There is a place inside of pain and I know it intimately. To get there, you need to stop running. Sure, you can clench and squeeze and fight in resistance to its persistence. Like your body wants to, like it feels it should. You can curl and strike, roll yards across the floor if you like but that twisting knife follows dutifully along. It’s the kind of dogged loyalty we search lives for. I must be royalty because I’ve found it in the stubbornness of an infection.
Fighting won’t let you into the shelter inside the pain though you can’t run for it all helter-skelter. Not when morphine turns to water and oxycodone to stale bread. My soul doesn’t respond to the numbness of drugs when this knife carves into me somewhere close by my endurance. This place inside the pain is insurance, can only be found when my body and my ego surrender.
It’s a neighbourhood I can only sense the presence of. I’m blind to its description with a blurry idea of it the size of pin pricks and only when I let go. Melt. When I stop fighting the water, what was once a knife of cold steel, and sink beneath it instead. There. Sometimes its little more than a lean-to, a dusty, musty thing beneath the ocean’s waves. My body still jerks and contorts like jesters’ sports but inside of me I am protected.
Sometimes it’s a vast bunker and my thoughts echo like waterdrops in this place without location. I’ve never had skill at the vocation of giving up control, but that release is the only roadmap to relief available to me. And it’s my breath that reads it, that finds the way.
I seek out this place now, as the pain pebbles sweat on my skin. Sometimes it feels like a prison, but I’m my own warden in this position. And I’m locking away the gentleness of me from a suffering made torment by my knowing of it. In hospital beds, doctors see only the crumbling of my walls, they send machines to read the interior intrusion. They do not know the place inside my pain is the only thing keeping screams and howls from coating the neon of their halls.
About the author "My name is Emily Whyman, I am Australian writer of fiction and non-fiction, although storytelling through fiction is my true calling. I live closely with nature, on a farm in the sub-tropics, and get my ideas and inspiration by waiting for the land to whisper them to me."
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