Unlimited energy…what a wonderful thought. Most people who have aged out of childhood would love to be given an extra shot of easy energy, that’s why many of us drink coffee, or do crystal meth*.
It’s hard to picture my life in a body that has returned to health. The whole concept seems like such a fairytale, so foreign and laden with fantasy.
It’s much easier to picture the life that I would have lived if CRPS hadn’t shown up at all, despite knowing the inaccurate nature of parallel life fabrications. I guess parts of me are still letting go of that old future…
Nostalgia is part what happened and part deluded desire. It’s so pretty in its past possibilities. Once the bad stuff has been glossed over, there is only sunshine and sparkling memories with a sepia tinge. The things that never happened? Oh, how they would have…
The idea of unlimited energy sits a bit differently in my mind now than it did before CRPS. My body uses energy less efficiently these days. If I project myself to a place of unlimited energy, I’m going to have to tweak the parameters so that I have unlimited strength, too. While I’m at it, let’s just get rid of this chronic pain thing altogether.
There we go. I’m imaginarily healthy now. What would I do if this was real life?
I’d go and see the friends that I’ve missed for so long. I’d bring excitement and adventure to them, reminisce through recreation and then create new memories in that awesome realm of our melded minds.
I’d bring gifts, conversation, coffee and hugs to the friends that I’ve made who live with chronic illness.
I’d flit about flippantly and shower my loves with the friendship that has been insufficiently expressed in recent years. I’d be that person they remember and that evolving person that they’re always getting to know. A whole person; a friend and a lover, an acquaintance and a family member, a girl and a woman, a tiger and a unicorn.
I’d go to the zoo, to Luna Park, to the beach or the gardens, to a picnic or a pub. I’d just want to play like a puppy and get lost in a rapture of ridiculous fun.
I’d skip with you beside Melbourne’s arterial river, let you lift me up and twirl me around as though trouble could never catch us. I’d be as swift as the wind and as invincible as a child.
As fast as I could, until my lungs felt bursting with life. I’d swim laps until my limbs turned to jelly. I’d dance until I felt delirious. I’d drive all the way to paradise and catch waves in the setting sun and the summer breeze.
I’d exercise, really exert myself, and pay only the cost of well worked muscles.
I’d climb mountains and abseil down cliffs. I’d ride rivers, awash with white water. I’d trek through jungles, hike to the remotest parts of the world and take on every adventure along the way.
It’s been so long since I earned my own money and seems like forever since I paid my own way. I feel like, if I could physically handle employment, I’d be so much better at pulling off professionalism than I was in my younger days. Living with chronic pain, I have developed a skill for picking out what’s really important and not sweating the small stuff, or the small minds. I wouldn’t indulge in workplace drama and I wouldn’t waste time worrying.
The things I used to stress about are so foreign to me now, so easily solved and surmountable.
I’d cook every day. I’d explore new recipes, old recipes and create my own. I’d tend to the garden. I’d build a backyard of green and grow gorgeous beds of herbs and veg.
I’d keep my house clean. I’d clean it all at once, go on a spree and then collapse with satisfaction on my shining floor. I’d decorate it, dress it up and fill it with the furniture that I could afford because I’d be able to work.
You’d lick your lips in anticipation at the sweet scents from my kitchen, stifle jealousy at the sight of my luscious garden and marvel at my interior design.
I’d create a wardrobe of wonders, gifts for all my friends and maybe even design something worth selling.
I’d learn new crafts. I’d learn to play instruments. I’d go back to university, take courses and be able to carry through until completion. I’d learn everything, absolutely everything, and then I’d write about it.
In sickness, I’ve come to understand my ability to learn and create in an exciting new way. I’d take this gift back to health with me. I’d nurture it and let it shine through the conduit of my healthy body.
Ah, to be free. To make choices, suffer consequences and imbibe the wisdom of experience. I’d travel as far as my pennies could take me. I’d see all the things that have only ever met my eyes in photographs, or my soul in stories.
Until there’s comfort
Until it’s simple
And there’s nothing but me…
An excerpt from an old poem, one with words arranged forcefully and fuelled by frustration.
I used to let myself dream more often. The trouble was, without any sort of healthy perspective, those dreams would lead to tears. Realistic goals hold more comfort in the present moment. I find it easier to cope when my focus is dedicated to improving my immediate situation, rather than imagining that reality is not as it is.
Day to day coping aside, I do think that it’s important to dream. The best dreams are the ones that have roots in reality, but extend their branches to a reach beyond what is known for sure.
My goals for my life with CRPS are different to those that I imagine I’d have if I was living without it.
I dream about improvement, I dream about overcoming and I dream about accomplishing, in spite of all setbacks. I dream about writing regularly and for a wider audience. I dream about finding more effective methods to cope with my pain.
I dream the dreams of a broken optimist; I dream the dreams of an idealistic realist.
If I had unlimited energy, or freedom from chronic pain, I’d dream bigger and I’d achieve more than I do. I’d appreciate life like I have never appreciated it before. There are just so many amazing possibilities for people who have good health and peaceful minds, I’d want to pursue as many of them as I could.
Thanks so much to everybody that has been supporting me in the NHBPM challenge! If you like what I am doing, please share these posts with the people that you share things with or click that little thumbs up. It’s CRPS Awareness Month, which is why I’m choosing to disclose a little more about my health on a daily basis. The more awareness that we can raise, the easier it will get for people who are navigating the choppy waters of chronic pain.
Love & Sweet Fantasy,
*I don’t do crystal meth. Probably because I don’t have any crystal meth, or a death wish. But it is true that I’ve been watching a lot of Breaking Bad.
This post written as a part of National Health Blog Post Month, run by WEGO health. Check out what people have been contributing via #NHBPM on Twitter, or joining the NHBPM Facebook Event.