Transitional Phases

I’m in a weird state of disability right now, in which I have a foot with four different conditions that doesn’t want to heal, and a back that has decided it’s going to stab me with burning cold stilettos if I move even a centimeter the wrong way. Even better, while sleeping helps the former, it makes the latter MUCH worse.

(I’m glad I didn’t Konmari; my Lordoloc back brace from my disk surgery in 2016 is proving to be a life saver.)

Before this happened, a dear, beloved friend of mine actually asked me “If you could heal yourself just by not eating meat, would you?” I had to remind her I’d already been vegan. I’m not that kind of meat eater. And I was well aware that her intentions were “holy cow there’s got to be a way my friend can heal. Maybe I can help her.”

It’s got me thinking about transitions and liminal spaces, and how much people want to be, and help you, through them. Most forms of sickness and disability are viewed as a phase that you need to get through. Healing is to be rushed through to get you back to an “acceptable” state.

There’s no real space for accepting where one is.

It’s frustrating, this rush to get back to the “healed” state. I mean, certainly I do NOT want to be in pain. That’s a given. But it’s not like I’ve had a trustworthy body all my life that has suddenly fucked off on me. I’ve had all sorts of issues since I was quite young. Skin, feet, back… all before I hit the double digits.

It’s not like all this stuff I’m going through wasn’t heralded.

When I put my foot back in the protective boot in order to not be in pain I felt a surge of rage at my backsliding that surprised me. My mental process was “As if I don’t have enough to deal with, the only way I can be pain-free is to encase my left foot and ankle in this clunky plastic-and-foam-and-velcro… almost exoskeleton. What the actual fuck.”

Didn’t even occur to me to be grateful there was an option. Some folks are just… in pain. And sometimes I… am just in pain. So on comes my lower back, stabbing me, to remind me what THAT constancy of agony felt like.

I think it’s about time that I stop treating this aspect of my life as something I can heal from, and quickly. That’s pretty ableist of me.

It’s time for me to think about what I can do to make this life, this immediate, as-I-am-right-now, life work for me.

In the Name of Love

Heart with Bandaids

Heart with Band-Aids

One of the more pernicious things I see in American – well, in Western culture is this idea that if a being loves you, any action they perform is immediately not abusive or not hurtful. Or is excused from any possible perception of harm.

Or even, if a being has no hate whatsoever in their heart for a group, their actions, whether inadvertent or deliberate, are acquitted from any possible wrongdoing or negative impact.

This is bullshit.

I’ll say it again – this is BULLSHIT.

Just because you love someone does not automatically mean you will never ever do anything shitty to them in your life. As a matter of fact, it might make you MORE likely to do something shitty to them because we humans have this instinct to protect the ones we love, and our current mechanisms of trying to protect each other are often REALLY crappy. (See: not letting kids have adventures because they might get hurt.)

And it goes from top to bottom – when I was really outspoken about my atheism I used to get a lot of “But God loves you” or “But Jesus loves you” pushed at me as a method of trying to get me to accept Christianity. I had a lot of angst about this one until I started responding with “well yeah, so does my father, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for me to interact with him.”

The lack of hate does not wipe out the fact that someone might be really hurt – even terribly endangered – by something you do. Even love does not wipe out the fact that someone might really be hurt or terribly endangered by something you do. And sometimes you have very good reasons for doing the thing and sometimes your reasons are… not so good. Or mistaken. Or based on data that is biased or invalid for this other person.

Don’t make the additional mistake of then telling that person that their pain is wrong, or that YOU are hurt by the fact that they are experiencing pain at all.

That is when the love starts going away. That’s when those who are hurt cannot believe in the love.