There is probably no more terrible instance of enlightenment than the one in which you discover your father is a man — with human flesh.
Dune Frank Herbert
For the last few weeks I haven't posted anything. My life has been too complicated, too involved. I didn't know how to put these adventures into words. But in these past few weeks I have felt the magnitude of my strength and the depth of my weakness.
So for all of you who follow this blog know that I finally left Maryland. I traveled down with my mother to North Carolina, where my parents house is. Right on the water of an inland sound, the view is breathtaking. A neighbor of my parents built a gigantic ramp by the back of the house so that I could go in and out. It is the Michaelangelo of ramps, blending in seamlessly with the back porch that runs the length of the house. I knew that one reason that we went to North Carolina was for me to see and use that ramp, which I did.
Now going down to North Carolina was a break from the real world. I had no responsibilities except to exercise and stay fit. And that I did. I felt the stronger there than I have since my second back surgery. I walked back and forth across my parents lawn, circling the house. I walked the path down to the water and back. I scoffed at the neighbors boat launch, which was suggested to me for getting into the water. Instead I decided to jump down the step ladder on my parents dock. Hard to keep a turtle out of the water. I felt good, I felt strong. It was like the adrenaline rush I got once after a wrestling match. I had beaten a guy 15 lbs over my weight on home turf, with everyone from my school watching. Afterwards I sprinted the halls, enjoying the feeling that I could do anything.
I felt strong, but the trip cross country knocked the strength out of me. We traveled almost 1200 miles, stopping every 3 hours or so to rest and stretch. My body felt as if I had been beaten, kicked around, then beaten some more. At the end of every day I collapsed into my motel bed, drained of all energy. I didn't travel all that well before; now I don't travel well at all.
But I made it here. I'm set up in my apartment with a ramp-van to get me around to classes and physical therapy. But there is something different about Fort Collins now. The romantic vision I had of this place is gone. People's lives have moved on: some lives have disintegrated, others have gotten married, and still others may be dying soon. This is not the place I left and I am not the person who left it. And though they try to act as though nothing has happened, my friends are still getting to know this new wheelchair person that's entered into their lives.
I've seen the weakest I can get as well. After a long day, exhausted, my body aches. All I want to do is lay down and never get up I know I can't. I get so week to the point I can pass out, my body finally saying "Fuck this, I've had enough. You are resting NOW." Always a control freak, it's frightening to have so much of my own body out of my control. It takes constant vigilance, a drive to always work on keeping my body fit. I admit I don't always keep up with this; my mind is tired as well. Having long ago come to the realization that if I don't keep up with my exercises and stretches my body only goes down hill. But having the knowledge and putting into practice are two different things.
So here I am, a new person in a new place with new goals. I've seen my greatest and my weakest moments; it's tantalizing that I know just how far I can go but frightening just how far I can fall. I have a feeling I'll get through but it would be nice if life didn't insist on showing my limits, reminding me just how human I am.