On scatterbrains, skeletons, and skirmishes
2012.04.29 § Leave a Comment
The past few days have been keeping me in a daze. I’m not even sure about if I’m out of it just yet; all I know is that things are confusing, frightening, surprising, and ultimately, leave me behind. Things keep happening; things keep affecting me, and I can’t keep up.
It’s frustrating how inarticulate I find myself lately. I am dumb and at a loss for words at my worst, and slurry and ineloquent at my best. My current norm is staccato sentences with poor wording, and the constant tip-of-the-tongue for the right thing to say. Nothing makes sense.
When I think of what to say, it takes a lot of processing; my thoughts are rendered irrelevant by the time I actually figure out what I could say, and when I do say things, it doesn’t match up to my thoughts anymore. It’s one giant blah that I just can’t seem to shake.
In the end, my speech is as muddled as my thoughts, and my thoughts are so muddled that all I can picture my mind to be anymore is a bloody swamp. I don’t think it’s actually a good thing to have a swamp-mind, but I guess it still counts for something.
Surfacing every now and then is this fear that I am exactly the sum of my parts, demeaning myself to be just blood and bone, and breath and bite. I get so lost in how biologically human that I forget my own essence of being human.
The swamp tells me I am flesh and form, but I scream back into the reflection that the mud is actually worth something, that the fact that mud could be at all is amazing. The swamp remains silent, but it shows me that I am limited.
It doesn’t help that I feel somehow trapped. There is no feeling more exposing than that of vulnerability. I am trapped, yet I am exposed. I am tense, yet I am vulnerable. Not exactly a state of polar opposites, but quite bloody confusing.
It’s infuriating because the only line of thought that even seems to promise release is self-destructive in nature. I do not want to have to hurt myself just to free myself. There has to be a solution that’s actually viable—something that will not make me any more damaged than I already am.
My body is damaged property, but it is my property. This is a one-time-only run with the merchandise, and I can’t exactly trade what I have, nor can I take it away from anyone else. Being what it is, this cocoon of mortality makes me fear the worst.
Almost two years ago when I was coughing up blood, I panicked. Lungs aren’t supposed to do that, I thought, blood isn’t supposed to go there. Yet on the white porcelain sink was undeniable proof that high-velocity droplets of blood were coming out of my throat.
It started out as a sore throat, then phlegm-chucking cough, then the blood just freaked me out. I had thought that it was the run-of-the-mill sort of asthma or cold up until that point. It took a while for the bloody phlegm to sink in before I told my parents about it.
Naturally, they reacted as parents would—one practically, the other optimistically. “Oh, it could be nothing,” she said, “We’re taking you to the hospital first thing,” he said. By morning, they had swapped viewpoints, and father had to go to work while my uncle and mother took me to the ER.
Our doctor wasn’t in, but the staff took care of me. They told me I’d have to go to one place, then another, then I’d have to have a couple of checks, wait a while, go to some other place, then pay at the cashier near the front.
Long story short, I had an X-ray done, peed in a cup, and had a routine physical check-up. While waiting for the results, I had seen quite a few people in various states of medical need—an elderly woman with a knife in her neck, a young man who looked blue in the face, the most notable.
Hospitals make me feel so unnecessarily tense, especially when the smell reminds me of how much effort people put into covering up the stench of mortality. Living stinks, my mind told me, and people don’t want to be reminded. I humored the thought.
The initial screening put two things on the plate—either my esophagus had a bloody spot somewhere, or I had tuberculosis. After asking what the latter was, I panicked even more. If it were the latter, the rest of my life would change. I tried not to entertain the thought, but mortality is persistent.
After thirty minutes of wondering what my life would be with such a disease—think, no strenuous physical activities, a limit on laughter because of the mask, the feeling of having potatoes for lungs, being a public health risk, and maybe have a portable oxygen tank—the results were in.
The feeling of relief after the doctor said the X-ray ruled out tuberculosis was indescribable. The rest of the day passed as a blur, and the two-week, three-pill regimen for the mild infection was the best outcome I could have hoped for.
Looking at the X-ray film now, beside another one taken recently, I cannot help but wonder how other things can be overlooked. I didn’t have tuberculosis that time, but when I went to the doctor for a regular, non-sick check-up, she told me that I had scoliosis.
It’s a relatively mild case, and it wouldn’t have affected my lifestyle unless it got any worse, but it was overlooked, and that scares me. My spine has the same damn curve in both films, taken two years apart, and it took another doctor to say I have scoliosis.
What I took from the tuberculosis scare was this unshakable but mild fear of face masks, but I have yet to figure out what scoliosis means to me. For all I know, I’ve had it all this time, and I could have aggravated it with something I could have done. I mean, can’t I be damn scared of this?
It’s a mild case, and I keep on reminding myself that I’m relatively lucky that it doesn’t affect how I live—not yet?—and that it’s nothing much to worry about; it’s common. But then again, it’s real, and I’m alive, and this is all I’ve got. How am I supposed to know that this isn’t permanent?
So I live my life in this body and ultimately, it’s damaged, and I’m damaged, and my mind is damaging itself ever-so subtly, ever-so progressively. Can things get any progressively worse? Could entropy have gotten to me even before I had started defying it?
There are all these scary thoughts, and I don’t know how to deal with all of it just yet. I’ve never been so afraid of being alive, and I don’t know how to cope with mere existence. There are all these reminders everywhere, and I keep on going back to how damn scared I am.
So I lash out. I try to cope. I hurt others so that I don’t end up hurting myself. And it feels wrong; it’s wrong and frustrating, and I end up angry at myself. I end up wanting to punish myself, and that thought drives my mind in circles.
I’ve been trying to tone down on the harshness, all the sarcasm, all the irritability, and I try to keep that all without wanting to hurt myself. I can’t help but think that this all is some double-edged sword. Screw the sword, I think, melt it clean.
And with all these distractions—the games with skeletons and blood and fighting, the videos of masochistic stupidity, the books about accepting mere mortality—I keep thinking about what distractions are, because I’m not being distracted; I’m being reminded.
Distractions aren’t everywhere; reminders are. And with the abundance of reminders comes the higher likelihood of being triggered—of falling deeper into the closing spiral—of moving while the double-edged sword still impales the curvature of my spine, the acid in my throat.
Because ultimately, I am flawed, and my packaging has creases, and I cannot help but want to drown in the mud I’m screaming at. I have to accept that this is it—that I’d have to learn to deal, or else minimize all else. I have never felt so alive, and I have never been so afraid.