Could just be that I've lived in San Francisco too long, but I've always believed that the body will express the feelings the mind often can't. Wow, did you read that sentence I just wrote? Sign me up for a chakra-centering workshop, stat! Bring me my patchouli! I've got crystals and mung beans and a tie-dyed Grateful Dead shirt from 1972 and I'm not afraid to use them!
Seriously, though, it's not as hippy-dippy as it sounds. Your body---or at least my body---has a certain way of letting you know when it's not best pleased, kind of like a car that's overdue for an oil change. (Which reminds me: crap, my actual car is overdue for an actual oil change, someone write that on their hand for me so that I still remember it by the time I've finished this post.) It's like a flashing neon warning sign from your brain: hey, body, she's not listening to ME, why don't you do something about it? Make things uncomfortable for a while, will you, until she figures out why her lower back hurts so much? Here, I'll write down how you do it on a bright pink Post-It so you don't forget.
During that hideous time earlier this year when my cats were peeing constantly on my bed---and in the hall, and in Sean's shoes, and on the bath mat, and on any article of clothing left on the floor OH MY GOD PICK YOUR JEANS UP SEAN I MEAN IT---the left side of my jaw got progressively stiffer and stiffer until I could hardly open my mouth more than an inch without yelping. I've long had issues with TMJ-related pain---which, you guessed it, flares up the minute someone so much as steals my parking space---but this was something else.
For a solid month or two---quite a while after the problem had been solved and the cats had stopped (pun alert!) pissing us off with their (pun alert!) piss-poor bladder control---I'd spend the entire day massaging my jaw, attempting only to open my mouth a fork-width wide to avoid wincing while eating (Wincing While Eating! My next emo band name!), and self-medicating with heating pads and Advil during my waking hours (and heating pads and Valium during my sleeping ones.)
Curiously, it wasn't until many weeks later---when the pain finally stopped---that I put two and two together. Huh, I thought. I guess I was more stressed about that than I realized. Of course, under the category of "Things That Are Sort Of Worrying For $200, Alex," constantly peeing cats don't even come close to unemployment or illness or bankruptcy or any number of other far more horrible things, but still, it has to be said: waking up, morning after morning, with a 50% chance of having been urinated on during the night certainly ain't no walk in the park.
I say all this because for the last few days, my body has been all but sending out smoke signals and carrier pigeons and musical greeting cards with a very clear message: CHILLAX ALREADY. (My body is stuck in the 80s, what can I say?) My bones have been achy, my hair has hurt, my glands are swollen, and my jaw is---yep, that old chestnut---making it impossible to open my mouth more than an inch or two to talk, but that's okay because talking pains me anyway thanks to these THREE MOUTH ULCERS I've cultivated (in addition to this weird puffy stye-thing on my eye.) I am, in short, a little run-down. It couldn't be any clearer if a candle suddenly materialized in the air before me and started burning at both ends.
I guess I've got a lot going on, what with the rapidly impending wedding and work and travel and a bunch of other things constantly on my mind, but still, I'm a little disappointed at what a wimp I've turned out to be. I mean, look at me, crumbling---physically, anyway, because I don't actually feel particularly stressed---at the first sign of strain! What gives, self? Why such a delicate little flower? People do things far more taxing than what amounts to just planning a big party, and they do these taxing things every day. Like having children, for instance: how am I ever going to handle having a child, if just wondering where I'm going to get the best-priced hydrangeas is causing my body to stage a full-blown military coup? I abhor weakness, and right now, this feels insufferably weak. Get it together, body! Grow some balls!
Uh, not literally, of course. I mean, honestly, that would just be a whole other problem, wouldn't it? And frankly, Internet, I don't have time for the doctors' appointments to deal with it.