I love Monty Python, I’ve loved them since I was a wee one living on a British Army Base with my family and I have even had the pleasure of seeing Eric Idle sing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” live at Universal Amphitheater many moons ago. It is one of my favorite songs and it really does sum me up pretty well, I am an optimist. I am. Not 100% of the time but really it is my preferred state, my go to, knee-jerk reaction; to look on the bright side of life.
I also live with chronic pain. Diagnoses over the years include psoriasis, graves disease, psoriatic arthritis & fibromyalgia. Managing my health and pain is a constant part of my life. I was sickly and also athletic as a child, clumsy and prone to injury. People have said I have high tolerance for pain my entire life. I don’t really think it matters, pain is personal and relative.
Having lived a life that includes self-examination for most of the adult years and not remembering much of my childhood, I have spent many years working out exactly when I began to “shut down” to deal with the pain. When I started doing it instinctually very young I used a broad paint brush and “numbed out” to all feelings. Through self-examination and my yogic & magickal practices I have learned to appreciate my ability to “numb” or “separate from” certain things. When I first learned I did it, it felt and was spoken about as a “bad” thing. It is honestly how I survive though. I allow the pain to exist in a place within the entirety of “myself” and yet not have to feel it all the time. Staying present enough to know when I’m moving too far away from the pain so I don’t “tune out” to the people and experiences in my life. This means that I do have pain, at least some every day.
Just this morning when I was finally able to build enough appetite to eat and on the second to last bite, I managed to move in such a way as to piss my most enlarged joint right the fuck off for a split second. In that hot stabby poker in my knuckle kinda way. It was brief and intense. And almost immediately I found myself in the space of knowing that I had to love my body’s ability to know when to send a sharp message. And I was thankful. It brought tears to my eyes and I wept to release all of the hatred I have felt towards my body every time I heard, from within or without, that voice saying that numbing out was weak and hiding. It felt good. It felt courageous.
The bright side of my pain is that it is another way that my own divinity speaks to me; that the cliché of pain being a gift to remind us that we can feel is a cliché because it is truth.
I shaved my head a week and a half ago, thereby ending five and a half years of dreadlocked hair. Here is a raw shot of myself this morning, no makeup, in pain and with stubble. I like the way I look. I like the way I feel. And you know what, I am in a good mood today. Really I have been all day. I’ve been productive and found inspiration from the efforts of loved ones. I am happy. I am not just looking on, I am living the bright side of life.
“Always look on the bright side of life
I mean, what have you got to lose
You know, you come from nothing, you’re going back to nothing
What have you lost? Nothing!
Always look on the right side of life….”