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So I did something out of character.
I bought a concert ticket for a show in Colorado.
Shakey Graves, one of my favorite artists, is playing at Red Rocks and I had a moment of ‘I have to.’ I don’t totally know how I’m going to get there. I don’t know where I will stay. But in four months time I will sit in one of the most stunning music venues in all creation and experience something new.
I needed this.
Dealing with chronic pain has landed me in a challenging head space. My normal routine was completely disrupted by this back injury. For weeks I couldn’t drive. For weeks I laid on my floor and rolled dirt and hair out of the carpet while watching everything on Netflix. I cried instead of slept. Friends came to visit me. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t play.
Now I can walk (with a limp) and drive (with the seat at a strange angle), but the pain is a persistent poltergeist, mucking up my waking life. I’m not as kind these days. Don’t have as much patience. Pain has damaged my filter for social niceties. I can barely get through a five-hour shift at work, which sends me into tailspin of worry about my future and finances. I groan like a seventy year old when I sit down (spoiler alert: growing old is going to suuuuuck).
I am improving, but the healing is slow and my patience nearly out. I know things could be much worse. I try to be thankful for the progress I’ve made. But the silent, sneaky killer of chronic pain is the emotional toll. I’ve run the entire gamut of emotional response: denial, anger, hope, patience, depression, frustration, thankfulness. I’ve run it a few times now. I’m currently in that depressed/frustrated funk, served with generous helpings of self-pity and fear. Mmmmm.
So I bought a concert ticket.
I needed a goal, an adventure to look forward to, a glimmer on the horizon to chase – because I felt myself in danger of shutting down. Of not trying anymore.
I caught myself avoiding situations that might put me in pain, that require extra effort. On occasion I isolated myself, thinking loneliness easier than being in company while in this impaired state. It’s one thing to listen to your body, to stop when there is pain. That’s smart. It’s another to live in fear of pain, and to allow that fear to dictate what you do. To live a victim.
Even though it seems impossible now, I know it’s not. I’m going to Colorado in August.