We do our best to hide pain, to camoflage it, to disguise it and to make it look like it hasn’t caused us much damage even when the pain in our lives has seemingly raped us. Why do we try to deny what we’ve been through? Is it that we’re embarrassed about the pain that has touched us? Or is it that we’re so entirely focused on everything that’s come through our lives thus far?
I think folks forget that some things come barreling down the road of life at us at impossible speeds and then we’re supposed to simply “deal” with everything smoothly - or at least that’s the way the stories all end with.. You know, the knight slays the evil dragon and saves the princess but sometimes the evil dragon has chomped on the princess before we were able to save her becuase after all, why would any draon of evil intent save a princess? It would just kill her and then try to kill anyone dumb enough to come and rescue her.
Big Fight, No Rewards
So we end up going through this tremendous battle (with an evil dragon) only to discover there’s no reward waiting for us at the end (the dragon killed the princess). As much as we dislike this scenario, it is all too true in our lives. How often are you pitched an idea to believe there’s some great reward at the end of some immeasurable risk? Only to accept that risk, deal with it and discover the reward was shitty, insufficient or nowhere near what you feel was justified for your efforts regardless of what someone else says they said they were compensated with?
This is where I believe social media has both helped and hindered sincere folks along the way. First people get a chance to explain the pain in their lives and tell others the circumstances of what happened. This usually results in a limited amount of garnered sympathy which everyone needs a wee bit at least once in their life but whether it’s sympathy or empathy, it’s just others trying to reach out to let you know they understand where you are, where you’ve been and to say you’re not alone.
The downside to social media with this is it creates people who constantly kvetch about each and every little peeve or issue that irritates them. In essence they become miserable pricks of a sort who refuse to mature. Because in the majority of instances, most fights, including the major ones, are without reward - the princess is dead as she’s been devoured long before the rescue attempt was begun.
Far too many simply want to say, “Well then, suck it up and walk it off, cupcake!” and while there may be a few instances in life where that cliche is viable for someone who overreacts to every negative thing, it’s NOT a phrase that is ultimately helpful. True we do need to pull out heads out of our bums and get a grip on ourselves eventually but there is time for grieving, for feeling sad, for wallowing in self-pity, a little time, but even so that time is precious and since life is short, very short, you must not allow yourself to lay around sulking or feeling morose to the point you become depressed.
Pain is actually a good thing in our lives because for one it helps us to recognize when we need healing. Our bodies run pretty much autonomously 24/7 of pain unless we overdo something to create some sort of pain be it over-exertion of our brains (mental), arguing with a friend (emotional), stubbing our toe (physical), and etc. It’s true we do tend to create 90% of the pain in our own lives. It’s not until we realize something is wrong and do what we know to correct it that we can avoid pain.
The key to understanding and dealing with pain in your life is to know your level or rather threshold of pain. There are some types of movie scenes I find difficult to watch due to the amount of pain being inflicted upon someone, usually scumbags who find using torture to be an effective tool. At one time Hollywood merely inferred this sort of thing in movies & film then reality set in with directors who thought they needed “realism” so they began to show people torturing other people on camera. Regardless that these scenes are fake, they’re meant to be real enough to elicit a response from you and from me they elicit disgust. I don’t need to see some brute beating the poor schlub tied to a chair. Do you? It’s useless scenery and time wasted on something they could just as easily inferred was about to happen.
Another thing I find painful to watch are some types of comedians and comedy that are painful. Some folks think it’s hilarious to watch others in pain while I do not. Frankly I think it’s sick to do this yet most of the world enjoys watching another person act stupid to the point of painfulness. For example, some sketch comedians take a humorous joke and run it into the ground. Now the joke isn’t funny any longer but painful. Gee thanks. Didn’t want to see that, just wanted to be entertained. It’s like when a sketch comedian plays an obnoxious character it always seems they take this character to the extremes and those extremes are painful to watch. To me that’s no longer funny nor entertainment and too much like real life and frankly I’m tired of real life so I come to comedy for relaxation and entertainment. So, um, thanks.
Ever know someone whose life and antic are such that you are unable to watch them? Whether they’re kids or adults, they seem to do the dumbest, most stupid things to cause the most pain to themselves and others to the point you simply cannot watch them grow any longer? That’s what I’m talking about. Commonly they’re referred to as “train wrecks” because their lives have run off the rails and over into the ravine. Extremely painful to watch. They grow up making one bad decision after another regardless of who counsels them.
Life Is Pain
Let’s face it folks, life IS pain. It begins with the pain of birth and continues until we grow old enough and it’s time to pass away into death. There’s a lot of pain, grief and misery in between regardless of your economic status, age, ethnicity (though some ethnic groups would have you believe they have endured more pain than any other group), religious persuasion, education level, and any other status from having your driver’s license to marital status, every group, gender and/or statistic has its level of pain associated with it.
To some, pain is a badge of honor to wear. Some folks like to brag they’ve endured X in their lives and are still here to tell the tale. Such as Cancer survivors and these folks deserve to be given kudos for their bravery and refusal to not give in. So with those folks, instead of avoiding inevitable pain, they embrace it. Wholeheartedly. They see pain as a medal of honor to be worn proudly. It’s just a different mindset or way of reframing an otherwise bad situation. Instead of looking at their lives as survivors, they see themselves as winners who beat the evil dragon regardless if the princess has been devoured. The reward to them is the defeat of the evil dragon itself because not all dragons have hoards waiting to be looted.
The older we age though the harder and heavier those badges of honor become because we trudge closer to the grave with fewer and fewer of our comrades and friends by our sides until it is just us alone. Do any of us fear growing old? Not really. Do any of us fear death? I doubt it. So what do we fear? Being left alone - having our loved ones and friends die before us so that we’re all that is left. That seems to be the general consensus that I’ve bee able to pick up on. Because most pagans & occultists do not fear death but they dislike the idea that beloved friends of theirs have passed on without them so that they’re left alone to carry on without X. That’s what really sucks about life: LOSS is the ultimate heartache.
Nursing homes are bereft with people whose lives ended with few who cared about them. My short stay in a nursing facility when my leg was healing after surgery in 2012 taught me that the elderly are certainly a sad lot. So many need just a little happiness to make their lives happier and joyful. Yet these facilities are the dumping grounds for lack of a better term for the aged and no longer relevant in our society. We talk about caring for them yet leaving them alone with others they don’t know is not caring for them at all. The facilities want you to believe the patients set around getting to know one another but truth is this is rare in these places. Why? Due to the medications many of them are on for pain they’re not in their right minds to sit and converse with one another.
While at the nursing home, I saw numerous occasions when they would wheel out a cadaver and every time it jolted me into realization that eventually that would be yours truly. “The circle of life has been completed for X” I would say to myself after I found out the name of the person who passed away. It was my way of saying a minor prayer to the Guede for their safe passage to the next world.
Typically I write something like this at Samhain as a reminder that the ancestors will be receiving us eventually. But now I am about to lose a dear friend of mine that I have known for 34 years and will have to put my beloved pet down for her health & medical reasons as well. I’m sad but not morose about this. Life continues regardless. The Sun still rises and sets regardless of what happens to any of us on this planet. Just remember that pain is often a teaching tool and if you embrace it, then it’s not as difficult to deal with as if you tried to run away and hide from or disguise it as something else.