He said: “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints, and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t b seee ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
The Velveteen Rabbit
The “Velveteen Rabbit” is one of my favorite stories of all time and a book I can remember my dad reading to me more times than I can count. We also had it on a tape (yes I am that old: tape recorder) so we were able to listen to it on long drives and there was just something about the story that never got old. Now reading this quote, I once again see that so many children’s books are written for adults as well. I read the above passage and certainly think different thoughts now at the age of thirty-three than I did when I was ten: I think many of you will read this as adults and especially those of you with chronic pain and read what I am reading as a thirty three year old woman who has had a hell of a journey with chronic pain and now writes to the world about her story in order to show everyone that you can live a happy life despite pain and you can do it without pain medication or a cure.
I have not yet: become as author, Margery Williams so eloquently writes in the above passage but I am in the process of “becoming.” I am not sure I would be in the process of ‘becoming’ had I not had chronic pain for most of my life and found happiness and health despite brain surgery and a life full of pain: physical and emotional as any of us know that along with chronic pain comes: depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and feelings of worthlessness. I used to break easily: bones broke, my brain bled on the day I fell but those were the easy breaks. Chronic pain caused me to break on a daily basis for about ten years: living in doctor’s offices, partying with friends just to numb the physical pain no doctor could cure, eating my feelings, crying day and night, running away, feeling that everyone in my life would be better off if I was not around. I broke more than once. My biggest break was when I hit my rock bottom of chronic pain and drove to Colorado on a whim just to escape the pain: note to all readers, you can never run away from any kind of pain: it comes from within. However, that huge break somehow landed me into the hands of the Pain Rehab Center at the Mayo Clinic in MN: where I started to rebuild and my life finally began. I no longer break easily, well maybe I do but when I break it is very short lived. A night of crying and I wake up and start over. I do not give up. I do not have sharp edges that I may have had, had I not had a lifetime of chronic pain. People with chronic pain or any invisible illness have a lot of understanding and empathy for everyone who many would judge. I have no right to judge anyone and know without a doubt every single person is fighting a battle you know nothing about. No one would look at me as I play with my family at the playground or go swimming that I have chronic pain and fight hard each and every day to manage it naturally. It is called an invisible illness: hence why looks can be quite deceiving. I am a very sensitive person and not just when it comes to me but to those who suffer as well, whether I know them or not: my hard edges had they ever been there are totally worn apart.
I am still in the process of becoming as we all are: I am real though. I am me: the good, the odd, the sensitive, the empathetic, the girl who sees the world in a different light than many who do not have chronic pain. These are the blessings of chronic pain. Even during my “difficult days” or “difficult hours” I am still able to see those blessings. I want to be so real that by the time I “become” I am so filled with joy, love and gratitude that nothing else matters but the present moment. We all need to remember that life is a journey and we are all in the process of “becoming” whether we see that or not. You will, I promise.
Have a wonderful Easter. I believe Easter should be the start of a New Year as it is the holiday of new beginnings.
Count your blessings: all of you that actually take the time to read my writings and have the courage to try anything I suggest I count you all as one of the biggest blessings in my life. Thank you: you are so much stronger than you think.