Sometimes I think pain is just a lack of understanding. If we could only understand it all, would we feel no pain?.
-J. Cole (once an addict)
While typing up this post, I tried to search for lovely quotes or descriptions of pain on the internet but I decided against it. I realize that pain needs no definition or poetic descriptions to be understood. Whether physical or emotional, you know pain when you feel pain. And I don’t mean the little ‘ouch’ that escapes my mouth when I prick my fingers or the ‘fuck’ I yell aggressively when I hit my little toe against anything wooden; it’s the kind of pain that sobers you up and has you questioning every value and truth you ever held.
The first time I remember ever feeling pain was 8 years ago in junior secondary school. I was 11 years old, didn’t have much friends but somehow managed to be popular. That day was may 27,childrens day and my mother was preparing to visit my elder sister in boarding school. I can still remember the smell of the fried rice cooking on the stove and the sound of meat sizzling in hot oil. Out of the blues, my classmates, at least 15 of them, showed up at the doorstep on their way to a children’s party, insisting I get dressed and follow them. I was shocked and flattered at the same time. My mum asked me to invite them in, get them refreshments and politely told them in sparkling English why I couldn’t go with them. I was relieved. I’ve always hated parties and the idea of forced socialization. But I got too comfortable with these strangers sprawn across our living room, I talked too loudly, laughed carelessly and when I decided to see them off, I didn’t come back home till 4 hours later. My mom was mad! I’d delayed her trip to the boarding house and I had left the house a mess. She took a cane from the top of the shelf and began to flog me. Foolishly I ran to escape and ended up wedged between the wall and the deep freezer. She beat the shit out of me. Hours after she was gone, I remained slumped on the floor, observing blisters rise and red marks appear on my dark skin. I cried my eyes out. I was in pain.
But the thing with physical pain is that it has an ending or at least a solution. You can pop a few pain killers , get an injection, employ a physiotherapist, you name it! It hurts till it doesn’t hurt anymore and you can move on with your life. If you can only live through the first few minutes, hours or days of its peak intensity, you get to tell the story like I just did now. Good for us!
The second time I remember feeling pain was in my 3rd year in the University. I received news that I’d lost a loved one to cancer. I can still remember the crack in my sisters voice as she broke the news to me, I knew she had been crying too. I locked myself in my room for an entire day, not eating, not speaking to anyone, just crying my eyes out and reading my Bible trying to figure out why people die!They say the Bible has the answer to every question right?
The pain from the death of a loved one is a different kind of pain. You never get used to it, it never goes away. Rather, it finds a home in you. And everytime a reminder flashes before your face, you’re put back in your misery. You can only rely on time to feel less miserable about it but that shit stays with you forever!
The 3rd time I ever felt that much pain is even more recent than you can imagine. And this type of pain, is the pain that comes with love. It’s so excruciatingly heartbreaking that it eventually begins to manifest physically with fevers, asthma attacks and insomnia. I think the reason people are scared to love is because love hurts just as much as it heals. It takes as much as it gives. And in my little pea brained mind, I can’t seem to crack the code.
The most frustrating thing about pain is that it offers no pause button. Life goes on! So you must carry out your normal activities while facing the devil. It sucks!
Forgive my flimsy attempts at narrating painful experiences of my life but the point that Im trying to make is that I’ve felt pain and I know that you have too. So if we can establish that pain is a constant feature of our lives as humans and we can also establish that it is unpleasant, perhaps we should begin to ask ourselves how we deal with this pain.
I don’t remember how I dealt with the painful experiences in my life. As long as I can remember I’ve always had a tough spirit. I would cry over things but I never let them weigh me down for more than 24 hours. I cried when I watched the police throw our properties from the top of a 3 storied building, I cried when a class mate told everyone I was ugly, I cried when my cousins laughed at me because I wet the bed, I even cried when a weird photographer touched me inappropriately . But after all these incidences, I also remember showing up the next day, with a smile on my face, telling myself “You can handle this”.
I don’t know how you deal with your pain but you must agree with me that time makes everything better. It doesn’t heal; I don’t know what heals or if I’ve ever completely healed from my experiences but I’ve learned to live with them. But here’s a piece of advice.
The next time you feel pain and you think you won’t survive it, think about the last time you were in that much pain and how you thought you wouldn’t survive it. Then tell yourself “I’m still here!”.
If you’re reading this, then you’re still here. You survived that crazy heartbreak or humiliation or loss of a loved one. You’re still kicking! Let’s drink to that!
So I disagree with j. Cole on his saying about pain. Let’s rephrase
Pain is inevitable. But if we could only understand it, then maybe we’d feel less pain.
Don’t leave without dropping a comment. I’d love to hear from you. How do you deal with pain? Xoxo