I have a funny relationship with pain. As a migraineur, I live with it every day – it pulses behind one eye, or burrows down through my fontanelle, or ice-picks me in the forehead. The variegated tortures it can present are horrible, and I detest it. I spent a long time trying to bury it with pain-killers, didn’t work for quite some time (and only work part-time now), and I take a lot of preventatives (both prescription and herbal, vitamin and mineral) to help minimise what I live with.*
Yet as a masochist, I like pain. More – I need pain (Apollo can tell you just how tetchy I get after a few months of not having a D/s session). Choosing to submit, being held down, tied down, remaining still of my own account; feeling the burn or swipe or smack or bite. The physical intensity, the nerves firing, the endorphins rising, the adrenalin rushing. I discovered my enjoyment of pain a few years after I started to get migraines, and initially I tangled myself up in what seemed to me to be a paradox – how could I love and hate something that was the same? Why would I choose to inflict pain on myself when I have uncontrolled pain in spades that I hate?
But ‘outer pain’ – pain that comes externally through the skin, rather than starting internally – is something I can control. When I’m stressed out, I bite myself, and have done so for years. Clamping down on the mound of venus on my palm, or the webbing between thumb and finger, or the side of my wrist; holding hard enough to feel the teeth, but not quite break the skin. Leaving marks, and sometimes bruises, and a feeling of relief. Because it lowers my stress, lets something untense in a way that nothing else matches. (I never graduated to cutting – didn’t think of it for years. The concept appeals to me, but I couldn’t trust my control. So I never did. I do love to be cut or marked, though…)
Nothing unwinds me that well, other than having someone else hurt me. That beats biting. Beats it hands down.
So yes. Pain. I love it, and I hate it. I live with it, and I choose to submit to it. It stresses me out, and unstresses me. Perhaps the two experiences need different words to describe them – because to me, my inner pain and my outer pain are worlds apart.
If only I could have more of one and less of the other … *looks hopefully at the universe*
First person to tell me what the title is quoting gets to choose a poem topic for me
* Feel free to suggest things that may help with the migraine. But, rest assured, most I’ve either tried (and they didn’t work), or I’m doing them already. I’m not allergic to anything, they’re not set off by food products. Hormones and barometric pressure and humidity and stress are surefire triggers. I take feverfew daily. I take pain-killers rarely. Email if you want to talk more about them.