So I broke my hand in a fashion too dull to be described.
Sad, really, that I have no moral lesson to gain from this situation. I’ve needed stitches from punching out windows and gone to the ER last Halloween for wearing a stupid costume contact. I’ve fallen down drunk and smashed my face while skateboarding.
But this incident had to trigger. No one to blame. Pure, random, chance. To make things challenging, I’ve just had a bone graft in my jaw. It was the most painfully torturous extraction and procedure. But I’m alright. I’m dealing.
I saw a woman recently walking down Hillhurst Avenue with a neck brace. Not any neck brace, but a full metal collar, connected to her skull and propping her head from the shoulders. I’ve seen these before. My mother’s friend fell down the stairs when I was a child. She had to endure multiple sugeries and wear this terrifying headpiece. I was drinking coffee or having brunch or shopping aimlessly– something so luxurious in its simplicity, I took it for granted. I saw this broken woman and froze, remembering the stiff pain following each accident, and the decline in health and attidute each brought: concussion, bronchitis, allergic reactions, nausea, pains, sprains, dependency, depression. Her frame lurched down the sidewalk.
Did she have no one to drive her? Was there no one who could help her from store to store? This woman in her hour of need… solitary, stumbling, visibly suffering. My heart went out to her. I’ve never experienced such pain. It looks terrifying.
The past month has been spent in clinics, waiting rooms, examining tables and pharmacies. Ironically, I’m working on a health–focused mobile application, one that manages prescriptions. It’s come in quite handy. And I’m working, because I can’t bear the concept of solo recuperation. I can’t stand isolation, introversion be damned. I’m pushing myself to keep up. To stay active. Forcing myself to walk down the street today to fill a prescription was an incredible challenge.
There are so many ways to deal with periods of difficulty. There is karma, explained to me by a very kind car rental manager when I returned a smashed up Mustang. I was using the Mustang because my Honda was totaled. Two accidents, one week. He described karma as energy, a collection of similar forces that happened to be drawn to me at a particular time. It was not about eye-for-an-eye style retribution. I’ve had friends tell me my circumstances occured because of the moon. Apparently, most people are feeling pain right now. And it’s a time to let the pain out. We’ll all be better after the pain escapes our bodies. There are those theories.
And then there’s the way I perceive this moment. It’s just a bunch of shit happening at the same time.
I know, from extensive consumer research and armchair psychology, that we humans have a tendency to apply meaning to situations where there is no meaning. See anthropomorphism. Faces in the sky. Jesus in your toast. God. When bad things happen to us, there has to be some reason. We’ve got to make some rationale for why.
Advertising uses this. Movies use this. Religion uses this. We use it on each other, when we talk about karma and moon cycles and praying. I’m looking at this moment as a willful transformation of energy. It’s not easy to change this type of physical, chronic, crippling pain into positivity. But that’s what life is, taking tragedy and turning it into triumph.
The traumatic tooth cracking of this morning, the random breaking of bones, extreme reactions to medications, and inability to exercise or type or play my beloved guitars is driving me to ultimate frustration. But it’s a test. It is a reminder of how precious health is, and an encouragement to remember: reality is what we make of it.
all mixed media art & drawings © Suzy Mae, 2013