“Where does it hurt?”
I sighed with defeat. “Everywhere.”
My naked back faced one of my closest friends. I stared straight ahead at pictures of my family and friends laughing with mouths wide open, closed eyes, blowfish cheeks, and crinkled happy lines on their faces. I could not help but smile at all these photos that captured such joy. The familiar, pungent scent of IcyHot and BenGay wafted to my nostrils. Slowly and methodically, she gently laid her hand on my back that immediately tensed and then fell into relief once her fingers rubbed the minty menthol cold heat cream into my skin. The only people I allowed to touch my revealed back were a masseuse, my father, my sister, and healthcare professionals. I had always been able rub in the numbing cream myself, but now I could not because of how stubborn my body was in hindering me in this simple act that would provide the most relief. I rarely ever ask for help. It was a lot for me to finally ask my friends for this small pain relieving gesture that meant to most to me—not only in the action of rubbing the cream into my aching and painful body, but mostly in me showing and sharing my weak and vulnerable sides to say this: “I cannot do it all. I need help.”
My friends happily agreed. My family would volunteer before I could ask. Their touch soothed me. Their hands comforted me. Their care for me warmed me to the very core. It is a very intimate and close feeling to have someone you trust reach out as contact on and to your skin to let you know that although you feel all alone, you really are not alone. The relief is instant. The connection is immediate. My gratitude is immense and immeasurable—it is always the littlest things that move us the most. Pain is undefined and consists of synonyms: prickly, burning, achy, sore, electrical shocks, etc. For many people, they can pop in pain pills. For me, I can’t. So, I have come to depend on the hands of mainly my family, my osteopath, and few friends. For the past 2 weeks, my body had convulsed into muscle spasms and 'stuck' and pressing pain. I had never had spasms or strain last this long and they seem to last all the longer when all you experience is pain. I breathed a sigh of relief at the temporarily dissipating pain from the ointment. My body was happy again.
I often have conversations with my body. Not that my body can talk back or speak the roots of what ails it. So, I talk aloud and loudly to my body with only my body speaking in volumes with how highly sensitive it is. 34 years of being in my body and I’ve concluded: I have a body of probably someone in their 60’s, mentality even older, and spirit the youngest of all.
If I were to talk to my body, I would say: “What are you trying to tell me?? You’re really pissing me off! Please chill out and keep up with me enjoying and partying up life!”
If my body were to talk to me, it would seriously snap back to me: “You are the craziest chick that I have to house! Listen to me and slow down!”
My body, senses, and skin were always extremely sensitive that has mostly revolved around pain. Definitely more sensitive than the average person. My father says my body is always on extra high alert as a means to protect me after so many traumas and changes from surgeries, recovery, and rehabilitation. Pain can only be felt with strange sensations in what lies underneath the skin. Our bodies and the skin are only a protective outer shell that is mysterious, mystifying, and miraculous. My body and the skin I’ve been in has definitely reminded me time and time again that I am only human, full of limitations turned to strengths and of impatience requiring patience. I need to be slow and steady rather than unnecessarily speedy. As I have chronologically aged and thankful to being another day older above my ground, my body has become increasingly hyper sensitive to my zest for life and me being the overly active participant in my life. Yet, isn’t it more than interesting that we are born into one body as a protective and outer shell that naturally, eventually, and biologically ages and with increasing life experiences that can bring us down and lift us up? Isn’t it even more interesting that we develop a thicker skin and end up with more layers of ourselves from life than we could have ever imagined?
The bodies we are born into and the skin we are in becomes stronger and thicker when we push the boundaries of our bodies, but it is critical to carefully listen to the limitations. What physical aches and pains and obstacles and hurdles have you had to overcome? Are you like me that your cautious physical body can’t keep up with your racing mind? If your body and you could have a conversation, what would you say? What would your body say to you?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,