Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Importance of Lower-Back Support

15:14. I lie in bed, my back pressed into pillows allergen-proofed yet providing inadequate support to my lumbar region, and I squint to focus through gummed eyes at my laptop's watery screen. I drink coffee and read. My hair needs a wash. My ankle is grazed where I have itched it with the toenail of the other foot. A Nescafe jar by the bed smells of stale spliff, ash. Disgorged cigarettes and Rizla packets torn into Escher shapes amass beside the lamp. Graphic novels and Don Delillo on the carpet. Hand-me-down curtains strangle out the weak October sun. The clock blinks. I lie back.

Later, I roam the flat with a carrier bag, snatching up the detritus of drug use, evidence of my apathy, trying to hide the truth from myself in cleanliness and time. So many steps back. Well maybe that's the direction the universe wants me to travel. Look at it this way.

I press a warmed wheat-bag to my inflamed eyes. I do the dishes. Outside, plants droop to the cracked concrete, a nodding row of phlox purple and dandelion yellow and dirty white, like team-shirted lads on a Saturday night bent to a curbward spew. Across the road, a crackle of barren branches claws at the murky sky.

I want so many things. To run faster than a meteor can strike. To feel willowy folds and believe in touch again. I want truth that will survive the searing journey to morning. No pithy apophthegm, no Zen-like satori, ever manages to stay true into that moment waking groggy to the insubstantial reality of myself. What beats that ever-drowning cloud of grey? That cold lake into which we all must submerge? Hope, Neil Gaiman says. Hope.

Remember that the OCD perfectionism, the ideal, is a construct, that all we have to truly live in is this reality, imperfect and crumbling and wondrous. We can only do our best. There's no win-state to steer towards; there's only now, ever and always, waiting patiently for us. The anxiety doesn't dissolve, but it does melt at the edges a little. We might not win, but we can sure lose with style.

I sit in my cheap desk-chair that has travelled with me since university a decade past, worn down and groaning (the chair), and I push my hips back. I place two cushions behind me so that the chair, imperfect and crumbling though it is, will provide imperfect yet adequate support to my lumbar region. I sit up straight and I type...

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