fought to be here and she is taking this borrowed time that she is living and fighting to be who she wants to be.
I don’t want to be fooling myself. It’s ok to feel this life in all it’s joy and pain. Sometimes I think that all this pain, the surgery, the physical losses, the emotional toll, the aches, it’s just life trying to get us to feel it. To feel the good and the bad. To live each moment with the full weight of it. To notice every nuance and celebrate them in turn. Its life stopping is from walking around numb, forcing us to face ourselves. It’s a slap in the face that says, dammit you can feel! You’re here!You can live if you just feel life fully with every breath. So, I breathe through the pain and get out there and try to live.
Or maybe not, who knows, I could just be fooling myself with that too.
Peace and love,