Types of pain people are in, or, why you should prefer health

Before I went into Reeducation, others were doing it and it seemed a bad thing. They would gleefully tick off the things wrong with them from the list they had been given, saying look, I am dysfunctional here, and here, and here … and I would think: “I cannot afford to undertake that kind of self-destruction, it appears to be fun for them but it would be disastrous for me to repaint myself as deficient like that.”

I was right, because people would and do look at me strangely when I say there is something wrong with me that I cannot see but that I am sure is there, such that my only option is to attempt to be acceptable, this being the most I can hope for. Given that this was how I felt, the additional task of undergoing Reeducation seemed to be more to take on than was wise.

But I can see the kind of pain my mother was in; this was what she taught me because it was precisely how she felt: deficient, with no recourse except to do her very best to be acceptable. And always in danger of failing. While my father, meanwhile, did not think he would make tenure. We were always about to fall off the edge of the earth, including when it turned out that the house in which we were living had severe structural defects (that we, of course, had not seen in time).

You understand now why I do not like Reeducation and its idea that there is something wrong with one that one cannot see.



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