Last year, I got off the best April fool joke at work, but this year I just didn't have the heart for it.  A late-winter cold kept me home yesterday, and turned into a wheezy cough today.  I went home at 2:30 and finished up my taxes (or at least the first cut of them).  Misery compounded by misery.

Diana got back from CA last week, and had her chemo on Fri.  For the first time, I realized how much I was stuffing down about this whole cancer and chemo thing.  It upsets the hell out of me to see her hooked up to tubes putting stuff in her that makes her sick.  Yes, I know it makes her better, and all that.  My mind is sold on the whole business.  But emotionally, it still upsets the hell out of me.

And do I get upset?  No, of course not.  I really try to stay positive and helpful and do what I can to help her through the whole thing.  And that's what I should be doing.  But I need to make room for my own upset, too.  Not that anybody but me needs to get involved, but if I'm not feeling it, I'm stuffing it, and that leads to grumpy irritations and mild depression and who know what else.

So I pick up a plastic bat on the rare times that nobody is home and beat the shit out of the pillows on the bed.  It really helps a lot.  It's upsetting, but also calming.  My vision seems clearer.  I have things in context.  Amazing what a bat can do.

So I've been thinking about something recently.  In the 1800's, doctors had learned a fair amount about how the body worked, but surgery was still very crude.  The reason was that the pain of operating was so severe that it killed the patient if the operation went on more than a few minutes.  When anesthetic was invented, it became possible to turn surgery into an art form, and get much better results with much less trauma for the patient.

Being interested in personal growth, I'm amazed at the amount and intensity of pain that an ordinary joe like me carries around from my childhood.  Helplessly dependent on our parents, (who in my case believed in a spanking a day whether I needed it or not (and I usually did...), and a rational, unemotional, scientific approach to child rearing) when we experience pain, fear, or loss at their hands, the emotional intensity is overwhelming.  And we have no choice--there is no exit.  How it must be for those parents who were beaten, not spanked, or sexually abused, or abandoned by their parents, I can hardly imagine.

The good news is that we can work through this stuff.  And life gets a lot better if we do.  The bad news is that it hurts like hell.  Adults don't begin to live with the intensity of children, and it's hard to get in touch with what happened in order to work it through.

So here's my idea--how about an anesthetic for emotional pain?  Something that allows us to understand the full measure of the "bending of the twig" without feeling the pain of it.  I think some of those folks who used drugs in the 60's were instinctively groping for this, especially the psychologists who experimented with LSD.  But the point should not be to expand or distort consciousness, but rather to remove the pain so that the truth can come out.  And the truth will, indeed, make us free.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001-2003 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.