“Arms at Rest”
I am a migraineur. I use the noun with care, because after a lifetime of headaches, I have come to think of migraines as a part of me, not as some force or plague that infects my body. Chronic headaches are my fate, and I have adopted a position of philosophical resignation. I am aware that such a view is resoundingly un-American. Our culture does not encourage anyone to accept adversity. On the contrary, we habitually declare war on the things that afflict us, whether it’s drugs, terrorism, or cancer. Our media fetishizes the heart-warming stories of those who, against all odds, never lose hope and fight their way to triumph over poverty, addiction, disease. The person who lies back and says, “This is my lot. So be it,” is a quitter, a passive, pessimistic, spineless loser who deserves only our contempt. And yet, the very moment I stopped thinking of my condition as “the enemy,” I made a turn and began to get better. I wasn’t cured, wasn’t forever well, but I was better. Metaphors matter.
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