when attempting to categorize this post, i was thinking of making up a new category like “just some drivel i wrote” or “nonsense that takes up space and doesn’t come out right”. that’s never a good sign, and probably doesn’t bode well, since i am doing this before i even actually type out what i want to say.
yes, it’s been that kind of lead-up. actually, this post could be a 2-part series, because there are 2 separate posts that both belong under this heading. one of them i have been mulling over for a while, because i have (what i believe to be) powerful things to say about it, but due to part-2 of our as-yet-unwritten series, i think it will be underwhelming, poorly expressed, badly executed, and say the wrong things while still leaving the right ones sludging around in my brain.
that’s awesome, huh?
actually, i think it’s kind of a comedy of errors. sometimes people say that if you don’t laugh, you will cry, and in those circumstances i generally only want to cry (or i want to hurt someone, but that’s a different thing). but right now, i feel oddly free. like, there is so no chance at all of nailing this post that it is just comic to even try. like in the same way it’s more funny than sad to watch a baby trying to walk- so that’s how i feel about writing tonight.
for such a long time writing has been such a wonderful source of joy and catharsis for me. one of the best things i can do when i need to sort out thoughts is to write about a topic, and somehow a lot of the time my thoughts will coalesce into a coherent idea.
not so much lately. and that is really the crux of topic #2: the idea of being betrayed by your own body.
so, let’s loosely define your body as meaning your physical self, including your brain. in my case, i grew up sincerely believing that if you just worked really super hard you could achieve- within reason- whatever you set your mind to. so, while i knew i would never be a star in the NBA (not that i ever wanted that anyway, but let’s throw that in for the sake of contrast), i also knew that if i practiced a sport i would be good at it, if i studied for a test i would do well on it, and if i tried really hard at something i could do it.
yes, i realize that makes me either much luckier or much more delusional than lots of other people on the planet. but assume for the moment that these things were true. assume i had the golden ticket.
in 2002 that all went haywire. when i tried to stand up my body told me it was sideways and threw me against walls. when i tried to walk my legs forgot how to work in tandem and my feet forgot how to send the right signals to my brain to keep me upright. don’t even get me started on how not in control of my body it felt to be on such high doses of steroids that although i was bed-ridden and keeping down almost no food, i gained about 75 pounds that wouldn’t come off. i didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. when there was absolutely nothing going wrong in my body my nervous system decided it was being attacked and released cascades of pain that it takes mountains of medications to keep at bay, even now, and even then it only helps some of the time.
but the medications come with another bonus. they mess up your thinking. in addition to the litany of side effects you can hear in your average TV commercial, the more powerful a medication is, the more powerful the results will be. and if it needs to quiet the brain in one area- like pain signals- it also quiets the brain in other areas- like thinking skills.
at any given time, i will be ramping up a dose of one thing, and titrating down a dose of another. me and my “team of health care professionals” are in a constant dance of the tweak: what will be the optimal combination, depending on what new stuff is out and what is building up too much in my bloodstream and what i am getting too tolerant of or too sick from or has side effects that are too unacceptable, or what the doctor just heard about in a conference, or what i read about in a journal, or what one of my friends has tried, or what we think may no longer be necessary, or what one doctor wants to try a substitution for…
and for the few months or so, my thinking just hasn’t been right.
i have had a few ideas, but they have flitted around the edges of my head and just not settled with me. there hasn’t been anything i could sink my teeth into. normally i get so many things that i get excited about and i want to literally run to the computer and i can’t wait to write and for the last few months i have been very ho-hum… it’s like i just can’t see clearly in my own mind. even when people discuss ideas sometimes, i will sort of space out (the opposite of my personality, which is to jump in and kind of monopolize conversations- not always an attractive quality, and one i try to hold in check when i think about it, but there it is…).
recently i decided to get some books from the library that i really enjoyed reading in high school. i wanted to see if i still thought they were profound, and if my perspective had changed. just between you and me, i also wanted to see if i could still understand them.
book #1 was some existential philosophy in french. it was one of my favorite books back in the day. now i couldn’t get past page 3. i kept feeling like if i would sit with a dictionary and stay with it, it would come back to me and i would get back into the flow of it. but the book sat on the couch for about 2 weeks and then i took it back to the library.
something you should know about me: i don’t back down from a challenge if i can help it. this was a book i loved, sitting on my own couch in my own house. nobody cared whether i read it or not. it was between me and me. big fail.
the next few books were by the same author, but in english. those went better. i liked them, and even read some things i hadn’t encountered before. i was feeling less dumb than before, but not by too much. the jury was still out, and i still couldn’t blog about anything meaningful.
then some pretty profound philosophy by a danish philosopher, and some by a german. wish i could tell you i sailed through, but the results are mixed. the conclusion? i didn’t stick with all of it (decidedly un-julie-ish) and i am definitely dumber than i used to be. i can blame the meds- and rightly i should!- but that doesn’t make me feel a ton better right now since for all intents and purposes i am my meds and my meds are me…
right now it is 9:44 on new year’s eve and people are starting to shoot guns outside, but just a bit… very oddly, it is making me the tiniest bit nostalgic for when i used to live in a really scummy neighborhood in detroit (yes, actual detroit. not the suburbs. for those who take issue with such things- and you know who you are ). i don’t know why this is hitting me now; it’s like when you smell something that just takes you back mentally to a sensation more than an actual place. i guess it’s because i am here writing a post about when i used to be smart and with-it… and in those days i really was…
i suppose there is always nostalgia of one sort or another and part of growing older is learning how to let go of what was to make room for what is. maybe that should be my lesson for the new year, and maybe i could pretend that was the inspiration for this post. but i think what i struggle with is the feeling that i really am in here somewhere, and i just can’t find myself under all of these layers of nonsense…
so maybe that should be the theme of 2014: get rid of the nonsense!
hahahahahahaha- if only it were as easy as writing it on a blog, huh?