A Letter To My Chronic Pain

To My Chronic Pain,

Hey there. I wish I could say it's been a while, but it hasn't.

You wake me up every morning with an ache that resonates in my bones the way my alarm clock pierces the air. You follow me around like a second shadow, always lurking, but almost never fully occupying my attention. It's hard to describe what it's like living with you because I can't remember what living without you feels like; ever since that fateful growth spurt in the fifth grade, you've been around, and I've adjusted.

Part of me started writing this with the intention of it being an angsty letter full of power and triumph, but now that I've started I know it can't be that way. The truth is I'm not sure how to live without you. You've been there for volleyball practices and tournaments, vacations, football games, birthdays, and dates...but looking back, it's almost sad how I can't imagine my life being any other way.

Don't get excited. We're not friends. I've only accepted you as a piece of me that I can't be rid of, something as quirky as a freckle or a dimple. We're not friends, but I still have to take care of you.

I'll admit, I'm not very good at it.

I try to ignore you to the point of tears, and I still sometimes wonder why it had to be me. You're lucky enough to have people who care more about you than I do. My family and my boyfriend have invested thousands of back rubs in you, ibuprofen, Aleve, heating pads, braces, mattress toppers, professional massages, and so much more.

Their situation is unique because they'll almost never get tired of dealing with it, whereas every morning is that same routine, and the exhaustion of acknowledging that I have to deal with you gets old.

You don't have to be my friend to teach me lessons, either. You've motivated me to spread awareness and create a talking point around scoliosis. In some strange way, you led me to my career; I want to connect with people like me, and I do that through my writing. You always challenged me to be as tough as I can and that resilience is key when you live like this.

With that being said, I guess I'll see you at Thanksgiving, on my birthday, at Christmas, at my wedding, and every day in between. I can feel you over my shoulder reading this, creeping up my spine to take a peek. Quit being so nosy and get your own life.

Best,

Your Host

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