i was told a few days ago that i need to spend more time talking about my pain.

specifically, i need to spend time complaining about it, and really wallowing in it. i will admit to not being 100% clear on the psychology behind this grain of wisdom, but it came from someone who i consider to be generally wise, so i agreed to at least consider it.

he recommended 15 minutes, 4x a week; i agreed to 90 seconds, 4x a week.

and here’s the julie of it all: i can’t do it.

there is one blog i used to read a lot. at some point she transitioned from a blog i loved to read to a blog about her struggle with a chronic illness and while i applaud her nobility in putting her raw emotion out there, i just can’t get on board with having to slog through yet one more person’s cruddy life.

so, i rarely read that blog any more, although she has a super loyal/borderline cult following. i’m the last person to criticize someone for putting their business out in public; heck, i do it all the time… but in terms of embracing my pain or whatever- don’t expect to see it splashed out here.

i am very fortunate that i can see my chickens from the window in my bedroom. when i am spending considerable amounts of time in bed, i watch them doing bizarre chicken-y stuff and it reminds me to just grab the moment i’m in and be THERE.

yesterday, i watched marasol, who has been a total flighty weirdo ever since she first went broody several months ago. every day when i went to feed the girls i lifted her off the nest and put her down next to the food. as often as not, she would crouch down next to the food pile looking like she’d just landed in an incomprehensible alien landscape. then without warning she would take off at warp speed toward the water where she would drink and drink until she would just freeze. only her eyes would move as she surveyed her surroundings, and then another mad dash toward some random thing- say a weed or a rock, which she would cozy up to and hang out with until she would go back to the nesting box until the next time i would take her away.

she had a few weeks of not brooding, but then ruby went broody and that made marasol remember that she too was supposed to be in eternal brood-mode, so back she went to the nesting box. but now when she comes out, she does what i think of as the crazy dance. she puffs up and stretches and pirouettes and ends up airborn and then divebombs a patch of dirt where she takes the most glorious dirt-bath ever. she kicks up a complete storm cloud of dirt and gets it under and between all of her feathers and the expression on her face is pure ecstacy.

and there she reclines in the dust bowl she created. every once in a while she will put her cheek to the ground and rub it a bit, and i can only imagine she is thinking, “oh dirt, i love you! you are so cool and comfy. you make me so happy🙂 you keep down mites and make me not itch and you provide me peace and quiet in this insane world. dirt, you are the BEST!”

and then i think about classic ways to explain pain, like “a monkey on your back” or “torture” or “hell”. and i can’t see it being beneficial to really dwell there. because my pain is my worst enemy who i can’t get away from. it’s the most annoying person you ever met who follows you from room to room and then even walks into the bathroom with you. it’s the mean girl in school who makes you feel like you’re less than nothing except she’s with you even when you sleep. it’s the lynch mob chasing you through town and you can’t find a safe place to hide. it’s being in fight-or-flight mode every second but you can’t fight effectively and you can’t flee. the monkey is a great metaphor because it tears at you and rips at you and just shreds you and you are powerless against it because at the same time its grip on you never lets up.

and when i started realizing both how apropos and how horrifying that was, i realized i had to stop thinking about it.

because to stay sane and functioning and in control of life, you need to think about the dust baths more than the monkey or you’re lost before you start.

and that’s why i’m grateful for friends who try to give me good advice, but i’m even more grateful for my bedroom window.