The Types of Conversations I Need as Someone With Chronic Pain


I have a need for dialogue in my life.

Not the daily soliloquy of me explaining my life to the rounded fullness of the response “hmmm” – a word of so many different meanings and
intentions. It could be “I’m listening,” it could be “I’m busy right now, but
I’ll listen in a minute,” or perhaps “I’m bored of listening,” or maybe “I
don’t care about your words,” or even “I don’t believe you.”

I have a need for dialogue in my life.

Not the daily grind of conversing with people who only want to talk, but forget about the other half, the listening half, the part where I get to contribute my thoughts. The type of conversation that assumes I have nothing to offer in my diminished life of chronic pain.

I have a need for dialogue in my life.

A dialogue where I get to share my thoughts and listen to yours. Where I get to learn from you and you get to learn from me. And the conversation goes back and forth. And there is beauty in the talking. And there is beauty in the listening.

I have a need for dialogue where I get to listen to your truth. The daily bits. The work bits, the home bits, the relationship bits, the ideology bits, the thinking bits, the grand philosophy bits.

I have a need for dialogue where I get to speak my truth. My truth. Which may seem small, crabbed by chronic pain, truncated by rest periods and physiotherapy appointments and dulled by pain meds. But imagine the colors of my battle, the strength I draw on every day as I strap on my armor for another fight. Imagine the vibrancy of a mind trimmed back to the essentials of what is critically important for right now. Imagine the ideology bits, the thinking bits, the grand philosophy bits that go into that kind meditation.

I have a need for dialogue. A dialogue where I get to say “my body hurts today” and it is as important a pronouncement as “I had a meeting at work today.” “My body hurts today” is my daily challenge, the hill I
must climb to complete all the other tasks of my daily life. “My body hurts
today” has a million different hues, sounds, feelings, fizzles, sparks and
temperatures. It could mean “I’m feeling defeated,” or “look what I conquered today,” or “I’m afraid for the future,” or “I don’t know what is happening to me,” or “please don’t judge me” or “look at all the wonderful things I managed to do anyway.”

I have a need for dialogue. To have you converse with me as a whole person, without hiding the inconvenient bits. So we can gently embrace each other’s darkness and discover where we shine.

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Photo via BrianAJackson on Getty Images

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