It’s been a difficult week. I used to think that there was a limit on how much pain one can tolerate, but there isn’t. You can tolerate as much pain as your body can create; there isn’t a tipping over point. Pain is not unbearable, it’s only that bad if you make it so. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly feels as if you’d rather die than endure another second of it and knowing that it’s not a second, but hours that stretch into days and maybe even more, is torture or feels a lot like it. Life isn’t easy and there is a difference between enduring and thriving. I can lie in bed in a pitch black room and find my way out of the night, but that’s it, that’s the most I can do. I can’t move, very literally, I can’t lift my head enough to drink from a glass, the sound of chewing hurts my ears and my jaw and as I’m going to throw it all up anyway, there hardly seems much point.
A lot of people get headaches, migraines are common, but not to sound selfish or egotistical, they’re not quite like mine. I’ve torn bones out of sockets and the pain doesn’t come close to that of a bad headache. I have had stitches without anaesthesia (local anaesthesia is ineffective in some with EDS, i.e. me) and that doesn’t hurt nearly as much as dislocating a joint. Pain isn’t intolerable, but when it reaches a certain point there is nothing one can do but endure it. Bad headaches cloud my judgment a little and in a dizzy haze on a day my personal assistant called in sick I decided to get myself some lunch and took a tumble down the stairs. Back injuries aren’t fun, they’re not as bad as the headaches, but bad enough that I still have issues moving days later. And when you dislocate joints falling down the stairs, it’s worse than when you do so spontaneously. As a result, it’s been a pretty bad week.
In between some of the bad, I was playing castle crashers until three in the morning and there was this one part where you had to run your character through a series of plummeting weights that move at different intervals, but they were moving pretty fast. I looked at it, thought about my reflexes and said no way in hell can I do this. So the obvious response from my co-op partner was “Don’t say that, try it first.” I toggled run as best I could, close my eyes and ran. My character took quite a few bumps, but he made it to the other side battered but breathing. “You always say you can’t do it and then you do”, my friend said and I just said “yup”. It wasn’t until later when I was lying in bed, thinking about those few hours of fun that I realized where I get it wrong. I wanted to do it perfect. I didn’t think about my character surviving as success, I wanted him to survive without taking any damage. It didn’t even occur to me to think of a solution that would have me on the other side alive, I simply looked for solutions that would get me there perfectly. I am a perfectionist at heart, but most of the time I keep it well in check. I know that perfect isn’t an option, and once I realize that, I will consider alternative options that are less tha perfect yet still workable, but somehow settling for less still often feel like failure. I want to get it right and right means right not right often enough to survive.
I’ve been playing wow for a while now and I was tanking Old Kingdom (yes, OK again, what’s up with that?) and first the mage pulled a second set of trash, then the tree backed up a little too far and pulled a third about 35 yards away from me and didn’t walk them in and just as I ran across to be in range, the fury warrior and wanna be tank not noticing the two additional pulls in the back chained pulled the next set before the first was done. Where all the trash came from beats me, but suddenly there were a whole bunch and so I hit challenging roar to save the healer and try and establish as much aggro in six seconds as possible, not thinking that maybe even though I used all my self-healing/mitigating options, it was possibly a bit too ambitious a move. It wasn’t because the healer was great. The second I pulled aggro off him, he stop panic self-healing and instead just healed me. It worked out fine, we all survived and when everybody started apologizing, I didn’t bother. I said what I always say, we didn’t wipe, so no worries. (Not that I complain when we do wipe, then I usually say, everybody makes mistakes, don’t worry about it, it’s fine. Unless we wipe again for stupid reasons, then I get a little impatient). I don’t expect perfect runs with perfect pulls, in fact, I wouldn’t learn how to tank if that was the case. Good players are the ones that don’t panic and act quickly when things go wrong. Although I still prefer those perfect runs and perfect pulls and perfect saves, most of life is mediocre and mundane and I no longer frown upon it quite as much. Better yet, I no longer see it as failure. A win is a win and when you loose, you can always stand up, dust yourself off and try again until you win. There is a beauty in perfection that I will always appreciate, but in realizing that perfection is a rare gem not a daily occurrence, something to treasure when it happens unexpectedly rather than something to aim for, life is much sweeter.
There is the end of a road that sometimes is just the end. No amount of willpower will make a difference. I learned that the hard way. And often, the harder you try, the more damage you do and you will fail, regardless. Putting your heart into anything doesn’t automatically make it any good. But the end isn’t always a dead end, sometimes it just feels or seems that way. Sometimes it just takes a little longer or a different approach or more than you have to give right now, but may be able to at a later time. It’s easy to quit when things seem too difficult and even easier to just persevere because it’s the right thing to do and I’m stubborn, but finding the mid-way is really difficult. Knowing when to push just a little harder and when to give in and take a break is not as easy as it sounds. But not impossible either.