As a child, I suffered from severe stomach cramps. My stomach would wrinkle and crunch like an accordion and then stretch out like a rubber band about to pop. The pain would radiate from my belly to my thighs to my belly and then wash all over me, and I would lie motionless in a pool of nausea. 

Besides medicine,  I developed ways to deal with it. Curling up in a ball. Walking back and forth. But most of the time, I would gingerly sit down on our sofa and rock back and forth until the pain fled. In my mind, there could be no feeling worse than this. The stings and bangs and aches of the body were tiers above any other type of damage. 

But then I grew up and experienced pain that I didn’t even know existed. 

Bruised feelings. 

Broken hopes. 

A cracked heart. 

I remember one evening where my emotions were in complete disarray. I felt like I was suffocating.  Hurt and sorrow and joylessness were piled, one on top of the other. 

They were crushing me. 

On the phone was my sister, who was trying to lift them. She somehow made sense out of my breathless tear-laced phrases and said, 

“You are emotionally exhausted.

Take a shower and lie down.”

So I did. I laid in my bed with tears sliding down my skin, choking on this pain, praying that relief would come soon. 

I used to think that one was worse than the other. 

Not so.

In all its forms, pain hurts. 

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