tender

orange daisies
a floral tenderness

Pain is a strange beast.

It’s visited me before. More often than I desire, to be sure. Although, calling it a visit is also strange. It’s part of me; my nerves and neurones.

But that’s one way I deal with pain. To see it as part of me. And as part of recovery.

Thanks to recent facial reconstruction surgery, I got to test my handling of pain once again.

What I say here is about my pain, and one story of how I manage it. Everyone has their own story of pain and their own ways to manage it.

I get that pain is a part of being human. It’s how we know there’s something wrong. That when there’s a hot thing burning our skin, it’s a good idea to get away from the hot thing. Good little danger detectors, when they’re helping and working well.

But some types of pain don’t seem to help. They panic me and drain me. They remove all sense and reason.

So, instead, I try to take them on.

Don’t come here looking for a fight

Take a seat, old enemy of mine. Look around. I’m ready for you.

I can try to fight pain, but sometimes I try instead to fold it in. Rather than standing, exhausted, fists up and barely ready, I drown it in a rose-scented suffusion of softness and tenderness.

It’s probably something about neuroplasticity and pain. I guess I’m remapping my brain, and distracting it from a painful sensory overload. But in the moment, it’s just a new story with an old friend.

I use bright colours. I use warm baths. I use vivid scents. I hold soft things. I listen to gentle words and powerful songs. I am kind to the sharp pointy monster. Because the sharp pointy monster is me.

I invite him to tea. He growls, but the prospect of my tender heart is too much to resist.

Tea with Mister Pain

Sometimes, Mister Pain. You will sit at my table. And there will be sunflowers. And rainbows. And lavender and lollipops.

I will bathe with you, and curl around you. I will walk with you and laugh at you. Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll break me. But, sometimes, oh those sometimes, I’ll get you. I’ll own you. And you’ll smile nicely. And nod. And sup at my very nice cup of tea. Maybe comment on the lovely words and sounds.

And then, eventually, you’ll leave. You’ll walk away. Give me a moment’s peace.

Because, Mister Pain. You know what? Me at my softest? She is quite possibly the strongest, most terrifying version of me.

Please. Do come in. Everything is fine.

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