No Pain, No Gain

I am a ball of nerves tonight. But in a sedated, I’m too-exhausted-to-care sort of way.

As usual, the stress is piling up. There are bills to be paid and errands to be run and things to be cleaned. Lots of things to be cleaned. I meant to get caught up today but I’m getting a cold and took a nap and set my alarm wrong, so I slept all afternoon and half the evening. That’s been happening a lot lately. I was getting so awesome on my sleep schedule, but I’m back to being sluggish in the mornings and wanting naps in the afternoon. Not that I usually get to nap, though. I can’t slow my brain down enough to fall asleep. I worry, and I reflect, and I philosophize, but I don’t actually sleep. I usually give up and get up. Today, since I’m sick and sleep deprived, I over-did it, and now the state of my house has me clenching my jaw.

It’s just been one of those weeks, you know? It was a short paycheck, because of Labor Day, and I don’t even have enough after bills to put gas in the car for the next week. I’m going to be working at least fourteen days in a row and I’ll still have to take an advance. I haven’t been eating very well, both because I have no appetite and because I’m at that gap point in between food stamps, that point at the end of the month where I go a week eating one or fewer meals a day to make sure my children have three. My stomach has been mewling and protesting rightfully, and through the sheer strength of will power and poverty, I’ve neglected it. And my teeth gave me fits last night: I was up at two in the morning rubbing ground cloves on my gums, and I tossed and turned because they ached so much. Somehow this caused me to pull something in my right shoulder. Now angry little tendons punish me every time that I move, which was super-fun at work today. It’s just… outright fucking joyous, ya know?

I don’t like to complain, and that’s not really what the point of this is. It’s more a recounting of what my daily life is really like. Unhealthy. Malnourished. I can’t afford to take time off to see the doctor when I’m sick. I can’t afford to get my teeth fixed, which makes brushing more like wound care than personal hygiene. I usually nourish myself well and healthily in the first two weeks of the month… after that it slowly drops off and becomes more a model of necessity than well being. So, my health isn’t precisely the greatest. I live on coffee and ibuprofen and an irregular diet. But I push through anyway because, Godamnit, this is life, and what other option is there? My children need me. My boss needs me. If no one else in the world does, at least they do. (Though that’s not quite as comforting when you’re faced with wall to wall monopoly money and legos and laundry, plus three days worth of dishes and the inability to take it easy at work because you’re the only senior employee left and yet you’ll still never get a raise, ever.)

I’m not sure if I was trying to make a point here, or just try to explain a little about where in coming from. I think a little of both, in a subtle way. What does it mean if a person works and exists at the cost of their health? I don’t know. I’ve gotten the impression somehow that’s how it’s supposed to be done, yet I’m a bit skeptical. I’d be so much more productive with a stable diet and a healthy mouth. But making that happen is a little more complicated in reality than it is in theory.

As they say, though, no pain, no gain. So perhaps we have to suffer through some hardships to battle through to higher living. I just kind of think the playing field may be a bit unlevel when some can have their injuries treated, while others must recuperate on the sidelines for months or years or ever because they can’t afford treatment.

None of it makes sense to me, and perhaps it never will.

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