We spend many hours of our lives trying to get away from pain.
Trying to numb pain. Trying to eliminate pain from our daily existence.
It’s an impossible task, a Sisyphean endeavor that we repeat endlessly.
Sometimes the thought occurs to us that, maybe, pain is a one-for-one game.
A selection or exchange. Choose this pain instead of that pain. Like when the nurse is readying that needle to stick into your arm and you look away and pinch your leg. Distraction. Focus on the small pain you can control, in hope that the big pain doesn’t swallow you whole.
Maybe that’s why some of us work out so hard.
We go into the pain to make the heartbreaking ache of this life more manageable. To get out of our heads and away from the dark memories that live there, sprinkled among new pains that freshly echo.
Some people probably think that’s messed up. That’s okay. We all deal however we can.
But maybe if you’re lucky in this world, sometimes you get to choose your pain: CrossFit, running, lifting, a physical something.
And when you’re unlucky, the pain chooses you: your son’s death, your daughter’s anger, a baby’s cry that went silent, or the beautiful love that left you with only her memory and nothing else, a steady rain that falls in your life daily, one that you just can’t escape, no matter how many umbrellas you carry, and now your clothes are sodden and your feet trudge slowly, slowly—slip, slosh—across the dark, glittering street.
“There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” — Toni Morrison, “The Bluest Eye”