Yesterday, I read My Body is a Cage by Wiley at Disrupting Dinner Parties. (Notes on the link for trans* and body image issues.) The whole thing is great and worth a read. But I’m bringing my thoughts about it over here because the line that resonated most with me is a bit removed from the overall point, and I don’t want to derail.
I’ve taken enough Advil, in order to be able to function, that at twenty-four I probably have the liver of a middle-aged alcoholic.
Yeah, I know that amount of Advil. Or naproxen. And Tylenol. And a somewhat lesser amount of codeine.
I do not like it, but I need it.
I also know “functioning.”
And you know what?
I hate functioning.
Functioning is too low a bar.
Functioning is waking up stiff and sore, with a small fire in one’s pelvis, but getting dressed anyway. Functioning is holding off on Tylenol 3 because you have to drive to work. It’s slicing T3s in half — not to make them last longer (though that is an added bonus) but because you can’t do what’s necessary on a whole one. Sometimes the penalty for clear thinking is more pain.
Functioning is driving home dead. Cooking or reheating dinner without noticing the flavor. Eating mechanically, unable to carry or follow a conversation. Feeding the dogs and letting them out but not playing with them. Functioning is shrugging away hugs and caresses, unable to enjoy what should feel good.
Lying in bed, sleepless for hours, until exhaustion finally wins over pain.
Functioning is a shit standard, one with no regard for the quality of life of the person in pain.
I want to be sufficiently pain-free to enjoy my students every day, and to have them enjoy me. Right now, I plan and prep and structure so that my pain doesn’t show. But… imagine if I had all that and could still bring my A Game everyday?
I want to come home and perform household chores with boredom and not fatigue.
I want to play with my dogs and not halfheartedly.
I want to talk and listen to my husband, to get caught up in conversations, caught up in touches.
It’s not enough to function. I want to live