First, the nausea hits like a fist hard to the stomach, and lingers. The ache begins at the back of my neck and then swarms, covering my skull. Ah, SHIT. Not again. I stand, and then the throbbing begins. I take a step, and must close my eyes against the relentless pounding; close them against the stabbing swords of light aiming for my brain. The tears slip out under my shut-tight eyelids, as I stumble in slow motion to my room. Blinds closed, drapes closed against the otherwise cheerful sunshine. Doors closed, blocking the sounds that make explosions in my head, making the nausea rise in waves. Ease carefully into bed, moving so slowly, trying to keep an even keel, trying not to rock the boat of my head, causing the waves of pain to pound so much harder on the shore of my consciousness. My hands press the pillow over my eyes to keep out whatever light seeps through chinks in the window coverings, and then down over my ears to make the world that much more silent. Alone in the quiet unmoving darkness I stop fighting it, and let it wash over me, knowing there’s no way out but through. I try to meditate. I breathe. I cry. Above all I try to be still. It might be hours. It’s sometimes days. I sleep if it lets me – The Headache. Like a stalking beast, I feel its presence always; whether it’s tearing me to bits, or hovering just behind me waiting to pounce. Eventually it calms, and I can live again.
I move about my world, and try to be productive while I can. I smile and laugh with the ones who love me, and stay with me even through this. I do the things that need doing. And then. SHIT. That fist in my belly. And it starts again.
Migraine affects more people than we imagine: over 4 million Americans suffer from chronic migraine, which takes at least 15 days of our lives each month. It binds us with pain: what could we accomplish if we were free?
its 3am and i still think about you all the time
outside my window the moonlight falls softly
addicted to the way you smiled like
a mystical snowflake before it melts
how you broke apart like i’ve been
every night for the past three years
your name tasted like glass
etched onto the stone wall
all i could see was you and the times leading up to that night
under the neon lights and ferris wheel the high i’ll forever chase
i remember the world flashing from blue to green
glow sticks and lit up signs and your leather jacket
i got lost in your smile the way others were lost
in tasteless drinks and washed up music just so
we couldn’t hear our dying heartbeats slowing down
but when i looked at you the world didn’t make a sound
i remember how the afterparty ended
with you sitting across from me
im sorry for the way i looked at you
and everyone leaving without us
i saw you walking towards the ferris wheel
with moonlight on your smile and i thought
about how i wished tonight would last forever
how much it would hurt when you leave
and i thought about your haunting voice
like faraway sunsets and clear blue waves
it really did feel like all these years were leading up
to that one night enchanting in a shattered world
you held my heart for the little pieces of memories
i held my breath for all the things we never said
there were tears in your eyes
as you kneeled down
and wrote a boy’s name in
the gravel with your finger
i leaned against a stone wall
watching you break yourself
and my hands found their way
carving a name onto the wall
fingers covered in cold blood
forgotten how it felt to be alive
blurred between heavenly lines
it never felt so good to fall apart
i engraved a name on the stone wall
your name that has never left my mind
i wonder if you ever saw the crooked letters
when you asked me about the cuts on my hand
i couldn’t give an answer because there’s not
a moment the word wasn’t my whole entire life
if i could go back in time and undo
that night i don’t think i ever would
your name tasted like shadows
remains untouched on the stone wall
ever since that night i haven’t been able to breath
its 4am and i’m sorry i wasn’t enough
i’m a child clutching a handful of strings.
my tiny hands struggle to grasp them all at once,
refusing to let a single one go.
i had been adding to my collection of helium balloons
for as long as i could remember
and i couldn’t bear to lose one now.
at this age i realise that
one day, i might just lose grip of them all,
sit and watch as they float out of my reach.
or i could continue to gather my precious balloons,
go on like this until my feet come off the ground. that sounds like fun.
but like most children, i’m never quite sure, at any given time,
of whether i should stay on the ground or reach for the sky.
Pain in the Butt
Sweetness is how I felt of the tinny tiny voice of that inner child. That inner child of mine, or yours, hers, his… among each of us.. It doesn’t come out often, and its voice is often not loud. It only came out at most awkward moments, and we notice it only when our feelings got hurt or finally got heard. I see it in my cats a lot more, than in myself. Maybe because the shadowy side of me purposefully suppressed that sweetness side of me. Shadow-work is what I have been doing a lot lately. Just as life has the bright side, the sunny shinny fun side, so there’s the contracting side, the shadowy dark side. The side that I least want to admit, most want to shoveling away, pushing aside and not wanting it to be heard, like all the culture taboos.
When you told me that in your culture, it’s rude to fart at the dinner table or public places, and that you hold your whole day’s farts, until at the end of the day, to release all of them out only at your own apartment bathroom, only when you finally got back home from a long day of work…. I was just so impressed: How could you be able to torture yourself so?!
My cats never had any shame or qualm about farting or pooping right in front of my face. And how many hidden and shadowy taboos are being applied to all of our daily lives? Self-control and controlling over everything and everyone around us; policing ourselves as well as rest of the world. Controlling become part of new norms for our lives, thus, undoing such mentality also becomes part of my mission in deepening the understanding of myself, understanding and observing the world around me. How each of us control the self, the surrounding creature-beings: bigger cats controlling smaller cats, smaller cats over new-born kittens, cycles of oppression, cats towards cats, then cats towards even smaller creatures around them, over flies and cockroaches… such a chain of controlling was thus formed. Momentum of controlling pushed us further away from who we truly are, away from the sweet voice of that inner child, as if there is no time and no space for any of such tiny voices to be heard. In such way, life is churning into some forms of aimless motions and vicious momentums... A pain in the butt! Such a chain of endless controlling and endless pain, who are you trying to control to? You are a pain in my butt, but you are my butt too. What should I do? I don’t know… hmm..
Last time when I saw my boy cat Zodiac… he was crying… He was very upset that I kept him and other kitties locked in my bedroom all night and all morning… He kicked his brother Maple’s butt, beat him up, perfectly timed while Maple was focusing on taking his own quiet poop-duty in his dome-shaped litter box. How upset Zodiac must be, and how upset both of them must be at the end of fight inside that litter box. Zodiac wanted to show me how sad and troubled he was, by bullying other cats, right in front of me: kicking Maple’s butt while Maple is pooping, or picking on his much smaller new-born brothers and sisters, while they were resting. Just so I could witness and hear his inner suffering, inner-child’s crying-pain and sorrowful voices, so that I could finally feel his inner out-of-wreck tumultuous emotions. But I was just sitting there, amazed by all those chaotic shows he was putting on right in front of my eyes…
At the end, exhausted, Zodiac ran up to the top bunk bed, started chewing, biting and kicking on my favorite stuffed animal--a poor reindeer with long listless legs. He yanked, yanked, yanked real hard.. so hard, that I felt the pain, he felt the pain, even the lifeless stuffed reindeer felt the pain… The air felt pain, and even all the flees in his fluffy fur felt painful too… My poor soul, my poor chubby little baby, stop tormenting yourself so. I heard your pain. Let’s just try some minor adjustments. I gently and softly put my hands on his back, on his butt... We are one, you are my painful butt, I hear your pain. But we could take baby-steps together, we can get through this together. Everything will be fine eventually. I love you unconditionally, with immense patience and love.