Do you know what it feels like to have something to say, something big, something important, something that matters, really and truly. . .
To know you could shake this whole goddamned world, that you were put in this life to shake things, to speak truth so loudly that no one could fail to listen. . .
Do you know what it feels like to live this life, to now have lived this life (past tense), to feel all of this now in your past (it can’t be in the past) because one thing after another keeps pulling you down, holding you back, the worst of which — though certainly not the least — is you feeling afraid and sorry for your fucking self. . .
Then perhaps you don’t at all, perhaps you’re just frustrated at obstacles you truly cannot surmount in the moment, so you turn your anger inwards on yourself, because your “self” is the only point of focus you have (and baby, do you ever need one right now), so much more real, easier to grab onto than whatever is holding you back. . .
I’ve stopped giving people advice. I have so much wisdom — I come by it honestly — but people don’t want to hear it, even when they ask. With the very rare exception.
I started talking with a lovely young woman in a shop at the mall last week. A lovely young woman who, as it turned out, really wanted my advice very badly. More than three hours we talked, and I didn’t feel tired or ill or anything but delighted to be helping. In my small way, a way that may hopefully be a little bigger for her, I gave her the benefit of my experience, my understanding of human nature, my attention and my time.
Time. Time that was spent with mirrors reflecting myself back to me out of the corner of my eye. What I saw can be compared to the visuals in this movie treatment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Spencer Tracy coming to my mind as he always does), except I was transforming from Dr. Ruby into Ms. Walking Dead.
My skin, already light, grew visibly paler and more sallow as we talked. The dark circles beneath my eyes got darker, and darker still until I looked like I did once as a child when an egg on my head drained and I had two black eyes as a result. Their rims became red as though I had been up for three days without closing them.
I left, and I was so happy to have met this woman, so happy to have made a new friend, someone I not only genuinely liked and would want in my life, but someone I could do for. Someone I had done for, just by listening and caring and talking. Grateful.
I got into my car, and everything collapsed inwards on me. I felt like I wasn’t going to make the drive home, but I’ve felt that way before and of course I always make it. There simply is no alternative in my mind.
My muscles ached and my head was pounding, I was running a nice fever. I took my pills — a handful of narcotics and muscle relaxers and prescription NSAIDs and anti-nausea meds and more — like a good little patient.
(There has been so much pain lately I don’t try to fuck around with toughing it out, waiting to see if some rest and aspirin will do, no, not these days, the pain wins out. For now.)
I probably slept upwards of 20 hours. Yes, for the curious, I am convinced by now I do again (and again and again) have mono. I could explain why I haven’t gone in for a spot (test), but that is not what this post is about. It’s a short enough period of time that it would be rightly termed a “relapse” and not a “recurrence” though, which soothes me in a way I cannot put into words.
My ill-health is not entirely to blame. When I put myself out like that, when I give fully of myself, through “real life” interaction or through written or online interaction, it literally takes pieces from me. Pieces of myself, my soul, down to its very core. Which makes sense to me as I write it out, because that is what I give to people, whether they recognize it or not. And some do.
My mother sees it. She saw it physically when I came home the other night. A few of you sense it, truly, though I’ve never spelled it out quite like this. I am grateful for you.
And those of you who don’t, it’s okay. Mostly everyone thinks they do, that it’s the same for them. But we are all different people, so it can never truly be the same.
Always I regenerate. But it takes time and rest. I grow frustrated and impatient and angry with this.
Do you know how loud I can be? You have no idea, I have never shown you. You have never heard me shout, not even raise my voice.
Do you have any conception of how much I have to say, with what I was born shouting from the rooftops, the truth and the lack of fear and the strength of it. . . Talk to somebody who Knew Me When, back in middle school, high school, beyond. Go back further to when I was first That Girl.
I’m trying, I’m fighting, God knows I am fighting to be more than what I now am. To be what I was and what I know I am meant to be. To be Liberty Leading the People once again.
I am fighting so hard.
I will not be done, not at 33, not at 93, not ever. There is so much to do, so much to say, so much to change. . .
So many, many people to piss off yet.
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