It’s funny for me to think about the notion of pain; it has to be because I experience so much of it. If I let the weight of how I felt affect me the way it could, I probably wouldn’t survive. With that being said, I realized one day that there is a distinction to made between persons with disabilities and persons who have disabilities who, consequently, are in constant pain because of said disability.
If I ask some of the people I work with about their disabilities, the answers will come varied of course. But what I’ve come to understand is that some people become disabled, or are born disabled, and they choose to live without this becoming a barrier; they’re able to live barrier-free lives because they’ve come to adjust to their disability. As to my inquiry, part of this will entail learning whether or not a disability causes constant pain. And from this line of inquiry I’ve learned that barriers have been overcome because while a disability might exist, it often exists without the inclusion of pain.
That is where my story comes into play. For the longest time I’ve had to explain to people about my disability, which is nasty work because it involves two factors: one is that unless you follow me around for the day, where you will come to notice how I’ll eventually start limping, then my disability will remain largely invisible. Secondly, my disability causes intense, chronic pain. It is pain that will never go away, unless I decide to become transhuman and have both my ankles and feet replaced by robotic parts.
Having become disabled after, at one time, not having been disabled, I can look at my situation from various standpoints. And I know how easy it is to look at and hear about someone’s problem, thinking that I can or could possibly understand, when in fact there’s no way that I could. This notion of viewpoint is important to me because as an Atheist, I have trouble when people tell me that from a life of suffering there is some great reward to be had in the afterlife. Well, I don’t believe that, which means I have to work doubly hard to try and achieve some measure of happiness in the life I’m living now. This, of course, is difficult, because I’m in constant pain. I wake up positive enough, though often times it won’t last. Pain gets old and makes one weary; it causes depression. It’s difficult to be active, and when others can tell you’re in pain, there’s little to work with in terms of ideas like “having fun.”
That is why I can appreciate Jennifer Aniston’s work in Cake (2014). Her portrayal of a woman in constant pain is something I can relate to, and I appreciate that she put forth the effort in not making anything glamorous about the experience. One result of her character’s situation causes her to suffer from recurrent dreams about jumping off the Los Angeles freeway maze, a point on which I can relate to a little too well. I love movies but often I get queasy when I think about some actor demanding trillions of dollars to play a part, so I don’t often give praise to these ridiculous endeavors. Every once in a while, though, a movie comes along that is somewhat worth mentioning, if it conveys the experience of what a person really goes through well enough.