Ryan

Growing Pains

In BEDA 2011 on April 10, 2011 at 1:49 am

I’m late again, I’m sorry.

The story of documenting this day, April 9, as it is still in some part of the world, is this horrendous back muscle pain that crept up on me in the early afternoon. OK, I’m a colorful writer, so let’s see if I can describe this perfectly.

I had been lying (laying? I’m horrible with this, and I can’t bother myself to look it up) on my bed, just not doing anything overly important on my computer, waiting to Skype with Kassie.

Then, all of a sudden, it seemed as though a knife had plunged into my back and twisted around my muscle.

My stomach churned as I wrote that; I’m sorry.

In short, if that was the early afternoon and this is 1:16 a.m., you can tell that I’ve been dealing with this for a while, and that it has simply not gone away.

I was supposed to hang out with a friend tonight, but I had to cancel because this pain was excruciating, and I saw no chance in it slowing down.

There were parts of the afternoon where I could not stand up from sitting in a chair because my back plunged into horrible pain. I don’t know how Harry could deal with his scar doing that, and every day, I think of how thankful I am to not have chronic headaches.

I honestly have no idea how people who have those have any sense of normal life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about body pain as it relates to the … um … philosophical idea of the person that lives within it. John Green read from his book on Friday afternoon, and in the first chapter, there was a lot of dense and heady stuff about death and coming into terms with that fact that consciousness is temporary.

I can already tell I’m going to struggle with that book.

It got me thinking that his more heady books take a while to get into. I did not like Looking for Alaska for the first couple of days I read it. Then, I got to the part where I became in love with the story, and it affected me greatly, and now, it’s one of my favorite pieces of literature out there.

Paper Towns doesn’t get heady until the end, and I read it as a quick, fun, hysterical mystery novel, until the mystery unwraps itself.

I think the reason why I can’t get through ‘Katherines’  lies in the fact that it probably gets really personal and thought-provoking at the very end, but whenever I go to read it, I miss the quick dialogue and the quirky characters.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson had its headiness at the end, too. Whereas the rest of the book explored fun kids trekking around Chicago and making Neutral Milk Hotel references.

All of this said, the fact that John’s writing a book about something so delicate as coming into terms with the inevitable brevity of consciousness really scares me as a reader.

I’ll be honest: While I enjoy thinking, it really worries me when I know that something I would typically derive thought after it’s over already offers heavy thought in its first chapter. That title-still-unknown-to-the-masses book is going to really send me on a whirlwind, and I can tell that’s is either going to be my favorite of John’s books or something that’s different than what I thought it might be from him reading the first chapter.

So, this breakout discussion of John’s books relates to the fact that we all experience something out of the norm with our bodies — illnesses, random bruises, head aches, whathaveyou — and that, in the end, our bodies are separate entities than us, its owner and functioner.

I’ve hated realizing this as of late because I always thought that cancer was something you can’t control, and it’s not. I SHOULD QUICKLY NOTE THAT I AM NOT THE SOURCE FOR CANCER TALK, SO THINGS I’M ABOUT TO SAY MIGHT BE FULLY INCORRECT. DO NOT TAKE IT OFFENSIVELY. Sweet.

But lately, I’ve heard more stories about people who took chemo and how that didn’t really help them. So, in the end, their bodies just couldn’t hold out.

I’ve also been talking with my friends lately about children with disabilities and the psychology behind being a parent with a child who isn’t what society at-large considers “normal,” which, you know, for me doesn’t match up. Normal for me is traveling across the country to meet friends I’d never bet before. So. Again, not the person source for these broad ideas.

But anyway, it all leads to questions of personhood and just how we become people. And, since reading John’s books, is, again, something I don’t think I will ever understand or want to understand.

It’s such a big philosophical thing when people are telling you to think of things complexly, and you love the quote “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person,” but you simultaneously have the disability of thinking that people are indeed more than people.

Sometimes I lay awake at night and think of people who I think of highly and then consider the fact that they have to buy groceries, go through break-ups, experience money problems, experience deaths, and I think of how those things bring me down to being a person, as opposed to random mass floating around and living up to people’s idea of me.

You know, it’s a lot easier to recognize when someone only thinks of you as an idea than it is to call myself out when I’m doing that for other people.

Anyway, that said, this blog post didn’t cure me of back problems, as I hoped it would.

I’m glad I’m blogging this month because usually I just drive myself into insomnia thinking about all the weird things about which I think at night.

Yay for outlets!

Did I come to any sort of conclusion in this blog post at all?

All right, I just read everything through again.

I guess I want my final thought on this blog post is that I am at a complete loss for accepting that personhood, in itself, is an idea, but we’re not allowed to think of others as ideas because that’s being shallow. I find it hard to accept that, at my core, I am simply consciousness, and I cannot control my brain to say, “Stop this random back pain!” and others cannot control their bodies enough to say, “Stop this illness!” “Stop this cancer!” “Stop this abnormality!”

Anyway, this is becoming too heady even for me, so I should go, you know, try not to become ill and worried about things and to just let things — what did Snape say in the fourth film? — “unfold.”

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  1. Hey,
    I’ve been busy so now I’m catching up on all your blog posts, but let me just tell you that I’ve been voting for you everyday and I will keep my fingers crossed for you! 🙂

    I don’t know if this will be related to the post at all (my mind tends to wander in completely different directions than previously thought when I write). There are books which complexity I don’t accept and upon which headiness I don’t reflect, simply because I taught myself to do that. I used to be a very emotional reader (I didn’t leave my room when I first read Wuthering Heights FOR A WEEK. Seriously.) Books affected me so much I couldn’t cope with other duties, they possessed my mind entirely. So after some time I learned how to refute headiness because I couldn’t handle the emotional charge. I think that that was when my senses got a bit blunted and now when I read something I have to read it three times to get it. Seeing a person as a person might be parallel here. Or not. I don’t know.
    great post by the way, I will certainly have to get back to it several times more 😉

  2. The crisis of existentialism trolls my mind perpetually, and everything you said is true. I lie awake at night and feel my heart beating, and honestly, the fear that it could stop, right then, and I could die, right now, is paralyzing. It’s scary that your body and mind are two separate entities, and to accept that they only sparingly decide to work together. It’s scary what separates you from life and death. And that’s when I respect hypochondriacs. They spend their whole lives in fear, with the idea that their bodies are blank canvases that diseases and illness are just waiting to jump onto. Maybe they’re on to something. Maybe we’re all just waiting around for something to catch us. I know I am. I’m always scared that life has to have a relative balance of good and bad. Nothing horrible has ever happened to me, so I’m worried the mole on my foot is skin cancer. Every day is judgement day. Okay, this is getting pretty dark, and tantalizingly close to a blog post on its own.

    Three years ago, I slipped a disc during lacrosse and I literally could not sit down or walk any faster than a stroll without feeling like my lower spine was made of shards of glass that stabbed my back, for weeks. And then one day, it was gone.

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