Tag Archives: pain

Flipping the humanity switch off

humanity-switch

I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but lately I feel like I could switch my ‘humanity switch’ off; if I could. That sounds weird I know; but I’m thinking of the instances in the Vampire Diaries, where a vamp, say Elena Gilbert (played by Nina Dobrev), Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) or Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), who are the three most popular actors of the show flip their humanity off.

In the show however, what usually happens is that when one of the immortal creatures runs into one of life’s inevitable painful moments, and it becomes unbearable, they just do one of the things their superhuman nature affords them, namely, flipping their humanity switch off.

Basically, what this feature helps them with is that they stop feeling. Emotional pain becomes just another trivial feeling, that’s barely discernible to them. Knowing how bad it feels to hurt, I would say that’s a pretty awesome thing; I mean, who wants to feel pain, right?

We lose loved ones; businesses we’ve worked tirelessly to build come crashing down like washed up sand castles at the beach; people we love to bits cheat on us without the slightest care in the world… truth of the matter is, we live in a callous world, and it would help tonnes if it were possible to flip some switch off, so we can stop ourselves from feeling some of this annihilating pain.

As it is though, we wouldn’t value life so much were it not for these painful moments we go through which make us human. I bet that’s why TVD’s scriptwriters called it the ‘humanity switch’. One thing I know is that the pain we feel keeps us connected to our humanity; it makes us refrain from doing things that would cause pain and untold suffering to the rest of the populace.

For instance in the show, Stefan Salvatore is usually a laid back vampire, whose determination to do good prevents him from feeding on human blood, even though he’s an actual vampire, whose main prescribed dish is warm/fresh human blood, straight from the vein; even blood bags are frowned upon by the rest of the vampires. To keep his craving for human blood to a minimum, he avoids the temptation all together by feeding on animal blood.

Sometimes however, he also bumps into issues which force him to turn his humanity switch off. Like this one time, a stronger vampire (an original), Nick Klaus compelled him to turn it off and once he did, what we (viewers) were treated to were gory scenes of beheaded humans, courtesy of Stefan. When he flips that switch off, he’s referred to as ‘the ripper’ because he decapitates people in a heartbeat and actually revels in it. That’s when one realizes how it’s important for one to feel, because feeling makes us human.

rainbow-without-a-little-rainbow

Lately though, I find myself confronted with situations which have me wishing I could flip some switch off, even if it’s for a day, just so I don’t feel the pain. Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I slept soundly without a care in the world. Even my waking moments are marred by conflicting thoughts, which threaten my sanity. I feel everything around me is pushing me towards the edge of the precipice.

I’ve even started questioning my faith; maybe I’m not praying enough; or maybe God turned His back on me. That’s the thought that crossed my mind as I walked the short distance to church this past Sunday. Then in the midst of all that anguish, I remembered that God never gives up on His people. He never abandons those who call on Him.

As it is, I feel my life’s a mess right now and the thought of a new day makes me tense up. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I’m hopeful it will all be well, because God lives. So as I desperately wish I could flip my humanity off so I don’t feel pain, I also appreciate the fact that pain plays an integral part in our lives. That pain makes us human; mindful of other human beings and creatures. So we just can’t wish it away, much as it makes life miserable.

Young and heavily laden

Life ain't always beautiful

This past Sunday after mass, instead of going back home I passed by the salon to get my hair done. I found my hairdresser fixing another lady’s hair so I even had time to go to a fast food restaurant for a quick lunch. By the time she started doing my hair it was already getting late. Mom called to ask where I was and later she came so we could go home together. She showed up with a neighbour’s baby, who is only nine months old.

Minutes later, a lady, who I assumed was the hairdresser’s acquaintance-based on how free they seemed with each other-passed by to wish her a good evening. When she saw the baby, she gleefully said she had twins of the same age.

Mom asked her how old her babies were and she said they were slightly over a year. Mom then told her the little girl was only nine months old. The lady nodded understandingly. “She’s younger than mine,” she said.

“It’s not so hard raising twins especially if one has someone to help,” mom said comfortingly. Again, I believe she said this because the lady seemed so young.

