I have been very fortunate to have thus far been spared physical pain in my body in my adulthood. I guess I must cherish some superstition as I almost feel it’s a jinx even saying this! For a little while this afternoon, however, I was reminded of the most obvious part of pain – IT HURTS!
Because I am a recluse and spend most of my time outside working on projects in my yard and garden, I rarely do the girlie pretty thing – but today decided to take a break from dull and dirty as I donned a dusky lavender nicely fitting top with fine gathered lacy frills running in lines down the front, painted my nails a sparkling pink, and dug out a summer pair of sandals (purchased with the top at our local thrift store last week).
The shoes began to devour my feet before I had walked 25 paces down a local sidewalk. By the time I had done my best to prance a bit in my pretty (seems sort of silly now) finery as I visited at the laundromat cafe, bought a tough new pair of $10 work gloves at our local ACE hardware, found a birthday card for my dear daughter whose birthday is next week, and bought a gallon of 2% milk, my feet felt like they were being branded with hot iron along anywhere the brown leather straps crossed the tops of my feet.
Eventually I folded napkins and stuffed them inside the straps to try to protect my skin – knowing that walking in and out of stores barefoot was not such a great idea. Meanwhile, through all of this, I noticed how this pain felt to me — and more importantly, how I handled the pain.
I COULD ignore the pain at times so completely that I could have sworn I had no feet at all. Then, WINCE! BURN! Searing pain back again – along with another round of being forced to pay attention to how uncomfortable pain is!
It crossed my mind several times as I tried to walk a graceful wobble until I could get home to remove these monster shoes – that given the frequency and severity of beatings I received from my severely mentally ill abusive mother during the first 18 years of my life — there is no POSSIBLE WAY that my body could have been free of very real physical pain very often.
I never, as a rule, think about the physical pain of my childhood. I seem to be very able to forget the physical pain part of my childhood – which is fine with me! But today, having very real pain present in my body I noticed through this very small experience that I do have very sophisticated ways to disallow physical pain to exist within my awareness.
Dissociation? Of course. Who wants to associate with unstoppable pain if they don’t have to? I could never have functioned or survived the hell of my childhood if I had not found ways to avoid being focused on the very real pain in my body. What a price to pay! Disowning my own body!
What to do with these supposedly cute shoes? I think I will entomb them within an adobe wall.
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