Here is the sum of it:
I see you.
Yes, I see you.
And no more conversation than that. Head back into the book, pen back to scribbling whatever sentence it left mid scrawl. There is no need to get into all that. I don’t need to know the details. We don’t have to gossip.
Yesterday I walked two miles because I let my pain come with me without talking. I was busy trying to arrange an immensely rare night out among two immensely rare old friends, so I did not even notice how far I’d gone until it was too late. Yes, this meant I was one of THOSE people on the trail, face down in their phone, missing all the wildflowers and frequently running the stroller right into them, but please don’t judge me too harshly. Rule one!
By the time I realized I had made it all the way to the Rowing Center, I turned to my pain and shouted, “Why didn’t you stop me! Now we will be late!”
“I tried,” he snapped back, throbbing and red, “you were so excited and distracted by your friends and your plans you weren’t listening.”
“That’s weird. That doesn’t sound like me at all. Am I manic!?”
“No. We’re not at the mall and you’re not going very fast. It’s kind of embarrassing.”
“Well, then gold star for us! Let’s turn around!”
As I limped, proud and slow back toward the Y, Eye of the Tiger and visions of #powerrehab star charts dancing in my head, I was reminded of the classic motherhood and powerlifting truism: it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger. I stared at the flowers and I glanced at my pain and I decided that if it has to always be there, then so be it. It is welcome to murmur through the bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes. It is welcome to grumble to itself through ladies’ night. And I am welcome to be all of those places, too, ignoring him.
Without scraping the scar tissue and screwing bones together, my pain is not going to go away (and even then, no promises). Without a lobotomy, my bipolar disorder and anxiety are not going to go away. My body is my body. This is my spacious place. I have to trust that my boundary lines make room for the mother and the writer and the wife and the friend and the pain. We can all live here.