Step 1: Feel.
Wake up gasping at the vice-grip pain in my calf, the vibrating tip of the needle grazes my skin for the first time, collide with the opposition in full stride.
Step 2: React.
Breathe, assess, scream or fight.
Personally, I prefer sharp pain. Something that doesn't just hurt, but actually surprises me...shocks me. I'm not a masochist, it just makes sense. After any sharp pain there's that moment to take a deep breath (unless you just fractured a rib) and assess the damage. The pain left after the initial injury or trauma seems dull...manageable by comparison. Slow lasting pain, even if it's dull to begin with, somehow seems worse. Don't get me wrong, I hate charlie horses. Especially waking up with one, disoriented by the sudden shock. Of course, after a few deep breaths and a glass of water the dull ache feels like a relief. On the other hand, when I was getting my last tattoo the needle on my back didn't really bother me. It was the way my ribs vibrated along with the needle. Not exactly pain, not like the moments when the needle crossed my spine, but that vibration is what I remember most. It was endless. The sixth hour was just as torturous as the first...or maybe more. It was a strange feeling realizing that I no longer needed to flex my abs to breathe, and then realizing how much a tattoo on my back hurt my stomach.
Step 3: Forget.
I don't exactly remember pain. I'll remember that it was painful...but the way that pain felt? Not usually. I don't know...maybe pain is relative. My memory of dislocating my femur in high school is clear. I remember the impact. I remember that my leg looked wrong. I remember assessing the pain as minor enough and deciding to fight. I remember the pain I inflicted. I remember not walking for three days afterward. I remember the drugs and awkwardness of rolling the bone back into place one socket at a time. I remember what happened and what I did, but I don't remember how it felt. Maybe pain isn't worth remembering?
Step 4: Repeat.
What We Found in the Divorce: Part V — Time
3 years ago