I haven’t met any of the Others, though i’m informed, perhaps not reliably, that they exist, that they live around us, close by, nextdoor even perhaps. A few times i’ve thought “Aah, at last, one of the Others“, when i first met new people but it never turned out to be the case. When i got to know them a little, it turned out they were of the Aching too. It seems some people just have better camouflage than others. Maybe the Others really don’t exist or maybe i just know the wrong people, move in the wrong circles, am the wrong age. For a while i thought i was one of the Others myself, maybe that’s were the idea comes from – all in my head. Talking of which, a lot of aching happens in peoples heads, in their minds, that doesn’t mean it’s not real, not genuine pain, just often makes it more difficult to recognise, to accept and to relieve. Sometimes you don’t recognise the aching, assume its normal, assume all the Others have it, that its part of being one of the Others, until one day it breaks some barrier, becomes obvious and you know “Hey, that’s pain, i’m in pain, i’m one of the Aching“. It’s possible to be in denial of physical pain too. I know, i was an expert, “just a few aches and pains”, “i was in the gym yesterday must be doing me good“, or “tough run yesterday, can’t bend my knees today” and then i woke up one day and thought someone had broken all the bones in my feet overnight “ouch, i’m in pain, can’t walk.” That kind of pain is degenerative, quickly leads to cursing, cursing and blinding, as my father used to say. “Shuffle over here”, my brain advised me, “shuffle over here and collect the gold medal for lack of awareness”. And just as i am getting over being upset by the physical pain, by the knowledge it’s not like a head cold, it doesn’t just go away and not come back, i start to think of all those i have known with chronic pain, who have suffered for years, and the shallow sympathy i gave them, the lack of understanding and i beat myself up over that. Then the trinity is complete, emotional pain kicks in as i kick myself mentally and drop my gold medal on my aching foot.

Physical, mental and emotional, so many options for aching, no wonder we are such a big tribe. It’s easy to qualify, difficult to check-out, out of the pain that is. Recognising our tribe becomes easier with a little awareness, a little more listening and a little less talking. It becomes obvious too, that many of the Aching believe in the existence of the Others, of their charmed lives and pain free existences, even if they haven’t met any of them. They just know that they are out there and some of our tribe resent them, hate them for being one of the Others. You begin to notice, to recognise, that some of the Aching spend a lot of time lashing out, blundering about, blaming others, blaming everybody else. The pain is too much too bear, physical, mental or emotional and they seek relief in dispensing pain, whoever thought of that as a remedy? What kind of a genius thought that might work? It doesn’t work of course, only increases their own pain with the obvious and inevitable result, escalation. Escalation of pain – what a terrifying concept, a reality for many.

It would be so terrifying except that many of our tribe are kind and thoughtful, dispense love from their aching base, are in pain but don’t spread pain. If anything, knowing pain they absorb it, reduce the amount in circulation, bring some ease to their tribal sisters and brothers, spread a little love like a salve on our aches and pains. I aspire to be one of those, the salve dispensers.

Tread carefully my friends,

but keep exercising.



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