Safe Words

I make up new curses when my pain gets too overwhelming. “Son of a biscuit”, “fuckdoodle”, “shit sticks”, and “bastard son of a fuck” work well. If it’s really, really bad I’ll groan and maybe yell a little, just to get the energy out. Kind of like a berzerker readying himself for battle. You have to wind up your will to fight some how, and the primal groan of pain – in all honesty – helps. I don’t know or care why. I suppose it’s some instinctual neural programming our species has developed for some benefit. Some command to bring forth or stop something.

Like “Red Light, Green Light”. We didn’t play that when I was a kid. The more common game – if that’s what you could call it – was to put someone in a headlock or bend their fingers backward until they cried “Uncle!” We were a more hands-on generation.

But the concept is the same. It takes different forms as we age; from “Red Light” as toddlers and “Mercy!” as adolescents, it morphs into “Unicorn Banana Rainbows” as sexually adventurous adults, and “she signed a DNR” when we are close to death.

This isn’t fun anymore. Make it stop.

In between “Red Light” and the DNR, there are many days that make you wish for either one.

SHIT STICKS!! This is the best I can do. I’ve crossed my finish line for the day, I’ve won my very short race. Don’t ask anything else from me.

Those are the days when just showing up is a victory. It’s not that I need a pat on the back for existing – although I am very partial to high fives. I just need for life to not ask anything more of me until I have the stamina to do it. Sometimes I don’t even need that. I just need patience. Maybe a quiet place to sit or lie down for a moment.

When you’re really really tired for no reason at all, and you’re just trying to make it through the day, it’s like carrying two year old triplets who are having the biggest tantrums of their short lives. You can’t hear anything over the screaming pain. You don’t see much past the beet red faces and wailing mouths. All you can feel is the hot swollen limbs clinging to your body and the wetness of angry, sad tears.

Shhhhhhh! Shhhhhhh! For the love of FUCK, please shhhhhh! ASS LLAMAS.

Not that I would actually say fuck to my actual child. I mean, it slips out from time to time, but I wouldn’t say it TO my child. At least I hope I wouldn’t.

These invisible babies, though? Oh yes. I’m cursing them as I sit at my desk and my hips are grinding in their sockets. I’m screaming right back at them as my elbow swells and starts to feel like a rock. I am focused. I am cussing at these invisible triplets, and I don’t have time or energy to explain it to you.

Can’t you see these invisible triplets screaming at me? What’s WRONG with you? FUCK BANDITS!!

Right. They’re invisible. To you.

But like that desperate mother in the grocery store, I’m probably going to snap at you if you ask the wrong question at the wrong time. I’m too tired and too sore to think about manners or be … informative. It’s going to come out loaded with all of my frustration from the situation, and we’re both going to regret it.

Instead, I think we should be able to cry “Uncle!”, “Red Light!”, “Sparkly NERFERTERS!!”  or “Abracadabra!!” And when we’re in the middle of a conversation, grocery shopping or walking down the street of a busy city, you’ll know that I don’t actually have Tourette’s, but that I am simply at my limit and cannot deal with any further external stimulation.

It will save me the effort, and you won’t have to listen to me whine. Really, it’s a win-win. And it’s probably more socially appropriate than “bastard son of a fuck”, but not nearly as fun.




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