I have a secret, more of my day is spent in pain than without. I don’t like to show it so I plaster a big smile on my face and try to be everyone’s cheerleader. Sometimes this mask helps. Sometimes I just hide from the world so no one will actually see what’s really going on. Most of this pain is from the near-fatal car accident that I was involved in 11 years ago (read about it here). There are other factors that bring me pain as well. Pain from what and who I’ve lost in my life. Pain from what I wanted but never got. Pain from what I never wanted but got instead. Pain from watching people I love suffer. And the pain of motherhood, because I never know if I’m doing anything right.
The pain from my accident can be brutal at times. Over 11 years my body has almost gotten used to it but there are definitely some days that are worse than others. The nerve damage, joint damage, arthritis everywhere I broke a bone, the slipped disc, the ankle and heel that still needs surgery, you get the picture. I choose not to take any narcotic pain pills. I feel as if I have lost enough of my life that I don’t want to sacrifice another day. I try to control the pain by eating whole foods and avoiding certain foods if possible. But I have traded off my addiction to narcotic pain pills for an addiction to food. It’s a daily battle and sometimes I lose. The book Eat to Live is one of the best resources I have found for how food can affect the body’s healing process. I also try to workout to stay strong and for joint pain relief but this is a daily struggle as well. The heating pads, the ice packs, and my Sharper Image Shiatsu Massage Pillow are other methods I use and I am constantly looking for other natural remedies.
Another source of pain from my accident is the fact that I walk with a cane. I know that I shouldn’t be embarrassed or whatever but I don’t like it. There I said it. When I walk in somewhere and it’s the first thing people notice, it still stings. You would be surprised how many strangers, even on the streets, stop me to ask why I use a cane. I have come up with many one-liners to avoid the whole, “I was hit by a big truck” conversation. I no longer feel the need to disclose this to every person I come into contact with. I don’t know if I want to know them like that and get into a conversation about everyone they know who has ever been injured (this is where the conversation always goes). If I actually speak to this person for a certain period of time (over 15 minutes) I will get into this conversation, until then I use the “I’m a pimp” line. I can honestly say that the reaction I got from people was much worse when I was in a wheelchair.
I still feel pain over my lost career. When my first husband and I separated, the only thing I had was my son and my car. I had to move back to my parent’s house and start all over. Within 2 weeks I had a part-time job in a department store making minimum wage. Within 3 months I had gotten a promotion and moved out of parent’s house. I kept working my ass off for the next 5 years and I was doing incredibly well. I had just purchased my first home and a new Volvo. Then I got hit by a big truck. The career that I had built all by myself was gone. The friendships I had built with my coworkers was gone. My situation became a little too much to handle (even for me) so I can only imagine the energy I was putting out into the universe. I was miserable so I cannot blame anyone for distancing themselves from me.
While I was recovering I lost my mother. My mother was my best friend and one of the most incredible women that I ever knew. She spent her entire life taking care of everyone but herself. She spent her last days taking care of me and I will never forgive myself for not taking better care of her in return. She was the one person I could always count on to have my back. If I didn’t like something, she didn’t either. No questions asked. If I didn’t like my son’s teacher, she didn’t either. If I didn’t like a particular person on American Idol, she didn’t either. She took care of my son when I went back to work so without her I never would have had a career. She was also the funniest person I knew. I believe she passed her sense of humor to my son because he is the funniest person alive.
I think everyone can relate to the pain of not getting the things we have wanted in life. I never got the 25 year wedding anniversary with the white picket fence and the house full of kids. I also never got that 6 figure job I was working my ass off for. I did get two broken marriages, a house I don’t know how to take care of, a husband who was a drug addict and suffered every day of his life, parents who passed away, and early retirement because of the whole big truck incident.
I also got a beautiful, magical son. It’s the most beautiful pain I have ever felt. Some days I look at him and I think he’s a unicorn. Never in trouble, doesn’t drink or do drugs, and very creative. The only parties he has have been at my house. They involved 12 packs of soda and him cooking his famous homemade macaroni and cheese with his friends. Somedays I look around at the mess he has made cooking said macaroni and cheese and I wonder, “Where did I go wrong?” “Why doesn’t he clean up?” “Will he ever learn to be responsible?” But if this is what I’m dealing with, I’ll take it. He’s probably going to live with me until he’s 45 but again, I’ll take it.
This is my big secret. If I had to guess, most of the world probably walks around in pain. It may be a little different than mine but it is still there. All we can do is be grateful for the life we have and live it to the best of our abilities. We must never lose hope that the life we have been given can still be a life as good if not better than the one we thought we would have. Keeping a positive attitude not only improves our own peace of mind but it can also help us heal. And always be kind to one another. We are all fighting our own battles and it is our very own battle to fight. No one can do it for us and it is selfish to lay that responsibility on the rest of the world. I choose to push myself to keep getting better because I have been bitter and it was a miserable existence. This is why I choose to plaster a smile on my face and be everyone’s cheerleader. Sometimes we all need a little encouragement to keep fighting.
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