Yesterday was time again for my annual mammogram. When my fiancé got home from work he said: “Oh, sorry you had to get your boobs squished in a vice, that’s probably painful.” It is, but I explained it only took a few minutes and a little bit of pain is well worth the peace of mind it will give me. This thought led me to what’s going on in the world today, and how long/ how much global pain will we suffer before the peace comes?
Every evening my fiancé and I discuss the ins and outs of our day, as well the day’s headlines. Sometimes he asks first if I want to talk about today’s politics, and sometimes my reply is “nope.” Because some days I just can’t, it’s too upsetting, and I’m probably on my third day of insomnia worrying about the world while trying to sleep.
Milo Yannio-douche-u-lous said that journalists should be shot. So, someone opened fire at a Maryland newspaper. Sarah Suckabee was refused service at a restaurant so a supporter took to throwing feces at said restaurant. Actual poop. You know who throws poop? Monkeys. Although I don’t want to insult monkeys by comparing them to idiots, this is evidence of the phrase ‘monkey see, monkey do.’
Pain is easier to bear when you know it has an end point. We willingly throw our bits into clamps, turn to the right and cough, battle claustrophobia in an MRI, or whatever it takes to keep well because it is finite. Perhaps if a doctor said this test could take 6 minutes or 6 months, we would be far less inclined to show up for annual exams. I also get blood drawn annually and while I was fearing some questionable liver enzymes, whatever those tests reveal provide priceless insight into my overall wellness. It’s super easy in the grand scheme of things, and a little bit of discomfort ultimately helps me steer my body in the right direction.
At this moment, however, it feels like this is never going to end. That we’re doomed to helplessly watch our collapsing society whose moral compass is permanently pointed south. Instead of checking in, we want to check out. Just like many people I know who refuse to go to the doctor because they don’t want to be reminded they’ve put on weight or their cholesterol levels are up, there are just as many who refuse to acknowledge the pain we are causing to our fellow citizens.
America’s prostate is the size of a grapefruit, our arteries are the consistency of camembert, we’ve got full on ventricular fibrillation, muscle atrophy of one who is 118 years old, and a serious case of Alzheimer’s. It seems somebody has dodged their well visits for decades. I don’t want to add to the depressing news feeds, but rather point out that my sensitive tribe of resisters who check in regularly are feeling like that little bit of pain isn’t going to result in much peace.
While it feels depressing at times, what gets me back up is knowing that this is the health crisis forcing us to get our shit together. That enlarged prostate spawned the #metoo movement. That atrophy raised the voices of high school students to rally for gun control. That creamery of a cardiovascular system has given us more people of color and LGBTQ persons in political office than this country has ever seen.
We need to take care of ourselves in order to stay in this for the duration. It’s ok to take a time out, rest, cry, and acknowledge all the icky feelings that come up because there are plenty. What’s not ok is to remain blissfully ignorant any longer- especially when none of your clothes fit and your neighbor just got his kids thrown in a cage. Rest up, get a check-up, eat some vegetables, take a break from the news, and get back in there because we’ve got work to do.