It’s at these fragile moments that I realize just how much of my life has been spent in the midst of forced conflicts. I can count no less than fifteen good years spent at war with the frailty of various addictions, chasing the light of selfish daydreams in various tints and tones of delusion, and competing with the shadows stretching out from the feet of those around me. I’ve been foolish in epic quantities; I have a bulging disc in my neck that causes crippling migraines, patchworking of self-inflicted scars on my thighs and forearms, and the quiet emptiness of a man who feels as though he’s coming off of the high of his personal peak.
This is, of course, the sum of the week speaking though me; crisis reduces even the surest mind into a sock-puppet state, where you’re left flapping and babbling about your latest affliction and fascination. These last few days have been an unkind reminder of consequences, and a kind of crude experimentation in feeling the things that you’ve lost, while leaping at the flickers of what you’re likely to lose… in this case, swimming eyesight and brief bouts of nervous shutdown. Mornings filled with the flexing of numb fingertips, the gauging of whether or not to head back to the emergency room, and the specters of the yet another Hauser family legacy—the loss of the mind, the paper crumpling of one’s mental functions, exploding arteries and collapsing faculties—riding shotgun on the passing of time, while you set the weight of one moment against the one that preceded it.
Am I seeing double, or just imagining that I am?
Has the pain in my neck migrated upward?
Is the lack of memory or trigger-tug mental response a splinter effect of fatigue, or am I really losing my fucking mind?
I don’t know. Despite growing up in a household of healers, we’ve never done well in contending with medical realities. The recognition of what a lifetime of half-a-pack puffery and an outright rejection of anything resembling a commitment to personal longevity might as well be emblazoned on the family crest; the violence and suddenness with which our previous generations have succumbed to their ailments a constant in the ongoing storytime of our lives.
And for the sake of the record, even writing this feels like the extrication of something cruel and barbed from beneath flesh. I’ve never done well at admitting weakness, and at the times that I feel like I’ve taken on the complexion of something that’s been folded out of old newspaper, it’s the fear of being afraid that really takes the heat out of my guts. I look forward to a firmer tomorrow, but in the interim… being able to bleed a bit of this out of my system is quite a blessing. It feels like these words allow me to take something back for myself, amidst the ups and downs of the mood: feeling as though I’ve got it in me to lay waste to another world one moment, and then quietly wishing that I was sifting through some dire diagnosis of having six weeks’ worth of life left, just to take the bullshit uncertainty out of the equation.
I guarantee amusement for the next entry, coincidentally. The travelogue—this waste of bandwith’s ultimate purpose—isn’t far off, and my fingers feel as though they’re sharpening up already.