Friday, April 25, 2014

On Discomfort (Not Pain)

Discomfort I have a hard time with.
Nausea. Cramped spaces. Ongoing pain.

I've been known to faint. Not at pain.
It wasn't the pain of getting my ears pierced that made the world go black, it was the thought of it, the idea of them making a permanent hole in my body.
Pushing into my skin and flesh with a needle that was going to pierce it.

Pierce (verb)
1. to make a hole in or through (something)
2. to go through or into (something) in a forceful or noticeable way

It wasn't the blood being drawn that made me blackout. It was watching the needle go into my skin, the steel push aside my flesh. My body wasn't supposed to look like that.

I've been known to panic in crowds. I've always managed to control it, have never “lost it”, but there comes a point when it's too much and I need out of it NOW. I need to the side now and get out of my way because I need out.

Burning Man. The frenzied circle of human flesh circling and circling the burn. Pushing each other, bodies up against each other, pushing from behind forcing me into the person in front of me and there was no room to move so I pushed back. Twice around I could still breathe, was managing the panic, but when it seemed the circle would go on forever? Another round. Never ending? I had to leave. I dropped his hand. Looked him in the eye and pushed away. Out. Not forward. But out. To where the air was.

And I was free.

We fucked later, the energy of the evening needing to rut its way out and when the boys came home on their metal horses and fucked their way to sleep, they blasted Nirvana and we fucked again. Endlessly.

Jann Arden. Free concert. Legislature. BC Day. Thousands of people. Packed streets. Again, being pushed, unable to choose my own momentum. Being pushed forward into people who also had nowhere to go and all of a sudden I needed to the side. I needed out. I needed to be able to control my own movement. I needed to breathe.

I walked away from the crowds. Backwards. Away from the flow. Free.

You can't put me on a charter flight, the seat ahead of me less than a handbreadth away from my face because then there's no oxygen. And if you do that to me when I've just spent 24 hours throwing up, and other things one does when one tried not to drink the water but must have, then the panic is that I can't get out. I can't move. I can't breathe. I am stuck on this plane, this box of metal, this tiny, small space for hours and hours and I can't lose my mind because it's not as if it'll just magically be over.

So I pull up my hair. Turn the oxygen nozzle on full blast and I try to sleep through it. Wish the gravol would work faster, harder, wish time would morph.

Even down on the tarmac it's still a wait til you can get out of those doors.

Sleep. That's my trick to surviving nausea.

A ferry ride so violent people scream at the drop between waves? Gravol and sleep at the back because I do not want to throw up.

I don't know why I resist it so much but I do, I do, I do, I do and it was one of the biggest freak outs in my life to overcome every instinct and reaction and feeling I had and be sick with him there.

I threw up
in front of him
and nothing bad happened.

And I felt a lot better after, (aye, there's the rub. Fuck you very much nausea.)

But that was harder than almost anything I've done with him before or since.
I've told him as much and he nods and says he understands but he doesn't get it.
It's not a big deal to him, to have helped a friend who got sick, but to me...
The amount of fear I pushed through felt insurmountable. It really did. But I did, and now it's all a little easier.

I've always said I'll take pain over discomfort. Pain over nausea certainly.

But I've never really known why.

Maybe some day I'll understand it and then it'll all be better.

Or maybe it just is what it is. That’s ok too.

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