An Insider’s Guide on How to be Sick

I did not write this, but needed to share it.

“Never say the words ‘this is not my life’

This pain that wakes you screaming in the muzzle of the night

That woke your lover, chased into another room

into another life

This fevered fainting

This trembling chest

This panic like a cave of bats

This nurse drawing blood wearing doubled gloves

This insurance doesn’t cover that

This hurried paycheck of doctor after doctor after doctor

This stethoscope that never hears your heart

This hospital bed

This florescent dark

This save your prescription with side effects worse than the disease

This please let me have one month where I read more poems than warning labels

This not knowing what the test will say

This pray pray pray

This airplane’s medical emergency landing

Shame when you can’t walk

Shame when you’re home alone sobbing on another friday night

Say ‘This is my life

This is my precious life

This is how badly I want to live’

Say Sometimes you have to keep pulling yourself up by the whip

Take punch after punch to the face forward

To the head up

And still uncurl the fist of your grief like a warm blanket on the cool earth of your faith

Say every waiting room is the clime where you will finally take shape to fit into the keyhole of your own gritty heart

To open mercy

To open your siren throat

Say every fever is a love note to remind you that there better things to be than cool

Fuck cool

Fuck every pair of skinny jeans

From the month your muscles atrophied to a size two

Say fuck you to anyone who asks you if you eat enough

Say how do you not know that is so fucking rude

Remember you never have an obligation to fight the hurricane in your chest

Especially on a day when another healthy person suggests ‘you would feel so much better if you would just focus your breath into a Buddha beam of light

Like that blind is going to miraculously dissolve the knife that’s been churning in your kidneys for the last six fucking months

Say Sunshine, please go back to your job at the aroma therapy aisle at Whole Foods and leave me alone

I know how to help my body

God does not expect me to use my inside voice

God knows how goddamn hard I am working to become a smooth stone

So I can skip on my back across this red red sea

So I can trust deep in my screaming bones

Everything is a lesson

Lesson #1 through infinity

You will never have a greater opportunity to learn to love your enemy than when your enemy is your own red blood

Truce is a word made of velvet

Wear it everywhere you go

Bandage the window where you screamed at the mountain for forgetting your footsteps

Trust that mountain is climbing you

Especially on the days you inevitably want to avalanche everyone who loves you

When you can’t walk from the bed to the bathroom without clenching at the walls

When you can’t imagine you can fall to pieces in another’s sturdy arms and still be seen as whole

Remember, the universe only became the universe when it shattered into dust

And that shattering is the one thing you can always trust enough to tell you

the truth is so quiet

you may never have heard it without a stethoscope pressed to your chest

That is to say in the house of your compassion its possible illness will be the landline

And its how you will begin to hear the world clear as a pin dropping

The downpour of its eyes

The long quarter of its broken throat

On my most broken days

when my faith is a willow and the pain has nothing but an ax to give

The only thing I want more than to die

is to live

Is to live to hear my neighbor play his music obnoxiously loud

To get cut off in traffic fifty more times

To get broken up with while standing in line at the DMV

To have another doctor drive another needle into my skin for the hundredth time

So I can say, for the hundredth time, that needle is the needle on a record player, Doctor, everything and I mean everything can learn how to sing”

~Author Unknown

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