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I’ve known my doctor for 5 minutes and for an entire lifetime. It’s his job to operate with that sort of flexibility and he often expects me to do the same. He’s lovely and he’s graceful in the way he does it, asking me about my day and about every day that has led up to this one. That’s why he’s an expensive doctor, and, judging by his fancy candy bowl, he has been for quite some time. I tell him nearly everything, from both sides, then and now.

He knows the basics by heart. I’ve had a strange pattern of migraines over the past six months, a kind that surface from the back right corner, instead of where most migraines come from, one side or the other. We’ve talked about the mystery of it all ad nauseam — and have tried the tricks for tracking, and planning, and treating. He has me keep a list of dates and times they start and they stop. Once, we looked it over together, all of the struggle, the past up to present. I cried about halfway though.

I rarely ever talk about this, the now, or the very beginning. It was a hard time in my life a few years ago when I encountered this new kind of pain for the first time. It was in the middle of so many things gone wrong. I have worked through nearly every slice of trauma in my life except for that specific version of living, and I don’t quite know how to write about it yet, so I’ll describe it like this: it was a string of events in an era of darkness and panic and helplessness, and it was wanting so badly for love to be enough. When I described it that way, the very beginning, to my doctor, he took a long pause and asked if I felt/feel like I’ve regained power. Like a house. Like a home. Like a quiet neighborhood.

I didn’t have an answer then and I don’t have one now. I have grown so much and I know so little. Believe me when I say there are few things more exhausting than owning your power and realizing how powerless you are at the very same time. There have been days where I have charmed my way through a complex work presentation, only to pop out and throw up in a sink from the light of my own slide show. There have been days where I have prayed to a God that I can leave my own party early. There have been days where I feel no better than the version of me I worked so hard to overcome, my body surrendering to the same dull ache, radiating its way, quite literally, from the back of my mind, from there to here.

I say all of this not to complain, but to merely reflect upon how lonesome we can feel in our own bodies, even when we love ourselves, especially when we love ourselves. There is so much loss in growth, no matter how you tally it up, with or without a medical professional. There are so many versions we live with, waiting to be seen or heard or felt, usually at the worst possible moment. Still, they’re there, living in some house, some home, some quiet neighborhood.

I could go on, but I’m not supposed to look at screens this late at night. We all know the basics by heart. Something leads to something and becomes something else. We aren’t quite sure what happens after that.

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