Winter Solstice (On the Whole)

Living with your own body as it devolves via chronic illness is, as I have mentioned before, no fun. It’s a bit like getting covered in layer after layer of ash until you feel heavy and small, until you start to wonder if this is your own personal Pompeii and soon you’re going to be a ruin.

So, that is a thing that happened to me for years.

And then there was this year.

This year, we lost icons. We saw war. We were set up for a political future that will try to destroy us.

On a separate plot line, I started to get control of my illness. I started to lock down the habits that would let me fight another day. I figured out what food was killing me and banished it. I swapped out the drugs that were killing me for ones that help my body get better.

Things were looking up, but my heart still felt the weight of all that ash.

Years of can’t. Years of worse. Years of no.

I didn’t think that part was getting better. But little by little, it was.

And sometimes that carbon layer over my core self cracks open a little wider.

I’m writing this to let you know that it can happen to you, too.

Maybe some night, you’ll be sitting at your desk, listening to “Out Tonight” and thinking about the people who care about you, not for you as an invalid, but about you as a human, realizing that even though you can’t stand up for long without fainting, you have nonetheless become a excellent and expressive chair-dancer. You will be absentmindedly poking around inside your memory and the rest of who you are will come back to you.

Maybe some night, Pompeii will crack wide open and you will shine out, remembering that you are still a force of nature.

***

Tonight is the Winter Solstice.

It will only get brighter from here.

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