I Am Different, and Isn’t That Amazing?
My body is a bloody mess, but I love it just the same. I am amazed by all the magic that goes on under my skin. Magic, because it is such advanced science that even scientists barely have a clue.
I am blessed to know my body in ways that no one else can, because pain forces you to sit up, and give all your attention to it. You become an ardent student, whether you like it or not. You learn to respect your body’s needs, and practise patience. You gain insight into how hard it actually works to keep us well and alive for an entire lifetime. Is this some sort of delusion to make myself feel good? Maybe, but it does bear some truth.
What is Normal?
And who’s to say what’s a normal life for me? My life is already an uncommon one to begin with. The basis of society — family, work and pleasure — are often inaccessible to many of those who live with chronic illnesses. Many of us can’t even start the process of trying to achieve them. So why should I fit myself into the common man’s mould, when it’s obvious that it will never fit? I will have to find uncommon ways to earn my keep in this life, if I want to be happy. Running that rat race will only leave me in the wake of everyone else’s dust. I will only be the eternal loser.
Life is Terrible and Wondrous All at Once
I wouldn’t say that it’s an awesome life, but our bodies are wonderful creations regardless, with all the little processes going on round the clock. The steady electrical rhythms in our hearts — one little slip can make you feel deep fear and pain. Sometimes that kills. The sturdy liver that filters out all the junk we don’t even know we’re eating, and handles poison juices like a champ. Blood and all the codes it contains — one drop reveals a billion pieces of information about the universe, yet we only understand a fraction of it. Then there’s those two eyeballs of ours that we often take for granted. I could go on, but you get the idea. Our bodies are intelligent designs that work together as a team in seamless coordination. They are so skilled that we don’t even realise what, or how much, they’re doing.
Putting Things in Perspective
We need to reframe our idea of ‘a normal life’, especially if we live with chronic pain. We need to stop comparing ourselves to society’s normal. That is fiction for us, and living in a fantasy world never did anyone much good. Society is artificial to begin with. Every country reconstructs ideas about it; every culture reassembles them. Fusion and change is a constant, redefining our many ways of living every century. What is acceptable to one, is blasphemy to another.
We should ask ourselves instead: if our normal were society’s normal, how would it fare? What would it be doing? What would achievement consist of? To be honest, I think half the population would have killed themselves by now, if they followed the current definition. And from that perspective, we are definitely doing a pretty damn good job of simply being here.