“I don’t have a nanny,” she said, seeming completely unperturbed.

“So who did you leave them with?” Mom asked, sounding a bit surprised.

“One is asleep and their older sister is taking care of the other.” The lady looked so young; it was hard to imagine her with an older kid. I’m assuming it’s because of her physical appearance that mom asked her how old her eldest child was and she said she was seven. The lady went on to say she had gone to buy food and needed to get back home soon. “I didn’t feel like going out today, but I had to because if I didn’t my children would suffer as I’m the sole breadwinner.”

“Don’t feel discouraged, babies are a blessing,” mom told her reassuringly.

“I consider them a blessing. It was hard after their dad got locked up but I still think of them as a blessing.”

“Why was he locked up?”

“He wasn’t even guilty of the offense they accused him off,” she explained nonchalantly. “He was arrested for illegal logging and since he could not afford the bail, he was sentenced to six months behind bars. When I went to see him some officer told me to sleep with him in exchange for his release but I refused. I wasn’t going to compromise my dignity for his freedom.”

“Couldn’t his boss bail him out?” Mom asked.

“The licence is too expensive. Since his boss knew that he just hid, letting him take the fall.”

That’s just so unfair. I thought. His boss let him take the blame when he was perfectly aware he was innocent. “You know, women are so bad,” she continued, a far off look in her eyes, as if in retrospect.

“Why do you say that?” Mom asked.

“They keep asking me how I can go for this long without getting laid… if I don’t miss it. But I tell them I’m too busy fending for my kids to even think about it. When my husband comes out I’ll be here waiting.”

“You are a strong woman,” mom applauded her.

“Life has been so difficult, especially after he got arrested. When I was giving birth I temporarily lost my mind.”

“Did you check into a mental facility?” Mom asked, a concerned look on her face.

“No, by the time I left the hospital with my new-borns I had already recovered.”

I was only looking at her through the mirror, but I could clearly see she didn’t seem bogged down by all the misery she had been through. I even thought she was too calm for someone who had three kids, a partner in prison and struggling financially, and with some mental illness.

“How old are you?” Mom asked smiling. I think talking to that lady and listening to her poignant story had her awed, like I was.

“I’m twenty seven.”

“You’re so young,” mom said, completely taken aback. I was shocked too. “And you’ve gone through so much.” The smile on her face faded away, and in its place was a forlorn look. “But don’t worry, life is like that sometimes. We only need to persist. Problems were not meant to last, right?”

“Yeah, it could be overwhelming. But I have my God with me. So I know things will be ok.”

The lady’s attitude really impressed me. She had gone through so many difficulties, yet she still remained optimistic; managing to laugh, even when I thought life had dealt her tremendous blows.”

Her attitude inspired me. When we go through traumatizing situations we become so negative, but this lady wouldn’t let tough moments drag her down. She was resilient, willing to overcome whatever challenges that sprung up in her life, including a mental illness, which I deduced had been triggered by too much stress.

I got nothing I asked for

I asked God for strength, that I may achieve;

I was made weak, that I may learn to humbly obey.

I asked for health, that I may do great things;

I was given infirmity, that I may do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I may have the praise of man;

I was given weakness that I may feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;

I was given life, that I may enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything that I hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken

prayers were answered.

I am among all men, most richly blessed.

(This is the Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier).

Many people get discouraged when they spend hours praying, only to end up feeling like God didn’t grant them their wishes. The words above voice the thoughts of many, only that in our finite thinking, we only think, ‘I asked for… but I was given…’ We fail to see the importance of what we have.

You may be feeling burdened right now, but everytime you will yourself to pray you feel like there would be no point of praying because you still won’t get what you pray for. Don’t be discouraged.

For the longest time now, I’ve been praying, asking God to take my anxiety away. It makes my life feel difficult. In a previous post, I’ve talked about how I suffered from an incessant headache for close to two years. Every day I woke up, I would ask God to take the pain away, but it’s only after a relatively long time that it stopped. I would go to bed, hoping the pain would be gone the next day, but that was difficult because I couldn’t even sleep. I stayed up all night, watching the minutes tick away.

