I’ve been really angry lately and it’s a bit of a problem. Mostly because of the target of my anger. It’s me. Or, more specifically, my body.
This past year, I came closer to finding peace with this sack of bones that houses me. The Enbrel helped, I felt healthier, able to do more and when injured, I could heal in less time. Then I got something whiplash-like at the end of September and it stuck around. And got aggravated at Christmas (because there were too many hugs, fer fuck’s sake). It’s still here, making me sit still or go slow and not do what I want. Also, due to some ‘amusing’ (that’s sarcasm, folks) side effects, I’m having trouble tolerating the doses of Enbrel that I need for squashing my arthritis into a decent level of submission.
I don’t want the pain anymore – it's been with me since I was 4 and I would like for it to go away and leave me alone. I resent, with a seething, roiling rage that it keeps me from doing what I want. It’s taken too many things over the years, pillaged and burned like a Viking on PCP and I am incandescently furious that now it’s starting to make inroads on what I got back over the past year. There seems to be a part of me that believes when you’ve done it for long enough, sucked up the pain and the setbacks and the indignities with as much grace as you can manage, then the universe will say “alrighty then! Test over!” and it’ll go away. Except, apparently the bitch is too busy to pay attention and take her finger off the “harass Lene” button.
Essentially, I’m having a massive temper tantrum, complete with stomping my feet and yelling “it’s not fair!”. When I was younger, that’d usually be the point where my dad would say “and whoever promised you life would be fair?”. Then I’d mutter something about a fairy godmother, laugh and move on. And… I know. I know that there is no such thing as ‘fair’, that expecting life to treat you well just because… what? you deserve it? is a waste of time. I know that the way to some measure of serenity lies in seeking out joy and laughter and to focus on the positive.
I am terrified of going back to the bad place of 2004 and the thought makes me angry (because anger is so much easier to bear than fear) and keeps me fighting. That and sheer ornery I won’t let it win, dammit! It feels like I’m in a battle of wills with myself, that my enemy is me. I hate my immune system because it’s confused and attacking me, I hate my body for not being able to fight it off, I hate my will, which isn’t strong enough to fight it and I’m angry at every single other part of me that can’t quite figure out how to apply the maxim “I am exactly where I’m supposed to be” in a situation with this many limits.
A while back, Michelle wrote about finding an appreciation for the body in all its states. This idea has rattled around in my head for the past month, and I think it might be the way out. That I can be thankful for what my body does do, that despite the damage, it still keeps going. That I need to treat myself well, be kind to myself on bad days and enjoy being here. That I need to learn to separate my fucked up immune system from me, who not only haven’t consented to being sick, but also has no say in the matter. No power. No control. And did I mention I hate not being in control?
I feel like I’m two people: the positive, peaceful person who’s exactly where she’s supposed to be, grateful for everything, past and present, good and bad, and the dark woman, who hates and rages and despairs. I know that the more I give in to anger, the more I hurt. That the more positive I am, the easier it is to deal with the crap. I know that the universe gives you more of what you pay attention to. That this will be easier if I remember my Olympic lesson. But the darkness pulls with such power and the fight for light is exhausting. I know that this is the only place my will has control: in deciding to fight and keep fighting, to not give up, to keep seeking the light. Even when I’m tired. And I’m very tired these days.
The idea of appreciating my body in its current state, brilliant though it may be, is really hard to do when I’m this pissed at it.