Filling Your Niche
stuck in a box

Overcoming phantom life pain

This morning I woke up and knew something was off even before I opened my eyes. As bits of consciousness coalesced into concepts and then actual thoughts, I realized the “something off” was not a bad thing, but a good thing: the nonexistence of neck pain for the first time in weeks, thanks to my excellent massage yesterday afternoon.

The sensation of something being not-quite-right turning out to be the absence of something wrong reminds me of standing in the art supply store with my sister last year as she interrupted herself in the middle of a sentence to say “Wow, I just realized you’re, like, in a store. Are you okay? I mean, obviously you’re okay. But what does it feel like to just be doing… normal things?” She’s talking about my long-standing anxiety.

“It’s weird,” I answered without hesitation. “I mean, and awesome.”

When you finally find yourself unshackled from the bullshit things that dragged you down for so long, you don’t realize you’re free at first. Like the phantom pain so many amputees report after the loss of a limb, sensations linger. Nerves tell your brain to feel things in a part of your reality that’s no longer there.

Life cricks us up, and we get so used to limping along bent, crippled, and semi-functional that we forget that there’s a physically and mentally healthy incarnation of ourselves waiting around the corner, luminous and vibrant, that’s tapping toes impatiently till you shove crap out of the way and get OVER there already.

Or maybe you’re already whole and healthy, and phantom life pain is what’s holding you back. Imagined obstacles. Invisible barriers. Fear of the fake future.

Stand up. Stretch out. Shake the cobwebs off.

Yourself is awesome.

Maarit • 10/29/2014

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