My mom watched helplessly as I cried, unable to bear the pain. I had already been to hospital, but I was still in pain. The medicine wasn’t doing me much good, not because it wasn’t effective, but because I couldn’t stop myself from worrying; there were unbearable thoughts running through my head that I couldn’t quite contain.

The cure had to come from within.

One night, my big sister came and sat on my bed. Her eyes were awash with concern, but her voice was harsh. “Is this how you want to spend each day for the rest of your life? You have to fight it.”  

Her words gave me a lot to think about. That wasn’t how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. In her tough love, I found my strength. I willed myself to stop worrying; to push the anxious thoughts out of my head. The pain didn’t go away immediately, but eventually it did. The anxiety, which caused the incessant headache in the first place, didn’t go away, but with God’s help, I found the strength to manage it. Occasionally I do fall into bouts of depression but as I said, anxiety is something I struggle with.

Lately I’m trying to look at things through the eyes of faith; it’s the only way even the bizarre can make perfect sense. So now I don’t ask God to take the anxiety away, because I would love to believe He lets me struggle with it for a reason. Instead I ask Him to help me deal with it in a way that pleases Him.

 embracing challenges

When tragedy strikes

Lord, when tragedy strikes, people ask, “Why me?” “Why us?”  It’s hard for them to comprehend how something so unfathomable could happen. Grief prevents us from seeing things clearly; everything revolves around the pain. The pain of losing a loved one feels unbearable; the psychological trauma one suffers makes the ensuing days feel hellish; it makes the future feel bleak.

Lord, in your loving arms I lay everyone who is going through a trying moment; anyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by whatever tragedy, man-made/natural. I pray that Lord, you may open their eyes and hearts to faith; so that they may understand that all that happens, happens only because You will it that way; that they may understand, nothing happens without Your consent, that even though we may be greatly weighed down by life’s sorrows, we may understand, that it all happens for a reason.

It’s only by looking at things through the eyes of faith that we can reconcile ourselves to all that happens around us. Cushion the hearts of those who are suffering from the crippling pain Lord. Console them. You didn’t promise that life would be perfect; that there would be no pain; that there would be no death. But you did promise to always be there; to guide us through it all.

Have mercy on Your people Lord, in Your Holy name I pray, Amen.

Please take a listen to the song-The Promise, by the Martins- below; I find it uplifting when I’m going through some difficult moment. May Our Heavenly Father heal all those who are hurting.

 

 

Avoiding the inevitable

broken hearts

Sometimes when I’m watching a movie, I see a couple looking so disconnected.  For instance, a guy will close his eyes, savouring the feel of his girlfriend’s luscious lips against his, whereas on the other hand the girl will be rolling her eyes impatiently, wondering when the guy will release her. In another scene, there will be a girl telling a guy how much she loves him, but the guy will only shrug, unable to reciprocate because deep down he knows he’s only toying with the girl and will flee the instant another charming lady shows up.

During such moments I wonder, doesn’t he/she feel his/her guy’s reluctance? But then I remember; I’ve been in similar situations; feeling the guy slipping from me, but I hold on obstinately because I’m afraid of admitting what is right in front of me; that the halcyon days are long gone. That the lurking pain is inevitable; that it’s over.

One feels the pain creeping in slowly, but because s/he dreads it, she puts up with him; settles for whatever little pieces of him she can get, even when she feels it’s not enough; just because she’s afraid to let go.

From the relationships I’ve been in, I realized, when the daily good morning, good afternoon and goodnight texts reduce to a single text per day or none at all; when texts go unanswered for hours, when initially a minute wouldn’t go by without reading the reply (when it would come in right after, you would wonder if they had texted it in advance) this are signs of the end.

When he doesn’t say ‘I love you’ with so much enthusiasm like he used to before, you even feel like you’re forcing it out of him, it is time to let go because the looming pain is inevitable.

It’s better to let go and deal with the pain than hold on to a lifeless relationship, which will sink you into unfathomable pain and frustration.