New shades of pain unpleasant discovery

By Ryn Gargulinski: Freedom Newspapers

TUCUMCARI — Pain comes in many colors:
• the bright blinding white of smashing your thumb with a hammer;

• the somber black blanket of depression.

• and a new one I’ve got from my current woes — it’s sort of a darkish purple, not unlike a fetid bruise or the blood blister I once got on my foot when I stepped on my brother’s Matchbox car that had spikes on the hood.

All shades of pain, of course, feel like they are going to last forever.

The purple is ugly — not like that fine chipper lavender of saltwater taffy. But that’s what the heart feels like, as if it were wrenched, pulled and twisted like the taffy, only to be ripped out and flung to the side of the road, sort of like that dead thing I saw the other day on the way to Ute Lake.

So enough in the way of description. The problem is not the hue of the pain, it’s what the heck to do with it. Drowning in drugs and alcohol is not an option, nor is hurling myself off the side of Tucumcari Mountain — the slopes are nowhere steep enough.

Instead, I’ve been hurling myself into other things.

Like mindless reading material. So far I’ve gotten to page 29 in one book with no idea what I’ve just read, page 18 in another one about hallucinations and page 54 in a book about the Matamoros cult killings. The latter I had to stop when they began to discuss ritual sacrifice and how it involved, yes, ripping out a beating heart.

I even bought the World Weekly News, at least two steps below my usual mindless Star and Globe.

I read a box of Special K.

Animals even know when you’re mopey, so they are sometimes not much help in the soothing category as they begin to mope themselves. With those horns and hooves, goats don’t take too well to trying to get hugged. One goat hides by the water trough while another isolates herself by a tree (but she’s also been pregnant for about three months). My two favorite goats just stand and bray. It’s still a mystery, however, if the goats are mopey because they sense my purple pain or because it’s been days since their last batch of KFC.

My rat simply hides in his cabin.

The black widow that lived weeks in an airless jar suddenly dropped dead.

At least my puppy, Lulu, is trying, in her oafish way, to soothe my soul. So far she has eagerly licked tears from my face, even when I smashed it into the kitchen carpet. Of course, that’s a nice gesture (the tear licking, not the face smashing) and I love her dearly for it. But it would have been even nicer if she did not follow it up with a clumsy paw scratched across my cheek.

The massage worked for maybe half an hour. There’s no way I can blame the massage therapist. The moment she knew I was in an excruciating place, she made it a relaxing massage only, didn’t even tamper with those balls of stress in my back and neck I visit her to wrest out monthly.

There may have been about a three-minute period where I was totally at peace. The rest of the time I just concentrated on how her fingers were kneading out the pain, the pain the pain. Sometimes letting it go is even harder than hanging on to it.

To assist in the letting go, I threw rocks in the lake. I wrote my woes on scraps of paper and shoved them in a God jar. I wrote my woes on scraps of paper and burned them in the burn bin. I wrote my woes on scraps of paper and turned it into a column.

Other art and writing has been somber poems and drawings of suns that aren’t smiling.

I am scared to try a bubble bath, one of the all-time woe soothers. I fear I may slither down and drown.

Friends and mom have been incredibly supportive, telling me how strong I am and how I’ll get through this and I need to concentrate on me and — a phrase many of us hate — this too shall pass.

My weight lifting has increased in intensity. My yoga has become a mission. Although it’s been a mission, it hasn’t been a successful one. My balance has been off and my breathing has been labored and I fell over backwards and sideways in my ultimate position, the headstand.

Meditation, too, has been sketchy. I can normally sit for at least half an hour and let my mind flow with positive energy. So far I’ve screamed in the middle of it twice and another time the positive energy was replaced with — guess what — big sheets of purple pain.

Perhaps the lack of sleep and excess of nicotine will catch up with me and make me mindless enough to read the World Weekly News. Perhaps I’ll recall a saying that reminds us “Pain is a given but misery is optional” and move on from the stew. Perhaps a recent meditation reading was just the ticket.

The first book I picked up said happiness is a state of mind. The second one said women are strong and should not look to other people or things outside themselves to make them whole. The third was a chunk of Buddhist wisdom from Kalu Rinpoche: “To take for permanent that which is only transitory is like the delusion of a madman.”

Not one of them mentioned the color purple.

Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact her at 505-461-1952 or by e-mail: