I am sitting here breathing deeply, reflecting on all the riches around me. Sorrow has left, even physical discomfort. The frogs are croaking; I hear their call come in on a breeze that touches my ankles, refreshes my warm arms, cheeks. The robins’ warbles are distant, mixed with their friends’ chirps and teeters. The sun is hidden behind warmth, grayness. The world feels calm and nourishes me…and still I feel out of my element.
This peace, deep-seated calm, an awareness of chaos but the underlying joy and trust that this world is not my own…it’s out of my grasp, this surrender, it’s still so new. It’s who I am. But my mind wander to who I was.
I want to tast the tantalizing drink of the past, the highs, the rushes, the fire in my blood, the dark blues and brooding blacks of my pits, my friends called Emptiness and Agony, the delectable emotions that kept me breathing, the pounding head, the swollen sinuses, a body wracked with an intolerable grief, that unendingly flowed, a grief I savored; it was me and I reveled in it, no matter how much I hated it and every day wanted it to leave. Still I loved being “me.”
And my brain and body try to go back. To recreate the me I was. I try to feel the intensities again, that connection to my self and to God, toe evil and to good. The power I knew I had: life and death in my hands, the power to turn a head. My sickness told me: this power was the key to me enlightenment, my freedom. Even while I saw no future for myself, I raged on living from one cliff-hanging moment to the next. Sucking everything in and plowing over everyone in my path.
Now I can only see what I really loved about those times. Or what I thought I loved. I easily forget about the monster: an illness that had its icy fingers wrapped around each thought and action. The evil I almost let win.
This old self is so real; we’re supposed to kill our old selves. But my grip on the past is unbreakable. Who am I without my past? So grateful, yet so conflicted. How can the pain, regret, tears, the evil seem so much like friends? They brought me experiences I will never get back. They seemed so right. How can I incorporate these times into my current self, instead of being sucked in, trying to recreate a self that has died?