Cut through fear


Fear. Sometimes I think it’s the only defining characteristic of humanity. It’s what made us learn how to control fire. It brought us out of caves and into shelters we fashioned out of other material. It drives us like no other emotion, not even love. Fear is what gets us there. Not nobility, not “bigness of spirit”. Fear.

This morning an unspoken fear of my own woke me up. It’s an idea my head’s danced around for a bit now, but not put into words. And like any fire lit under your ass, it got me up and out of bed.

I’m afraid that yes, my test will show something wrong with my kidneys and the doctors’ response will be to fuck around with my RA meds.

There. Managed to put it into words without making it sound bleeding horrible. My head isn’t doing very well. I know behind my innocuous words lies days and nights of pain. Pain beyond where you think you can go with pain. Pain that consumes you, absolutely, without let up or release.

I’ve been down this road before, and it’s not  pleasant one. I don’t want to travel it again. Especially now that I have my special shoes and I finally feel good enough to get out and do a few things.

I’m not gonna let them torture me again. If the worst case scenario my brain refuses to let go of actually happens, that’s it. I’m camping out at the hospital, screaming my agony as loud as I can until someone does something for me. I don’t care if that something is knocking me out cold with a punch; that’s precisely where I’ve been before, begging my brother to hit me hard enough to do just that.

Goddess! I hate this shit…

My pocket of alone time last night was actually quiet. Rather than allowing myself to wallow in pacing and talking aloud to myself, I put my shoes on and went out for a walk around the neighborhood. Without my ipod. My steps were slow and measured, and my ears were focused on the Dutch words that were blasting out from the children and mothers alike on the square. One small person passed me; he must have been 4 or 5. As he did, I realized that I could understand what he was saying. That brought a crazy grin to my face: I suspected my Dutch was somewhere around the level of a small child and I felt that short encounter proved it. After a nano-moment of embarrassment, I realized I’d reached that level after less than one year of study.

That means in three to four years ain’t nobody gonna be able to say nothin’ without me understanding it.

Watch out, world. When I can rattle off my arguments bilingually you’ll all be in trouble.

There’s a lot of errand running I’ve been putting off all week. Now it’s Friday, and I’ll try the impossible: to cram it all in in one day. Maybe luck will be with me; it DOES happen once in a while. Occasional days come when every task takes 1/10th the time it generally does. I find what I need immediately and there’s no queues at the check-out. That would be cool. But experience has taught me that I can’t predict or count on those days, they just happen. So I’m not counting on it. I’m not counting on anything right now, actually. Just that things will happen today. THAT is a given.

My bro’s been doing what it seems he’s always doing lately: compiling numbers about our music. My one techno song has gone viral, thanks to the film it’s in (shlock tho it is). I keep hearing numbers that five years ago would have floored me but I just can’t get excited over it. It’s like … too little, too late. Gimme the money. I’m beyond wanting fame anymore. In the past you could have bought me off with 10 minutes of fame. Now…pay me, motherfucker. Or get out of my face. I’m not doing anything I haven’t done before. I’m not interested in your adulation. What I’m interested in is currency. Give me enough so I don’t feel guilty every time I get my hair done at the salon. Give me enough so I can send money out to my friends who I KNOW need it. Give me enough so window shopping and shopping in general can be a pastime and a joy, not an exercise in self restraint that only winds up making me feel bad.

I don’t want gold plated fixtures, just clothes that don’t have holes in them. And having just done laundry – including 97% of my clothes that DON’T have holes in them – I know just how FEW un-holey clothes I have.

As for my do-I-don’t-I call over my test results, I’m wimping out and heading over there to talk to someone face to face. At least I know I WILL talk to someone and not just get lost in some telephone menu that leads me to making excuses to a proctologist because I didn’t understand the directions and hit the wrong number.

The joys of navigating a foreign language!

…Been sitting at the end of this post for 15 minutes, trying to figure out how to finish it off. What else can I say? I’m afraid. That same old universal thing that we all feel. I’m afraid of my RA, I’m afraid of the language, I’m afraid of just fading away and being forgotten. None of this is new.

And none of this is going to stop me. Not now, not today.

I heard from a young woman I knew as a teenager. She helped me in Ireland when I ran my charity. You know what she’s doing? Charity work. Charity work that’s doing a poetry fest, just like I did. And I’m pleased to see the poets I worked with now working with her.

She’s not my daughter. I don’t feel I spent much time with her while I was over there. But I can’t help but feel that I was an inspiration. Something sparked in her while I was on my manic charity frenzy. Something that said yes, I want to do this. If I die today, she’s one legacy I’m very, very proud of.

And that, dear people, cuts through fear like nothing else.


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