It starts small. A bit tongue. Lacerated lip.
Sometimes they begin as they were always meant to be, as an ulcer, not caused by the trauma of my ravenous overeating. (Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches are not meant to be eaten slowly.) Oftentimes, it’s nothing at all. Just the lupus, or the Other Disease. My stress level hits the roof (see: this week) and I get sties in my eyes and sores in my mouth.
At the very beginning they hurt but aren’t too bothersome.
Eventually, though, they become crevices in my mouth, holes in my lip, gashes in my gum. A physical swell—a reaction— occurs with every wayward bite of food. Every spice is realized, everything is felt. I hold my hand over my mouth in pain and my eyes water. I brush my teeth and squeeze my fists against the sink as the toothpaste burns my mouth.
I try salt water to rinse them, mouthwash to cleanse them, baking soda to end them. I feel every breath as it skims through my mouth, down my esophaugus, into my lungs.
I quiet myself. Lay back.
In meetings I don’t say much, never do. I am patient and I speak when spoken to, when it is necessary.
I keep quiet.
They go away, after a week or two of pain and silence and yogurt and baby food. They go away and I forget about them until the Next Time.
And I appreciate the silence, the loss of expectation. I don’t overshare, talk over people. I listen and even though I want to respond, I can’t and don’t. I am still and present and it is good and healthy and nice. To stop only hearing what I want to respond to and instead hear what they are saying.
To listen, learn, reflect.
(And also eat delicious Gerber Dutch Apple baby food. Don't let me babysit if you have it in your house, it WILL be gone.)