Friday, April 12, 2013

Is that all there is?

“It's a very salutary thing to realize that the rather dull universe 
in which most of us spend most of our time 
is not the only universe there is.”
                                                                                                 -- Aldous Huxley

Self portrait 4-12-13
I am a prisoner held captive by chronic pain.
It is a lonely confinement that holds me hostage, day and night.
Some days are better than others.
Sometimes, my pain allows me some freedom -- a little fresh air and sunshine, some semblance of "normal."
But other times ... other times are something else entirely.
Other times, daylight is snuffed out and the prison walls close in.
The unrelenting pain is exhausting -- physically, emotionally, psychologically.

It starves me of precious sleep. (The stingy sleep rations here are like watery slop shoved under the door on a filthy tin plate.)
It steals my confidence.
It grinds down my defenses.
It erodes my relationships.
It devours hope and shits despair.

It's tempting to give up.

Except that I've found an escape.
I've located a secret passageway that takes me to another place. A place beyond the pain.
These faces.
This art.
This blog.
This is how I escape the pain.

I can't stay here forever, of course. My visits are clandestine. It is a temporary sanctuary. But a sanctuary nonetheless.
Here, I forget the pain if only for a little while.
Here, something like a blessing lifts me up and out and away.
Here, there is a kind of relief, even if it is simply a momentary distraction, a fleeting illusion.
Whatever it is, I don't care.
Until the pain snatches me back from this other place, I'll sink hard and deep into the sweet beautiful weightlessness of this atmosphere. I will cling desperately, begging it to devour me, to gobble me up so that I never have to go back into my hungry captor's claws.

But I know pain will hunt me down.
I can already hear its footsteps closing in.
Feel its hot, sour breath on my neck.