Sunday, October 30, 2011

Still Here

I'm here. Still breathing. Alive, and feeling a bit better, and perhaps a little guilty for it. Seems silly to feel that way, I should be celebrating I don't have to crawl to the bathroom in the morning. The truth is, I am starting to have more moments where I forget about rheumatoid arthritis. 


I never would have seen myself here a year ago. Rewind to last year and the picture of me is a six year old girl balled up in a snowstorm, winding her arms around herself to fend off the blizzard's assault. I want to clutch that little girl against me and slay the beast that wants to claim her. But if I do she won't grow up. And I've grown up this year.

A year ago, I would wake up in the morning, hands curled into claws, feeling the transformation in my body as it became less human and more feral. Clawing across the room to swallow steroids and pain pills, they were a temporary mask for my inner beast. I'd soak each morning in steaming water, shaking and hugging my shoulders; my husband lying in a cold, dark bedroom listening to my voice float over the darkness as I soothed my demon; I told Little Me how much I loved her, to get up out of the storm and fight on.

A year ago I was frantic. Searching for answers outside of myself. I needed a dungeon for the monster, and a vanquisher to put it there. If I'd only asked Little Me I wouldn't have made so many mistakes.  I  knew she probably didn't have answers to my questions but I should have tried. "What do you need little girl?"

I could have armored her, equipped myself with a weapon. Instead I let her fall. And I don't know if she'll ever quite forgive me for that. How could I abandon the one person who was most important? I saw the wolf's gaping maw and offered her up as a sacrifice. She didn't cry out when her heart was devoured. It wasn't until I saw her disgusted face that I looked at my blood-stained hands. She lives though her heart is gone, and I'm the one who let it happen. How could I do that? How could I ignore the cries of this little one inside of me, the part of me most sacred and scared and young?

Intelligent people do stupid things. I shouldn't have brushed off the pain. I had too many losses to handle things on my own. I should have sought professional advice. I can see that clearly now, but it took me an entire year to get here. I hope, those just meeting their pain, won't make the same mistake. Get help if you need it. Sometimes life is too much to comprehend on your own.

I've come to terms with my beast. We have an uneasy  understanding. I still have days of incredible pain, when the beast takes me in his jaws and gives me his love bite, an indelible webbed tattoo strung from joint to joint. I am here, he says. I am grateful, in a way, for this wake-up call. I appreciate my good days like no typical person ever could,( but I know you fellow RA'ers understand implicitly). I have come to terms with my views on living and dying. I appreciate my friends and family more than before. I adore my husband, and I am now taking better care of me. And so the battle scarred girl rests her hand on the belly of the beast, and he is momentarily satiated.

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