Friday, October 16, 2009

I Am A Study In Psychosomatic EVERYTHING

If you every wonder how I am doing and have the misfortune of knowing me in real life you don't really have to ask. Just look at my posture, my healthy glow or conversely my pallor, my cuticles... Okay, actually ask me instead of inspecting me like a monkey searching for nits and such, but you get the idea. I can hide my emotions and put awesome make-up to cover up the haggard look I sometimes sport, but too long in the sunlight and it fades. It melts away and my smile doesn't crinkle my eyes like a genuine smile should. It is at this point that people tell me I look tired, or worn out and I nicely resist punching them in their fucking neck.

When my mind is stressed my body is soon to follow. AM and I have a tiff about something trivial? Eczema only on the wedding ring finger. I am under deadline pressure at work and feel overly burdened? Back spasms assault me when I reach for a cup for my tea at the office. Existential angst about my "true calling" or "path"? Insomnia for a week or five. Not being able to afford donations to local NPR station or Loaves and Fishes? Break out the Malox and fiber pills, Mama can't digest her food.

And heaven forbid someone near me get ill, injured or overly stressed. Whatever ailment you have I pick up because I care for you so much my brain makes my body freak out with sympathy pains. Example: I had boyfriend in college who had a family history of bad knees. Here is what happened:

BF: (limps into apartment, sets down soccer gear)
Me: Are you okay? What happened?
BF: I slide tackled (name) before he could score and fucked up my bad knee.
Me: Oh shit, have you iced it yet?
BF: Nah, I should be okay.
Me: Really? Let me get some frozen peas. Just in case. It sorta looks swollen...

Five Hours Later

BF: Uuurgh! This really hurts. Can you grab me some more ibuprofen?
Me: Coming up shortly. (gets up stiffly from couch)

The Next Morning

Me: (waking up, I toss the covers off my legs) What the hell is going on with my knee?
BF: You mean MY knee? I can't bend it still. I think I might go by the doctor.
Me: Umm, no. Look at my knee. Something is going on.
BF: (he looks) Holy shit! Its as swollen as mine almost. Did you hurt it last night?
Me: (flopping back down on the pillows, realizing what it is) No. This is just because I love you.
BF: What?
Me: Sympathy symptoms. I must like you something awful 'cause this hurts a ton.
BF: You're body is weird.
Me: Yes, thank you for pointing it out.

When he twisted it playing soccer and it swelled to epic proportions, my corresponding knee was not far behind. I couldn't bend it and it actually swelled enough that I stopped by the school clinic. I took anti-inflammatories for a week and hobbled about until he was better. Once he was, overnight, the pain was gone. Same thing when he got his wisdom teeth pulled. I couldn't swallow or talk for 48 hours (relief to some I imagine).

So, it's cool and all that I know I can feel very strongly for others (and for my own gerbil on a wheel of a brain), but perhaps there is a way to feel a little less literally. Oh, who am I kidding? If tomorrow I lost this oft inconvenient way of experiencing the world I would feel... lost, disconnected, numbed. And, let's be honest I'd bitch about having lost it just as much as I do about having it in the first place.

But just because you love me and I love you, please do not seriously injure yourself or become intensely ill, thank you. I can only handle so many ailments at a time and right now there seem to be a few more flair-ups than I would like.

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