Everybody Hurts. Most of the Time

My neck hurts. This is a surefire indicator of stress. Here’s a true story. The night before I got married, I got a cramp in my neck. Since then, whenever I get stressed, I develop a dull ache in one side of my neck. Cracking it helps. A little. I have no idea if there is a physical reason for this pain, as I’ve never sought medical help. Maybe it’s all in my head. Or neck. Whatever. My neck hurts. No pain in the neck/marriage related jokes please. I’ve heard them all.

The cause of the stress? Undoubtedly the work report from hell. For there must be a hell. Otherwise, where could this report have been spawned? It is a 300 page, paper boomerang. It keeps coming back. Landing on my desk when I least expect it. Edits of edits. Ad nauseum. Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist, maybe I should just let it go. Wash my hands of it. They know best. Did I mention that my neck hurts?

My legs hurt. Like, proper ache. At least I know the cause of this. I’ve ran the last three days and was contemplating doing likewise today. But I knew after yesterday’s 10K effort, that I needed a day off. I’m trying to run more consistently and my times have reflected that of late. Yesterday was my best 10K in many moons. It’s a great stress buster as well. My neck doesn’t hurt when I run. But now my legs do.

Swings and roundabouts. My father once said you can’t have a pain in two places at the same time. He might have had a point. So, there will be no running today. I’ll be back on it like a car bonnet tomorrow. Winter running is essential if I’m going to be anywhere near ready for my 10th marathon next year. So I grit my teeth, take the wind and rain, take the cold, take the pain, and get out there and do it.

My brain hurts. Who would have thought that the actual writing of a book was the easiest part? Now I’ve entered the murky world of seeking literary representation. I plan to query 10 of them in the New Year. That’s the shortlist. The long list I’m currently wading through nears 500 in total. From there, I’m seeking to whittle down those who I feel are best suited to my work. It’s hard work. My brain hurts.

I’m researching their likes, dislikes, blah blah blah. British, Irish, American. Male, female. Some seem lovely. Encouraging and understanding. Others less so. They portray themselves as gods and seem to delight in intimidating debut authors from their lofty literary towers. ‘If I don’t like the first line of your manuscript, then I probably won’t read anymore.’ One of them actually said that. Jaw dropping arrogance.

I’m about halfway through the long list. My short list is too long. Should I be spending more time on my query letter? Are my opening three chapters strong enough? Why am I thinking about the second book when there is still so much to do on the first? Will people get the humour? The anger? The hopelessness? I’m bracing myself for the worst, and hoping for the best. But my brain hurts.

That’s the icing on the cake. The hurt cake. Cut into it and you find all the other hurt. The worries, the frustration, the disappointment of everyday life. Family, faith, finances, friends. It goes on. Hurt is everywhere. Physical, Mental, Spiritual, it’s all there. Why bother? Why try? What’s the point? Well, here’s the point. Everybody hurts. Most of the time. But I’ll keep going. Because there is hope.

Yesterday was our daughter’s birthday. Our beautiful, brave daughter who has defied doctors and proved them all so wrong. She is worth the hurt. As are my wife and other two kids. I hurt for them. I run to keep the mental demons at bay. I work to pay the bills. I write to pave a better future for us. I hurt for them. Every day is a battle, but every day is an inch in the right direction. Proving the doubters wrong. Proving. Improving. Embrace the hurt.

Where are you hurting today?

Are you embracing the hurt?

34 thoughts on “Everybody Hurts. Most of the Time

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  1. These temporary setbacks (aka hurts) are natures way of making us appreciate the good times. And, as any (marathon) runner will tell you – no pain, no gain! I’m sure with your determination, you will reach your goals. 🙂

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  2. I understand. This is a brilliant write. And yes, I am hyrting today. Mire than anyone could actually know. Emotionally, spiritually and physically. And it is secret. I don’t want it to be secret. But it is. Hurt is horrible. In my own lufe so MUCH hurt. Sometimes I feel like jyst blurbing it all out on my Blog – but that is not what my Blog is for. Sometimes I think the hurt will kill me. And maybe it is doing. And the main source of my hurt is not my cancer or blindness or unabilty to walk. It is the rehection by my church, and the sheer cruelty it and its Leaders have extended towards me. Yes, we battle. I battle, inwardly. I have to. Every bloomin day. And I guess I win. But maybe one day I will break. I have no real fa i,y – just my hysband who is also wheelchair bound. We battle, and Stephen, I truly do know what you are talking about. We all have our own battles. Just keep going. We will walk together through thus bloody battle. You and I will both get tbere in the end. You are doing great. But I KNOW it hurts. I love the title of your Blog by the way, a d wonder why your faith is fractured. Mine is too. But out of that comes something very different looking, and much stronger. But less conventional. I wish I could talk to you more.

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  3. Great post, Stephen.
    Currently, my brain is hurting. I’m doing all this research for the book I want to write and man, it hurts my brain! It’s become a little overwhelming but I’m not going to quit!

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  4. I was thinking about your daughter, and it occurred to me that my oldest girl is supposed to have died 20 plus years ago. As a young girl she was diagnosed with JRA. Every doctor said she’d be lucky to make it to 21. Then they said she’d never have children. Two children later, and 22 years later, she’d still going strong. Hang in there, and I’ll remember you guys in my prayers.

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  5. The first line of The Road Less Traveled-“Life is difficult.” Accepting that made life manageable. But physical pain is very difficult. Yes, I have pain all the time—even when sleeping. But I’ve managed to have good times, lots of them and lots of laughs. I hope your pains continue to be manageable!!

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  6. Without putting too fine a point on it, you’re knackered. For what it’s worth, that’s how I see it. You’ve just finished a year (?) of work on a book, a year of work on a blog, weeks of work on a report, you have a full time job, support your family and run marathons. Now that the book is complete (until more edits need to be done), the report is finished (until that bounces back for more additions/changes) and the adrenaline has all but dried up, I suspect your body is having a bit of a momentary meltdown. Perhaps I should amend my previous post, eat my words and suggest a teensy hibernation, a rest, a deep breath and a re-group.

    And if that wasn’t stern enough, then I shall add a finger waggle and gently say, “if you burn yourself out, you’ll be of no use to man nor beast and most importantly, your family”. Katie (sent with a smiley emoji to soften the blow) 😊

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  7. I’ve heard of that!!! The first line in and they’re brutal!

    In a way, it pushes me to wonder what exactly is the best “first line” would the hobbit even be accepted in that form?

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  8. I hurt from not being to start on the long list of things need done. I feel paralyzed and no idea why. And it definitely hurts to watch ‘me’ being weak.

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