An Open Letter to Pain


We meet again.

You’ve always kind of lingered. Here and there you’d make your appearance. You’re just always around, either directly in my story or someone else’s. You’re like an explosive relative. We all brace for you, and though we hurt for the others impacted by you, we all breathe a little sigh of relief when your wrath isn’t directed at us.

But lately, it has been.

Your wrath has been right here.

Right. In. My. Face.

Loud and clear, bro.

You pop up, and you explode, and everything seems to go to hell for a bit. The earth shakes, the ground separates, and I claw and grasp, and still seem to fall into that vortex until you decide to release.

It always has to be on your timing, doesn’t it? You temperamental prick. You can’t just listen when I say, “You have to stop. I’m at my edge.” Instead, that just fuels you. You dig deeper, push harder, bend me like I’m rubber just to show that I won’t break.

Yes, I’m always a little impressed when all is said and done. I’m always impressed by the flexibility of the human soul to bend far past what one once believed was a breaking point, but when I say “no” I mean it. No means no, don’t you get that?

You clearly haven’t been watching the news lately…

Oh pain, you’re a stubborn one, a sly one. You latch yourself onto the good things. You somehow make your way into the good moments, the moments that you didn’t even exist in. Somehow these moments become vulnerable when they turn into memories, and you manipulate them, shift them, break them.

You make them replay over and over in our minds, shouting, “Remember this? Remember how happy you were? Remember how simple this was? Do you think you’ll ever be able to feel that way again? Because I don’t.”  

They all tell me that it’s a lie, you’re a liar, but you’re so slick, so convincing, and in the moment, in the darkness, in my most vulnerable hours, I believe you.

 It hurts. It really freaken hurts.

You wear so many masks, so many costumes. One day you’re anxiety, the next day you’re depression. One day you’re a stomachache, the next day you’re a dehydrating amount of tears. One day you remove the taste from my food, the next day you evoke cravings that won’t rest until they are met. You will not rest until your needs are met. You’re relentless, a bad ex-boyfriend, a smarmy bully.

And despite all of this bad, all this havoc you wreak on real people, real lives, the world just flatters you. That’s what drives me nuts.

How are you to learn your lesson if people keep glamorizing you? You’re in too many movies. Too many books. You’re a sick central line in so many tales, and people eat it up.

How are you to ever learn your lesson? How are you to ever know how unwanted you are, how desperately you need to change, grow, mature into a decent being, if people, even the ones who have blatantly stated behind your back how much they despise you, admire you to your face? You’re always a central theme.

You just always have to be the center of attention, don’t you?

Oh, pain… pain in my heart, pain in my ass, pain in my husband’s right knee.  You’re a nuisance, and a parasite, and a cancer, and a blessing.

Yeah, you heard me correctly. I mean, don’t flatter yourself. I still hate your guts. But yes, I guess you have been a bit of a blessing.

A blessing for my marriage, molding us together, ripping out any loose screws and instead welding every inch of us into one body able to withstand any weather.

A blessing to my abilities, to my strength. You tear me down like a strenuous workout, but when everything heals, when the muscles of my soul begin to repair, they’re stronger, fierce even.

A blessing for forcing me to reevaluate, reorganize my priorities, my worries, my fears.

You do have a way of forcing me to focus, to find joy in the smaller things, the warm moments. Once again, don’t flatter yourself, I’m the one who did it, you just coerced me into it.

So there you have it. Happy? Might you consider leaving me alone for a bit now?

It truly frustrates me to say all this. I mean, these conversations are never easy, you make sure of that. Most of the time, I can’t even bring myself to give you the recognition that you probably deserve, you know for the book you helped me write, the life you helped me create, the strength you helped me find… but I do want to… I want to say…. I probably owe you a…

Thank you.

Sincerely as an annoyed and exhausted writer can possibly be,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s