Everything slows down, each second feels like minutes, the loud echoing sound as my finger snaps, and the slow movement of pain as it goes from my finger across my arm and deep into my stomach. My eyes widen as my body recognizes the feeling of pain and my body automatically moves into a crunched position with my finger moving to the center of my body for protection. As I look into my daughter’s eyes I see fear, worry and shock staring back at me. Then the look of confusion crosses her face, as she questions why my body tells her something painful has happened, but yet my lips move into an automatic grin and my words say “I am fine, don’t worry, lets keep hiking”.
What is wrong with me???? The pain from my finger is so intense I feel my body wanting to vomit. But yet I giggle and explain to my daughter not to worry, it is just a broken finger, all will be fine. Why am I down playing my experience, ignoring the pain and acting as if nothing has happened. My body is crying out for me to listen and instead I pretend everything is fine.
I had been looking forward to that hike all weekend, had just completed an eight hour writing session, with more hours planned ahead of me for that night. I did not have time for this! This brake is interfering with my already preconceived plans.
This is not the first time I have done this. Years ago I was camping with my dad and my two girls (both very young at the time) and accidently the kettle with boiling hot water tipped while I was tucked under the picnic table. I managed to push my youngest out of the way, but did not have time to remove myself before the boiling water landed on my right leg. I screamed in agony. As I tore my pants off, an automatic reaction to the pain, I also tore my skin. Despite the hurting, my immediate thoughts were on how to fix this so it did not ruin our camping trip. It was our first night there of ten. Everyone had been looking forward to this with the site booked six months in advance. So I sucked it up. Put ice on my leg. After an hour I decided to drive an hour and a half to the closest nursing station where I was told I had second and third degree burns. You would think with all the pain I was in that the camping trip would now be put on hold. But no, I insisted I was fine so we stayed. Every second day I drove the hour and a half each way to get the bandages changed. Each day we took the girls out for ice cream and to the park in order to ease my guilt for the time away from the beach. I smiled through it all. Never cried once.
Then there is the story of when I hit the building skydiving… (I spoke of this in a previous blog)… I desperately wanted to jump again that same day and was not happy when my coach refused to let me. And there is the 18 months that I lived with my MS diagnoses (that I am now healed from) with only two people knowing and only one night of tears…
Does this make me strong? I used to think so… now I am realizing its more likely I have been misguide. Tonight I am questioning if maybe its not strength but rather fear… I am scared by the look of fear in the eyes of those I love, so I work hard to convince all of us that it is all ok. I hate the feeling of fear that rises from within when my body experiences pain, so I self talk myself into believing all is well; I am strong, I can handle anything, what does not kill me makes me stronger. I fear the feeling of fear as it rages through my thoughts, so I push it out and ignore it. If I do not know it exists than I do not have to face it. Today I realize this is flawed thinking.
Tonight I am taking the time to sit quietly in reflection. Today when my finger broke I missed the opportunity to honour my experience, to honour my body, to honour my physical and emotional needs. I am sad that I have done this to myself again… but I am also celebrating that this time I have an awareness that this is what I have done to myself… and this time I am going to take the time to understand…
© Kathy Bazinet 2013