My husband Mike says he would be interested to see what it would be like for me to write about change and loss in the first person. He says I might try using “I” statements and stuff instead of palming off all my emotions on a fictional “friend” named Pumpkin. I said I didn’t want to do that because I would just cry and be sad and who wants to read that or feel that way? Actually what I said was, “Should I roast these red peppers or save them for tomorrow?”
So, it’s not like I do what I recommend doing all the time. I avoid. I get upset and stew instead of noticing, breathing in and out, and re-centering. I wiggle out and deflect. I chase solutions on the outside instead of working with my own feelings on the inside and re-framing. I get into other people’s issues. I’m human.
My sister Rosie called me the other day upset that her ten-month-old son Mason was not “mirroring” with older men with beards. She was thinking of taking him to the doctor and I said no. “Check yourself before you wreck yourself!” I said. And she understood. She said, “I am just so worried about him developing a beard neurosis.” I asked her, “Really? Are you really worried about that?”
And she took a breath and admitted that no, she wasn’t really worried about that. That Mason’s perfection in every other way reflected his emotional sturdiness and overall wellbeing and this was probably a phase he’d get through. What she really was worried about was whether or not she was doing a good job.
“Ah hah!” I said, because dealing with worry about not being good enough is something I totally know all about. And I listed all the wonderful things about her and her husband and her child and I said that worry was normal, very normal, and we just keep going.
I have no idea whether or not she felt better but I was grateful for the distraction from thinking about my grief over losing my massage therapist. I am worried that without him I will forget what it’s like to relax my upper left shoulder, the physical repository of lifetimes of woe. I did not even know I was squeezing it all the time when I started working with him. It moved on its own disconnected from the conscious controls.
I did not know why I hurt all the time, in my shoulder, and in my hips, my lower back, my left ankle, my left knee, my wrists, my neck, and on and on. Body parts like inconsolable crying babies. Just hurting. I went to see doctors, got MRI’s but they found nothing. And yet there was pain. Floating physical pain all the time. I thought that was just how I was built. I thought that’s what it meant to be me.
But with this work, from this guy, I have learned to feel better, much better, in my body and my mind. I notice when I am holding up my shoulders and I can move them down, let them go. This body does not have to hurt. This life does not have to hurt. I can feel good. Life can feel good, awesome, blissful.
But stuff comes back, pain comes back, and I need support remembering how to feel ease and comfort, remembering how to keep breathing, deeply. So I don’t want to lose the thing that has helped me with all that. And yeah, now that I know what’s possible I will do what I need to do to keep that feeling of okay-ness, that feeling of flow, alive in my body without this particular helper person around.