Playing Hurt


“[There is a concept that] one needs to complete his healing before he is ready to do his work.  This way of thinking is a form of Resistance.  What are we trying to heal, anyway?  The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain-free.  He has to play hurt.”  – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

This has been my Resistance. I have been throwing three-year-old temper tantrums because I. Don’t. Want. To. Play. Hurt.

If I were an athlete – which I most decidedly am NOT – then I would be the athlete who pretends he’s not hurt.  Who pretends his arm isn’t broken while it dangles awkwardly at his side, completely unusable.  I would get angry at doctors who told me to take it easy.  Angry at fans who removed me from their fantasy football team due to my injuries.

I would also be the athlete that yucked it up on the field for sympathy.  You know, like the soccer players that get “tripped” and then roll around in “pain” until the penalty whistle is called, at which time they jump up feeling remarkably better.

Yes, I would be both of these athletes.  I am both of these athletes.  I am just playing on the field of life, and my injuries take all different shapes and forms.  Some are minor, but I make SUCH a big deal out of them.  Others are major, and I try SO hard to ignore them, pretend they don’t exist, pretend I’m just as fine as all the other athletes out there.

This year, though, my playbook was laid open.  I’ve been unable to hide the fears and tears that come from the major hurts.  And I’ve found grace from people who will listen to me whine about the minor ones.

I keep thinking I have to be the girl who heals first, plays later.  Figures it out first, writes about it later.  Which is funny, because those aren’t really the people I like to hear from.  All of my favorite favorites are people who write from a place of honesty and truth, be it on cute and playful days or ugly and raw days.

But still I hold myself to a different standard and think I have to heal first, write later.

Today that changes.   Today I’m playing hurt.