The concept of pain has been on my mind today. (I, quite frequently, delve into random thoughts while droning through work.)
Children of the Cross, as I like to think of us. Yes, I know, that probably doesn't make sense to a million people out there, but it makes sense to me, and it will make sense to some of you, too. We were young, we were incredibly fucked up, and we needed something solid. Pain is a solid force when you surrender to it. Pain can make the haze clear (or the clear hazy, if that's your goal), and pain can make everything seem worth it. Kinksters, we were not; we were in it for the pain - don't let anybody fool you. The people who made it about sex pissed us off, and we made it clear that we were here for a purpose. We wanted to see that white light on the outsides of our gaze, and we could fight off four or five of you to get there. We had something to prove - even if we didn't know what it was at first. But beyond that, we had something to gain, something to attain. We were the subculture within the subculture. And it was a beautiful thing. (The most beautiful thing I have ever seen is your face, flushed red, when you felt the first sting of the single tail. Pig tails be damned; you were THE woman, the first woman, the only woman, in that moment.)
Nearing 30 now, I often ponder the psychology of pain, the purpose of it, and whether or not I'd ever go back to that place. I do miss it. I long for that fuzzy feeling like it was a limb I've lost. Sometimes, I feel lost without it. It was while pondering this concept of pain that I came across the Newsweek article "Mad Pride." BAM! The concept of pain smashed headlong into the concept of fucked-up-ed-ness and the origin of all the not-too-normal.
I spend a lot more time than I let on thinking about what is normal. Was I ever normal? Did I enjoy being a lot LESS normal than I am now? Surely, there are drawbacks to being fucked up just as there are drawbacks to being medicated and on an even-keel. I remember the highs and lows of letting my body, my brain, and my emotions do whatever they wanted. I remember that I used to write poetry, fiction, and songs. I remember that I felt a deeply connected spiritual grounding that I feel I have lost. I was a damn-strong mentalist (we'll not use words like psychic around here, Missy), witch, and healer. DAMN STRONG. I remember that I enjoyed pain because I enjoyed the end-result. The path to it wasn't important; only the moment when I got there was important. I could choose to do anything to get me there. Some would argue that we were not unlike addicts in our quest for pain-zen. I know I sure was. I chose to give up MUCH in that search.
But there are some days when I feel I've been numbed to all of that just so I can do what is expected of me. If I want to get out of bed every day and come to work, I have to take my medication. How much have I sacrificed to be part of "normal" society? Gone are the crosses. Gone are the spine-numbing heels. Put away are the instruments of pain. They collect dust, and it makes me sad. Mom jeans (though I am not a mom) and sensible shoes pack my closet now, and a Saturday night means in bed by 10PM.
In every culture in the world but America, the state of being fucked up is celebrated. You can talk to a spirit? The Native Americans would be elated. You can feel someone's pain and diagnose their illness? India is calling you. You say you can hear ghosts? Britian has a TV show just for you. If you can do any or all of these things in America, however, you are promptly labeled and drugged. Even if you can't see or hear ghosts but you just can't-get-out-of-bed, we've got a pill for you. Beyond this, in every culture in the world but America, the state and concept of pain are revered also. Because pain leads to the state of fucked up, which ranks highest among what people can do to make themselves more god-like or bring themselves into harmony with their gods. In my mind, you can't have one without the other. When we became "normal," we stopped seeking out pain. We stopped seeking that state of zen because we had bills to pay, husbands to feed, and we were incredibly fed up with the bullshit we got from the other members of our subculture. When did that happen? When did we cross over from Children of the Cross to Baggers of the Groceries? And why can't we go back? Are we on the outside now, forever?
The discussion about Mad Pride is one I have had with myself a million times. Would I be better off without my medications? Would I be happier? More creative? More spiritual? Or, am I just better where I am now making sure I am able to do what society says I must? Is there a happy medium? I want to believe that I can do both; but on some days, it is incredibly difficult when just being a normal worker-fish makes me so goddamn tired. What room is there for pain, for fucked-up spirituality when you're so tired? The thought of being a weekend-er pisses me off. It relegates something incredibly personal to me, incredibly important to me to a hobby. I truly feel as though I am hiding part of myself, part of my history and story, by just being 9-to-5 fish. I feel like a fake because I'm not all here - part of me is still back there waiting for the next strike.