This is something that’s going around among the chronic pain community. What would you do with one day without pain?
Assuming I can also on this day throw my celiac disease in the trash, I would first eat a Bruegger’s plain bagel with cream cheese. This used to be a staple in my diet, especially as a quick dinner inbetween dance classes or in the middle of show choir rehearsals.
I would dance. Like I used to be able to. No career-ending knee injury. (Can you spot the brace on my left knee in the picture of me doing the switch-leap? Not to mention the arch supports on my feet… even then, it was a fight through the pain, with only adrenaline to help me.) In the middle picture, which was our finale my senior year (I’m on the far left in the spotlight), I remember at the moment this picture was taken, at the end of our last show, thinking, “This is it. I’m walking offstage for the last time. I’ll never dance again.” Yet I couldn’t find it in myself to cry. I was just relieved the moment was over. Although I did still get to perform internationally on our show choir’s tour of Italy a month later…where I proceeded to re-injure me knee during our first performance in Venice due to a slippery stage. At least the move I fell on had us going to the ground anyway; I just took a more direct and less graceful strategy down. The only way you’d know it wasn’t planned was if you were looking directly at me…and if you could ignore the stage-shaking crash I made. So my knee was definitely put through the ringer. But if I had no pain, I would find a ballet class to attend and let the grace inside me flow out through my limbs. It’s still in there, even after all these years.
I would come home from ballet class and go for a swim in our pool, which would be at a delicious 82 degrees.
I would probably work out some more. Our crunch sets in ballet class used to be something like 224 crunches if I’m counting right (was it 16 crunches with 16 pulses per position? Can’t remember now, but that’s what I do when I work out, which hasn’t been in well over a year at this point). Plus more ab work. I’d do some kettle bell stuff too. I like having a toned core.
I would stand in my driveway singing this song at the top of my lungs. Granted, I could do that with pain, but it would be more awesome with no pain. I’ve never heard a vocal blend like these two have. Stunning.
I can’t really think of anything else. But I’m not the kind of person who would go climb Mount Everest or go for a run. I just want to do the things that make me feel alive. Chronic pain locks you up in its own strangling death grip that you can’t escape. I would do things that make me feel free. For me, there’s never been any greater freedom than dancing can bring. Singing, too, when I used to be good at it.
If my next surgery goes to plan, my chronic pain days may very well be over, which is my hope and dream. In which case, maybe I’ll actually get to do this. But for now, it’s still only a dream.