I was listening to some music a couple of months ago, and this woman was singing about her body. She sang about how this body had birthed children, and done this and done that and so on and so forth. It was a powerful message of hope, that acceptance of my body just as it is… well, that’s possible.
I’m just not there today. My doctor has ordered dietary changes and exercise, and I’ve actually gotten serious about it. I’ve gotten so serious that I’m even keeping a makeshift journal of sorts about what I eat and vital signs and so on and so forth.
I’m sitting here right now, acutely aware of all of the ways this body is failing me. Along with the inevitable aches and pains of aging, I deal with the remnants of all of the abuse I heaped upon this body in active addiction. I have a bad shoulder that likely needs surgery to reassemble a bone that was broken in a car wreck. I have fingers that don’t work right because they were cut off in that same car wreck (reattached by an Emory surgeon at Grady Hospital, they mostly work but they look a little different now). For fuck’s sake, I cracked my T1 vertebra in that wreck (luckily it just cracked without moving). My right hip aches extra much thanks to a car wreck in the early 2000s. That’s the same hip that now has sciatica thanks to the great septic system debacle. My left knee hurts sometimes and I have no fucking clue why. I struggle to breathe sometimes, because all the cigarettes and dope I smoked left me with COPD. I could do this shit all day, listing body parts that don’t work right anymore and the insanity that caused the malfunction, but I think you probably get the point right now.
I’m sitting here typing this, fighting back tears. It’s hard to NOT be depressed about all of this, especially when it is standing in the way of actually following some simple doctor’s orders to exercise.
Walking aggravates the right hip. Running is out of the question with this hip and these lungs. Yoga often hurts my right shoulder and that right hip. Pilates? The right shoulder and my neck mean that I have to modify the modified versions of the exercises in the video.
It fucking sucks, and I’m on the verge of sinking into a pit of despair and self-pity. I refuse to call my sponsor about it because I already know I’ll get a writing assignment out of it so I might as well just write already. I can guess what the assignment would be, even: a gratitude list, and a list of all the things my body has done and can still do.
So fuck it. Here it goes:
- This body has danced
- This body has laughed. Laughed til it cried, laughed til it hurt
- This body has solo piloted a Harley Davidson. Hell, this body survived a solo flight on a Harley where the brakes failed with absolutely no warning. This body kept that bike under control and safely stopped it, upright on both wheels. Barely, but it did it, and that was definitely a case where the ends were more important than the means
- This body has survived active addiction. 26 years of active addiction, to be more precise.
- This body has survived some seriously ugly DTs. More than once, more than twice, more times than I can even remember, this body has made it through very painful detox from drugs and booze–the kinds of drugs that detoxing from them can literally kill. This body survived.
- This body survived the gated community as a guest of the state
- This body has survived car wreck after car wreck that should have been fatal
- This body has survived surgery after surgery to try and repair damage that some utter insanity or another has caused
- This body has survived damn near 48 years on planet earth and is still mostly functioning
- This body has survived through not one, but THREE, physically abusive relationships (the first of which involved having a handgun pressed between my eyes; I’ve been too fucking stupid/crazy/something to ever let a man scare me again since that moment)
- This body has survived rape
- This body has planted gardens
- This body has harvested and preserved the fruits of gardens
- This body has done construction work
- This body has laid out concert stages for some major touring acts, and it did it after most of the damage had already been done. This body, with boobs and ass and no penis, did a hard fucking job in a male dominated industry, and this body did that job very very fucking well (I was good at my job as a stagehand; so good I always got assigned to that one British asshole on every tour that hated all the local stagehands, and none of them hated me after 5 minutes of working with me)
- This body is surviving anemia, COPD, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and a never-ending allergy season here in this part of Texas
- This body is building a house, a place for this weary spirit to call home
Now for the gratitude list:
- I’m grateful for the doctors appointment I have today, hopefully we can start finding a solution to the shoulder problem
- I’m grateful for Sunshine, and his willingness to find a way to do what’s necessary to get me healthcare. I’m grateful to just have his calming presence in my life, and getting to be married to him is positively delightful
- I’m grateful for Miss Mollie, who constantly reminds me to enjoy the moment
- I’m grateful for my recovery
- I’m grateful for my sponsor
- I’m grateful for each of you. I’m grateful for every person who reads my drivel, and who sticks around for those times (like this) when I am just screaming into the void out of sheer frustration
- I’m grateful for my mom, who would instantly talk me down from this pity-pot I’m perched on if only I would just call her
- I’m grateful that, in spite of the ways he irritates me, Mr B has opened the gate to his property to try and create a community that welcomes my weirdo self
- I’m grateful for the physical warmth inside my RV, with all of my layers of warm clothes and faux fur blankets to fend off the wet, grey cold that is knocking at the windows today
- I’m grateful for the dark chocolate cocoa that is just waiting for me to get up off my ass and go fix myself a cup. (The gratitude list isn’t supposed to include things I can hold in my hand but DARK CHOCOLATE IS A GIFT FROM THE GODS THAT IS A BALM FOR MY TROUBLED SOUL and I will scream that at my sponsor if she ever dares question dark chocolate on a gratitude list 😇)
- I’m grateful for a job I enjoy and a boss I actually like
- I’m grateful for my oldest stepson, who is visiting us today. The growth I’ve seen in him over the years has been beautiful to witness, and it reminds me that miracles happen–even for an addict like me
Thank you. Each and every one of you reading this, thank you. Each of you reading this is carrying a tiny little piece of my burden today, for pain shared is pain lessened.