I’m thinking of the young boy with partial thickness burns to a large portion of his body. Burn patients must undergo debridement as part of the treatment regime. Essentially, debridement involves scrubbing the dead scabbed layer of burned skin off to allow for regrowth. It hurts like fcuk and patients require heavy sedation and a sterile environment. I remember this young boy laying on the table in the debridement room, consciously sedated and having his burns scrubbed.
I’m thinking of the young girl, brutally abused by her stepfather. She had to have a hysterectomy and a bowel resection with a colostomy because of the trauma from her abuse. Male humans terrified her, and the hospital had to ensure that no male staff of any kind went near or in her room. She was around 6 years old.
I’m thinking of the fact that a person looks different dead than they did when they were alive. And I wonder if it really is true—if we could measure—does the body weight 21 grams less after death? I do believe the soul gives our physicality it’s animated shape—when you someone walking, for instance, you are seeing their soul manifest itself in motion. Physiology is the soul, without it the body is simply a sad bag of meat.
I’m thinking of the fact that when people tell you they’re sorry for your loss that they are offering you comfort by telling you how they feel and I wonder why do we do this and I also wonder why can’t we make the effort to dig deeper and offer real comfort from our hearts? Why do we live in a society where people think that telling you how they feel about your tragedy will offer you comfort? Why is it so difficult to remember that people in pain want us to witness them with our hearts and souls and humanity?
I’m thinking about Cat Vagus, the imaginary realm underneath my bed where my cats spend their leisure time. I think of it as the holodeck for cats. It’s like Platform 9 and 3/4, only for cats and you don’t need a luggage trolly. When you get there it’s got a mysterious sort of Diagon Alley, Silent Hill vibe to it, only cat style. Sometimes in this world my cats can be animagi. I have lengthy conversations with my cats and they tell me these things. Shut up, it’s true.
I’m thinking about how born Muslims will never appreciate the struggle of bacon. And of how only cradle catholics who converted to islam in adulthood could appreciate the dramatic dance with guilt and feeling very confessional in the grocery store when contemplating that box of bacon cheddar burger patties, and even going to the effort of hiding the box in the shopping cart so no one will see that there’s bacon in your (OMG look at that hijabi put them bacon burgers in her shopping cart!!) shopping cart.
I’m thinking about how I never really liked plastic bottles or bags and how I sure feel glad we’ve outgrown that ugly phase finally. I’m only mildly annoyed that bloated corporations will take this opportunity to do the mercenary thing and now sell bags, which customers previously received for free with their purchases. It’s transparent and shallow.
I’m thinking of how Qasem Soleimani can be hero and villain and of how it doesn’t matter which because his assassination violating international law. We don’t spent any time arguing whether Schrödinger’s Cat is alive or dead—we allow ourselves to think it’s both at the same time, so, I’m pretty sure that we can think of the Iranian General as a kind of Schrödinger’s Cat kind of figure. I’m thinking of how Iranians can sumultaneously despise their repressive government and also despise western imperialism. I’m remembering how many years ago hatred of the west galvanized the Iranian people and caused a revolution. I’m thinking of how no one wins in this world of the Kingdom of New Trumpikkka. I’m thinking of how Canada has known all along of the true nature of it’s neighbour to the south. I imagine Mexico has known too.
I’m thinking of how megalomania destroys. I’m thinking of how trauma is the most widespread and virulent contagion ever unleashed to the human populace. I’m thinking of how it’s killing the planet.
I’m thinking of the tyranny of we. I’m also thinking of the truth that there is no I in team. I’m thinking of chemistry class and how the aim for all systems was homeostasis. I’m thinking of balance. I’m thinking of compassion and how curiosity fuels it. I’m thinking of the vagus nerve and the polyvagal ladder. I’m thinking about how the art of living is to craft ways for ourselves to climb the ladder to higher states—from dissociative inertia to safe social states. The ladder is a fluid thing, like a physiologic slide ruler we navigate as our body’s autonomic nervous system regulate us toward a kind of homeostasis in the chaos of survival.
I’m thinking of joy and how it’s not a destination or a state of being or an achievement or anything to acquire. I’m thinking of how joy is a way of resisting despair without masking sorrow. I’m thinking of how it’s possible, and necessary even, to hold more than one enormous feeling. I can feel grief, I can feel enraged at the injustice, I can feel deep love for my favourite humans, I can feel true happiness when I connect with my cat. I can feel and experience all these at once. I can feel sorrow for my mother’s inability to love me, rage at her betrayal of my spirit, and deep visceral love for her—I can hold all of this for her in my heart because Bismillah.
I’m thinking of gratitude and it’s transformative power. I’m thinking of how it’s become a practise so vital to building my emotional resilience. When I feel so very sad that I cannot think of anything to celebrate, I can still feel grateful for my struggle. Just reframing my reality in this way sets the tone, and often I have to repeat this throughout my day.
I am the creator of my own joy. Everything is awful, there is STILL joy.
“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet