Does This Count as Pain?
The deep, throbbing discomfort in my joints and back is loud enough that I have no hope of sleeping, but soft enough that unless I focus on it, I forget it’s there.
I check the clock. My guess that I lay down just 20 minutes ago is two full hours short. Clearly I must have slept, so clearly the pain, if it is pain, must have woken me.
It occurs to me that pain intense enough to wake someone isn’t generally ambiguous, so why do I feel as though I’ve taken a painkiller and can feel it working?
I leave the bed, hoping to tire my mind to match what must surely be nothing more than an overtired body begging for rest, and cry out as my joints crack.
Perversely, that sensation is the only one I feel that I know for sure is not painful. The light is too bright. The fridge is too loud. The floor is too cold. Does it hurt?
What number does it have to be to qualify as pain? What clear injury must it emulate? Does it still count as pain if I can ignore it completely? Who gets to decide?
I ask myself what someone else would say, and find uselessly conflicting answers ranging from “pain is when your body feels bad” to “it’s not real if it doesn’t show.”
I narrow my query. A healthy friend once told me that pain is your body telling you something’s wrong. My husband says it’s how you know you have a body.
I hear you, body. You’re here. You’re queer. You’re a broken piece of shit. Now please, if you would be so kind, shut the fuck up and let me go to sleep.
// c.f.l. - 20170323 //