There are many types of illness. Most depend on my definition on what I think the word means. And that changes.
What begins as “I don’t feel too good” quickly swings to “But I’m ill!” when challenged (to re-evaluate an inferred “malingering”). My not feeling too good is seen as weakness – an excuse for shirking responsibilities way bigger than my personal feelings of ill-health.
Not feeling too good comes with a ton of guilt.
But then the ace in the pack … a horrid dose of vomiting – an explosion of the bowels – a bodily collapse and recuperation – the winning-hand of “I told you I was ill – and you didn’t believe me – so now you’d better feel guilty – just like you made me feel guilty!”
No guilt required.
But between that and “that” we have tablets and self-prescribing readily available. And if we “cared enough” (for others?) we would take a tablet or tonic for constipation … diarrhoea … headaches … back pain … menstrual periods … being run down … not sleeping … for any/all the ailments that are classed as “malingering” (should I decide to yield – if I choose to be weak – if I selfishly shirk my responsibilities – make others pick up the slack)
Guilt and guilt again!
I have come to view these onsets of “weakness” and “malingering” as opportunities to listen to something important. My body is talking to me when I don’t feel too good. Sometimes a protracted worry-fest. Sometimes too much good-living self-imposed. Sometimes the warning flags of something more serious.
I have learned to listen rather than be “macho”.
My body does not talk to me only when it is not feeling good. It’s just that when my body is working wonderfully I don’t bother to listen then either. I fill my life with stuff that becomes too important NOT to do … a meeting at work … taking the dog for a walk … putting the bins out … doing a certain spreadsheet … being available to do stuff others believe I must do to justify my place in this world.
It’s called “being productive”.
But I have come to think that when I am not feeling too good, then I am still me – just a slowed-down me, a breathe-a-little-more-deeply me, a take a breather rather than rush down the road (as usual) “me”.
I have come to learn that if I always just pop a tablet so I can continue rushing down the road as usual … I am storing up something that will eventually bite back.
Because my body and brain and soul are one. And if my brain decides to ignore my body then my soul is in the mix somewhere also taking a view. And I have found that eventually my body, brain and soul will align and become an unstoppable force: a “two word” unstoppable force:
And then logic and love are out of reach to me. Work and my continued employment? Fuck it! Marriage and my continued relationship? Fuck it! Children and their usual overlap with our living? Fuck it! The dog and her mute needs for walks and a little tlc? Fuck it!
I now need my time – I have earned my time – I am past the point of living for you and you and you – I have earned my me-time. I need my me-time. I have paid my dues – and now it’s my turn – fuck it!
I think we all have that capacity within us.
Some take longer, some less. Some are verbal, some internal. Some shout-out, others switch-off. But we all have the capacity to reach that point where “What about me” is the only priority.
And I also think that – much like the “always on” society of social-media and smart-phones – we have encouraged an “always on” approach to our bodies never intended for such intense living. Not in the way we now live.
Usually a sedentary life with frenzied mental living. Electrical impulses firing madly … internal highs flooding … muscles taught and wired … external image everything …
Is it any wonder religion suffers not from “religion” but from “human”?
Humans increasingly convinced that burning the internal candle at both-ends is the only way to live. Increasingly living an external mask – never looking down and hearing my small internal voice …
“Slow down … slow down … hear me … see me … love me better … “
Love God, others and self the same?
How can we even begin “that” if we choose to ignore our own self?
And if we don’t hear ourselves – how can we ever hear anyone else?