Sabrina Reyes-Peters

The Pain

On a scale of 1-10, how is your pain? they ask

Is it a sharp pain? stabbing pain? a dull, throbbing pain? ache? is it cold or hot? Please describe, they request.

You really want to know?

It is all and none. My back sends shooting pains up and down my leg for days, then calms. My head throbs behind my eye, then stops. My legs ache so badly I cannot sleep, and sometimes they ache when I wake up. What is pain when it is my constant companion?

Sometimes, it feels like a punch in the gut, when something sucks all the breath out of your lungs, and you gasp. A tear or two slides down your cheek, and you attempt to hug yourself in comfort. Sometimes, it is a sharp ache that travels from your gut, through your lungs and heart, and into your throat. A tear squeezes out, and the pain sharpens. Or is it the reverse?

Sometimes, it is a heaviness that settles around your shoulders. The heaviness drifts to your neck, and to your head, and soon you find that smiling takes effort.

Something says you should open the wound and let it bleed. Maybe it is inflamed? Try cleaning it. You know the things that can open the wound, triggers that increase the pain and release the stagnation. But you are tired, so very tired. So you wrap yourself in a cloak of dissociation and envelope yourself in a world of fiction, where the pain somehow does not exist.

How are you?

Not bad, just livingwiththeweightofcollectiveandpersonalgriefandgoingthroughacapitalistroutineagain, how are you?