When Nino falls and gets an ugly black welt on his shin bones, he cries rarely, picks himself up quickly, and wears his scar with pride. Male, I mutter, disgust and awe and admiration all mixed up a bit, at a creature who came from inside of me, but is SO incredibly different from me.
But all my life I've met more women than men, who wear their scars proudly, looking down on those, especially of their gender, who break down easily. I'm married into a family that seems to be made only of these emotional amazons, and I've long faced the brunt of my own family's admonitions, that I suffer, because I am too emotional, too soft, and have a low pain threshold.
My first encounter with the female-perpetuated philosophy of 'threshold of pain' came in middle school, with my first period. For a year, I would have five days of near-insanity, with vomiting, hallucinations and excruciating pain. My mother, who has had the easiest hormone cycle perhaps possible, could only look at me in sympathy, as my father nursed me and my sister took days off from her school to make sure I din't die... because trust me, if you could die of pain, I would have.
The 'threshold' got invoked again and again, by female friends and female relatives and female in-laws for the small things like my inability to get waxed, to the 'big' things like how I wouldn't let my cervix open so that Nino could have a normal birth.
It dint' matter that my body too revolted against pain: waxing gave me allergies that lasted for days, so I've shaved almost all of my teenage + adult life, and that perhaps I was too emotionally disturbed when Nino was in the process of being born. My 12 hours of pain, were brushed aside as 'not real labour', because frankly, I did have to be operated later. It was a character badge that I was not worthy of receiving. Adults = Pain bearers, and therefore I remain immature.
I've always felt that my physical pain mirrored a mental state, that the two were complimentary if not conjoined. Over the last two months, living through crazy-ovaries related migraines, and hot flashes, unending lower back pain and vertigo, to a series of incredibly painful abscesses (all first time incidents with me), I'm now questioning what message my body is trying to give me. If it is trying to increase my pain threshold, perhaps it may have moved up a notch or two under the constant onslaught at new kinds of pain. If that is so, I wonder if I'm being prepped for an emotional calamity of sorts - because don't the elders say that you only carry the cross you can bear?
As I spend my nights in pain, crying in the quiet of a room where no one hears me, at an age that by default denies me of sympathy or caring or nursing, I rage against both my pain and my inability to beat it. It follows me everywhere, even inside the recesses of my soul, like a shadow I cannot shake off. And if I hate it so much, how will its purpose make sense to me?
3 hours ago