— Ovid (43 B.C.E.-17 C.E.), Roman Poet
In this post, I get a little personal with Ovid's quote on time and healing.
|A young boy dresses up as a physician for Halloween.|
Is Ovid's Prescription for Healing On Point?
Thank you, Ovid. You old miser of a poet. I think of you and your prescription on time when I think of my ankle. Ever since the global outbreak of the Coronavirus and nearly the entire planet in isolation — I have been off my legs more than usual. Staying at home, I can elevate my ankle even when I am working and I have taken to piling up a corner of my bed with pillows. I prop up my leg and watch whatever's popping on Amazon Prime Video.
*snapshot of me looking not quite so elegant*
I am pitiful at self-care even though I preach it to my friends. "Self-care," I tell my work wife Amira, "Yes, mama." "No," I tell her when she imitates me. It's "Ma-MA" — you have to enunciate it like a proper gay homo sapiens. Of course, she reminds me that she is not gay (so how the heck would she know how to pronounce it correctly?) — but she loves my epithets and exonerations. I call Amira my work wife because she is. We work together at the same school and even though we had a rocky start to our relationship — she thought I was a creepy straight, nerd guy with glasses — we hit it off once she realized I am a flaming homosexual and yes, I'm still a nerd guy with glasses. Yay! Identity politics at play. And friendship. It comes in joyous bursts way more comforting than an ill-fitted ankle.
Ankle Pain and Estranged Boyfriends (And a Shoutout to My Work Wife, Amira)
I've had ankle pain in my left leg for, oh, about five years. It comes and goes. Short spasms of pain, then the pain subsides, and I forget about it. And like a surprise call from my estranged boyfriend, it returns — a familiar pain — I've almost become used to it. Like I've become used to my former boyfriend who sends me Facebook messages when I least expect it — a familiar cycle where I realize why we are estranged, what brought us farther apart. But. I like him. But the lingering sadness of why we broke up still remains.
Suffering is not an abstract concept. However, suffering is also not transitive — it does have a discernible object — it's there, you feel it but it's not like you can say, "There. There is my pain." I say, for instance, "I am sad. I am forlorn. I am aggrieved;" in fact, "I feel" is a grammatically correct sentence. But you cannot say, "I am pain." To say, "I suffer" is a close approximation, but even this utterance seems to lack the punch of an object, of a source of suffering. Perhaps that is why we call people who suffer, "patients" — since suffering (and by extension) pain — is a passive emotion, a feeling of protracted misery that takes time to heal.
Healing Wounds With the Best Medicine — Time
One version of Ovid’s quote is “Time heals all wounds,” rather than time is a proper drug. I like the idea of time healing wounds — but did you know that Alfred E. Neuman once said time heals all wounds, except for your belly button? And I am fairly positive that Adam and Even did not have to worry about that particular wound since they technically did not have umbilical cords. Thank you, first parents. You made it suck for the rest of us.
|The outbreak has brought me a strange gift of healing. I am grateful, right?|
The photo (above) is cringe-worthy. I step outside. How ’bout dat? And I say, “You did this for what?” Crossing the avenue to drop off mail in the blue U.S. Post Office box, I think, ‘Who will collect this? I hope they stay safe.’ I feel a tinge of worry. This feeling of needing to stay protected. How everyday activities have become tinged with anxiety. The social contract has taken a beating this season. It’s rainy. Today. And I just read in the newspaper that a polar vortex is set to hit the northeast. I long for a long hike in the Catskills. And for the fun of it - a visit to the sauna - I could use a peppermint soaked hot house shower - don’t you? And my ankle feels better. I am surprised. I feel strength returning to my tired tendons. A source of life has come back to me — a paradoxical gift of this damn epidemic. Thank you, Covid-19 — you ugly, mothereffer. Self-care, yes, Mama! (That’s pronounced Ma-MA).