Laying on my back on a table my physical therapist is stretching out my injured shoulder. “Let me know if this hurts?”
“Isn’t it supposed to hurt?” My mouth and brain don’t contain a filter. I sound like I’m being sarcastic. I backtrack some, “I just figured it’s going to hurt getting the strength and flexibility back after five months of no use. I’ll let you know if it’s too much.” I’m laying there on that rack pushed to pain for my benefit. Pain is the byproduct of getting stronger and its an indication of weakness.
We grow through our pain more than our pleasure. It’s through sometimes painful exercise that we increase our muscle. Anything we do should stretch us to the point of agony. It should scare us but not go so far we can’t snap back.
I don’t connect with people, they confuse me. I’m socially awkward because of it and I know its a real weakness of mine. I’ve worked at through the years, every outing painful, sometimes embarrassing and necessary. At this point, I can be somewhat chameleon-like and blend in at a social engagement. I’m not such a sore thumb. I can talk about all the mundanities that normal people revel in. I can laugh at the appropriate time and make a sad face at the appropriate time. I’ve learned this through observation and practice.
It’s helped me to understand people. What motivates them, what drives them and how they feel. In school, I would sit back and watch everyone, trying to understand them. What they expected from their lives. What they deemed important. How they differed from one another. The odd thing, while we all have a common thread of needs, our prioritizing of those needs is where we separate. Also, apparent to me, how we define the culmination of those priorities effects our differences as well.
For example, fear versus rewards. Some folks value the thrill of experience and adrenaline over the safety of their person. If I jump off a bridge thirty feet above water into the river below, that’s not very safe. All kinds of injuries could occur including death. Some would say that stepping off the ledge would not be the wise choice and others would argue that fear should never stop experience. For most its a sliding scale. If the fearless man jumps and emerges unscathed those who value safety more than experience may begin to entertain the idea of jumping. We are frustrating animals in this manner, that we change our hearts and minds.
Another huge motivator is the myth of “Love”. This thing that we do so much to have in our lives. Love comes with huge risk. It’s probably the most crippling priority of all. For some the need of that comfort lets other abuse us, take advantage of us and all kinds of awful liberties. We risk life and limb for it. We work to hold it. If we grasp it and lose it, we are often inexorably damaged by it. Its the most maiming and destructive emotional mechanism that we engage in.
But through this stretching into the pain that we find our character and ourselves. The crucible of pain that molds the soul that only ourselves will ever know. It’s what teaches and makes us reach for our potential. It’s what, as creative people, inspires us to express. So as pain enters your life. You can hold it as a monster seeking to destroy you. Fear it and the change in inevitably brings and hide from it. Or embrace it, know that it’s here to strengthen your understanding of a world you hold little control over. Hold onto those moments of pain and know that the temporary discomfort could show you a path to creativity you failed to comprehend you could express.
I find writing like this. My fear has often kept me from writing. Fear of being inadequate and not talented enough. Its kept me from writing. Its funny, I’ve always thought of stories I wished to tell, to the point that I bothered to write them down. It wasn’t until I was inspired to tell a story about a friend that I lost that I tried in earnest to write for anything other than my own edification. It was painful. To deal with the anxiety of it not being worthy of his memory, of dredging up buried emotions and showing a raw and bare soul to readers. I know that the more I write and the more it pushes my capabilities that better my writing will be. So I will push through the pain and write on.