Guest Writer Wednesday: The Lyin’, The Strength, and The Weight Gain
Guest writer, Karli, embraces her "back pain" unicorn today! In her funky, fresh way, Karli describes how this pain has impacted her life and how she's coping with it.
Pain has become my new friend the last five months.
It hangs out mostly in my lower back, left glute, and mid-to-upper hamstring. Some call it Sciatica and lower back pain, I call it my new opportunity to practice mindfulness. What caused it, you might be wondering; I wonder the same thing. And then I ask myself, ‘Does it really matter?’ When I realize it it doesn’t, I move on.
I’m not writing this so I can get sympathy or so I can give my **pain-body more fuel for its fire. I’m writing this because I think, as humans, we have a life full of hurdles we must jump over in order to continue moving forward in a happy and healthy way. Some are the fun, “weeeee-I-love-this” kind of jumps, and others are like jumping over a stinky, farting monster waiting to chomp on your soul if you make one wrong move. Because of this life in track and field, we need tools to face Mr. Farty-Pants-McGee and say, “Hey, self, I fuckin’ got this.”
This has been my challenge since early April; not just because I’ve been in pain most days, but because of what else it has meant to my life.
What my Mr. Farty-Pants-McGee has meant for me:
-My work out regimen has completely changed (no more lifting weights, no more floor work, no more bar work, no more gym time)
*This was big for me.
-l0-pound weight gain
*This was also big for me as I’ve had severe body image issues in the past and it’s something I’m still not fully healed from (all thanks to our fucky culture)
-No more yoga (Namaste)
-Limping 65% of my day
-Driving, standing, walking, sitting, going to the bathroom, sneezing, putting on my shoes, putting on my pants, cleaning, working, brushing my teeth, getting it on like Donkey Kong, lying down, bending over, and reaching have all become painful.
-Waking up now means I need an extra hour in order to lie-out the pain
*Lying-out the pain means lying on my left side in fetal position from 5-15 minutes until the pain goes away because the first 5 minutes of walking hurts like a bitch.
-Everything taking just a little bit longer
So, as you can imagine fine reader, life has changed quite a bit. And when you live in chronic pain for a solid chunk of time and it fucks with your weight and everyday movement, it has the potential to get to your head if you’re not careful.
I set an intention early on in the process. I decided I wasn’t going to throw pity parties for myself or sit and stew and make stories about meanings of the pain. It’s just pain. That has been my mantra for the last few months now. And as my meditation teacher says, “It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just as it is.”
I decided I was going to feel it when it was there and let it go when it wasn’t. I was going to cry when I needed to cry. I was going to be accepting when I couldn’t run and show love for the extra pounds that grew on my belly, hips, and legs (which meant literally giving myself a squeeze and saying, “I love you, I love you, I love you” after looking in the mirror with judgmental eyes lingering from my mean girl in years past). And I was going to do what was in my power to help mitigate the pain (physical therapy and pain meds mostly).
I was going to do all those things and then stand up, brush it off, and get on with my fucking gorgeous day. Because after all, it’s just pain.
I’m not suggesting this has been a cake walk in the slightest. It sure as hell wasn’t easy lying on the bathroom floor after falling because of how intense the pain was, then standing up and reaffirming I was ok. Or when I have to do that jumping-kicking thing because my pants are a bit more snug and still continue to love myself in the weight gain. But I’ll tell you this, the practice of mindfulness and acceptance has kept unnecessary negativity out of my one shot I have on this spinning rock somewhere in the Milky Way, and that’s pretty fucking cool.
"...stand up, brush it off,
and get on with my fucking gorgeous day."
With every challenge comes an opportunity to practice how you want to show up with it. For me, I want my life to be as content and laid back as possible. Thanks to meditation, mantras, awareness, and acceptance, I’ve been able to maintain a pretty yummy mental space over the last five months. I’m stronger now because of it. And that, my lovely friends, is what it’s all about.
** Pain-body: the remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body.
The pain-body is a semiautonomous energy-form that lives within most human beings, an entity made up of emotion. It has its own primitive intelligence, and its intelligence is directed primarily at survival. Like all life forms, it periodically needs to feed – to take in new energy – and the food it requires to replenish itself consists of energy that is compatible with its own...Any emotionally painful experience can be used as food by the pain-body. That’s why it thrives on negative thinking.
The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness. **
-Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, 142-145
Bio: Hi, I’m Karli, Kristen’s younger sister. I like cats, baking, and making people laugh. I feel safest around people who swear and feel most threatened around people who like eggplant. My job is to help people and that’s pretty cool too. But mostly, I like cats.