Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Tally so far: $25

Complaint #4: My shoulder hurts. A lot. STILL.

Complaint #5: I feel like a pre-pubescent teenager with acne.

Realization: Complaining is not a painkiller, nor beautifier. That energy, however, can be put into action (or non-action, as the case may be).

I have chronic shoulder pain, the result of years as a competitive gymnast, hyper-mobile ligaments, and a car accident. In recent years it has been getting worse, and I find myself complaining when the relief I keep expecting doesn’t come, and I think to myself: “I’m twenty-six years old… what kind of pain am I going to be in when I’m EIGHTY-six?”

It’s very frustrating. And painful. (Not that I’m complaining.)

I really am, most of the time, warranted in my bemoaning of my pain — I really do have a pretty fucked up shoulder. However, with my recent Prospective Fund Project, every time I start to complain, I instead take the more economical approach and do one thing which might help remedy my ailment. In the past week, I have done the exercises a physical therapist gave me (twice) which I otherwise ‘forget’ to do (oops), made an appointment with an osteopath, seen an accupuncturist, and got up from the computer when my shoulder was screaming SET DOWN THE MOUSE AND WALK AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

Normally, I would just bitch.

I’m finding the money as negative reinforcement is only secondary; at the end of the day, I would happily donate $25 to a good cause. The true benefit of this project is the mindfulness that comes along with it. Where I would normally complain with little to no recognition that I was even complaining, I instead feel a little buzz in my chest right before I open my mouth that whispers is that really what you want to be saying, what you want to be doing, in this moment?

The answer is usually ‘no’.

Now, the acne thing — that’s another story. I suddenly (one day, one month, last year) broke out all over my chin, and it will not go away. I have never had a pimple in my life, and now my chin is chronically red. Stress, you say? Possibly. Diet? I eat like a friggin’ Alice Waters. Hormones? I knew I was a late bloomer, but this is ridiculous.

Well, as it turns out, no one can tell me why — not a doctor, not a dermatologist, not even my psychiatrist. So I have been meditating on the problem, and have figured out that it is life’s way of punishing me for needing to know. Once I don’t care, I reason, things will mysteriously clear up. In the meantime, the Perspective Fund Project is helping me bite my tongue every time I pass a mirror. I have better things to do:

I added up all the moments I would have spent feeling insecure, ugly, and sorry for myself, and instead wrote this blog post.

§421 · January 28, 2008 · Perspective · · [Print]

2 Comments to “Redirection”

  1. Alli says:

    I too had a bout of unexplained acne in my mid 20′s. While I prefer the all-natural approach, keeping my face clean with Dr. Bronner’s didn’t prevent the problem, so I finally tried Proactive (you know the annoying informercials with Jessica Simpson?), and it actually worked! These days you can buy it at the mall (there’s a cart near Pac Sun at the SR Plaza) instead of having to use their scheduled mail order program. It worked for me so just thought I’d share! :)

  2. thamuffin says:

    I feel you on the chronic joint pain.
    Managing pain for the rest of my life sucks (and HOUR of physical therapy a DAY?!) I’ve had the pain since I was like 8 and only recently started caring b/c “if I feel this way when I’m 24, how am I going to feel when I’m 40″ I love us!

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