This was based off the topic recommendation of millionaires-shortbread
“Right I was thinking about this the other day and I think you should write about it. That tumor she had, it only hurt when she was talking or thinking about grace, so I think the tumor symbolised all the hurt she was holding in about grace and when she finally let go, the tumor went, I dunno! :)”
This post is all about what that imaginary bump or tumor and what it represented and meant to Liv.
I think that there are a couple of main reasons as to why Liv is having this imaginary health scare. It is true that Liv feels the sensation of pain in her side when she is thinking or talking about Grace. I also think that the sensation and hallucination of the bumps also manifests in her fear of death and her holding in everything she feels inside of her.
The first major scene where Liv feels pain in her side is right after Alex leaves and she is having her drunken waltz. She falls grasping her side. To me Alex is used by Liv as a major source of support, but also a major source of escape. Her support and escape leaves for the weekend. Within hours of Alex leaving Liv feels this phantom pain in her side. This pain that manifests all the pain, grief, and betrayal she feels inside that she has yet to deal with. It is a reminder of all the toxic things in her life calling her back to reality.
The second time Liv feels these phantom pains is after Maude asks whether or not Alex’s grandmother is dead like Gracey. A little bit after this question and after Liv confirms that Alex’s grandmother is dead like Gracey she feels these pains. Again to me the pain is a nagging feeling drawing Liv to reality. Alex was able to drown out what needs to be dealt with, but now that there are no distractions the pain that lives within Liv is getting louder.
After Maude goes to bed Liv starts to research what could be wrong with her, because the phantom pains also have phantom lumps. After her research she tries to contact someone for support. She goes to call Mini, but remembers that things with Mini have been complicated and strange. From here Liv talks to Gracey about how isolated she feels. Maude wakes up during this talk with Grace and as Liv crawls into bed with Maude. They have a talk about mortality and Maude makes Liv promise that she will never die.
It happens again while Liv silently takes a smoke in the school car park feeling dismissed by Mini and frustrated with Franky. It is this spell of phantom pains that gives Doug an opportunity to be sweet.
Then it happens again when Liv is confront Rich about his seemingly put together demeanor. After talking about Grace and also that looming feeling that no one cares. No one gives a fuck.
She also feels ill and holds her side after her confrontation with Mini.
I think that the phantom pains and the phantom bumps represented everything toxic that Liv was holding in for so long. Her disappointment in her friends. Her feelings of being abandoned and feeling isolated from everyone. The pain and the loss she feels regarding Grace. All of it together created this illness of a troubled mind and a broken heart. Alex was her main support and her main escape for most of the series. He goes away for a weekend and everything comes fighting to the surface. EVERYTHING she has been feeling and fighting against is right there waiting for her. Throughout Liv’s entire episode she is seen fighting for someone to notice and someone to support her. She is crying for help. She tries to talk to Mini, she testily confronts Franky, and she loses her cool with Rich. To me Liv in her represents the image of someone in a crowded room screaming and yet no one seems to notice.
At the end of the episode Liv is confronted with the reality that her friendship with Mini is forever altered. It has been compromised. It cannot go back to the way it was, but must be figured out for what it is. She also goes to the nurse and finally vocalizes both her grief for Grace and also her fear of mortality. As soon as this happens Liv is able to let go of those phantom pains, because she confronted the issues that needed to be confronted. There was no need for her body or mind to remind her of the toxic emotions that lived dormant inside her. She had already let those feelings out.
Liv’s phantom pains and phantom illness was her fear of losing people, her fear of mortality, and her intense feelings of loss.