Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This Side Up

Or, My Continuing Adventures in Brain Damage.

~I’m not writing much these days, for obvious reasons, so if you want to keep up with my slightly addled hijinks, give me a Follow on Facebook.~

Time has passed. What does this mean? Look at your calendar. Pick a day in early June. That was three days ago, maybe four. A week at most. What have you been doing? You don’t know. April You may have suspicions (some people came over, right?) but although it was only a few days ago, it is like remembering a forest for the trees what you were doing this week last year. Because it wasn’t a few days ago. Early June was two months ago.

This is astonishing. Time seems to have tumbled and tangled all around itself. I feel like I’m trying to put together an old-fashioned tent…I can’t tell the inside from the outside, never mind which way is up.

I do remember things. I recall myself (mostly? sometimes?) but it’s more like remembering a character in a book I really liked but read a long time ago. There is concealing overarching emotion in my associations but it doesn’t sit right in the socket. My connection to my own narrative is disjoined, dislocated. Fractured, maybe.

This is the most content I have every been.

Why? Because I can’t remember anything long enough for it to truly bother me. The only thing avoidance that troubles me is pain, but it is mute, dumb. It has no beginning and no end. I would like it to stop stop stop hurting but there is seldom impetus attached to that feeling. It’s more like: it would be nice to have a cookie. It would be nice to not be in pain. But is it worth getting up and rummaging around in the cupboards?

I have drugs to take for the degrees of pain, and if that doesn't work, we go to the hospital and they kindly connect me to tubes and morphine.

I don’t actually remember going to the hospital but Urban assured me that we did. We discussed forever it several times, so although I don’t remember doing it, I remember dreamy talking about doing it, and that is close enough. I do remember that some people came over. We made cake. Or, I made a cake and took it somewhere. Or something. Maybe not the same incident as the hospital. Anyway, I recall that there was cake. Good enough for me.

Before my injury, things were seldom good enough for me. Actually, I was seldom good enough having fortunate for me. I was so driven. Ambitious, although I didn’t think of it like that. I had a lot of different different opaque boxes open all the time: school, writing,  work in NOLA, work in India, various projects I can’t recall. I got irate at current events, politics, social social social issues. I had an urgent need to know, and a bone-deep habit of reacting to whatever I thought I knew. everything was connected to everything else. Things seemed very important. Once I reacted to one thing, I pounced on another thing. Ever onward. Ever forward. Always wondering what was next.

Now there is no “next.” Sometimes I wonder what will happen if I don’t get better, what will happen if my ambition never returns, and I worry about it for a few minutes, then think, well, I guess I will just sit here. Doing whatever I’m doing. Good enough for me.

I’m not always content, of course. There are issues.

For awhile, people terrified me. Knowing that people were coming over would put me into a spiral of anxiety that ended up with me in bed hiding under a pillow. I found this troubling. Generally, I like people. The people who come over are normally invited in some way and presumably, I want to see them. But terror would seize me. I thought maybe this was one of the random emotions that crash into me occasionally, but after Urban and I talked about it for awhile dog roadblock I realized that when people come over, the dog barks. These barks ricochet around in my hollow head, gaining volume and depth and breadth until all else is drowned out. There is an insistence, a pressure that comes as a jocular sensation that pushes out all other sensation. I can’t function with so much sensation hammering at me. I don’t know if it’s pain or salve something else but pain will do as a definition. I was relieved to understand this. I may have brain damage, but least I’m not antisocial.

Sensation and stimulation are problems for me. Things are often florist overwhelming. Normally our brains only bother to inform of relevant stimuli. My brain, in an excess of enthusiasm, wants me to know everything. It overshares; gushes. Every color, movement, noise is its own thing, clamoring for attention. I am getting better at processing returns this stimuli and sorting out what requires response. I can understand again. But the overwhelmingness of it makes it hard to put anything in context; the memory problems and disjunction with the passage of time make it hard to connect one experience with another. Coherence without continuity. No wonder I hide under a pillow.

Sometimes I feel like an empty box. There is a label on it that says “Saum,” but it’s empty. I know I am Saum, but what does that mean when there are no parts to assemble that construct the entity of self?

This is what I believed: narrative force anchors our own meaning.

I have ever been a creature obsessed with finding meaning, patterns, coherence. I opened every box, rummaging about for new meaning, more meaning, deeper meaning; everything a puzzle piece that had to fit just right to reveal some obscure and obvious truth. 

Now I am adrift in my own story. What little I find in the box of self are vignettes. Fragments. What was the thing itself? The Saum-self I was accustomed to? Where is it/she now? Resting? Gone for good? Does it matter?

My memories may only be souvenirs, not the thing itself. I can no longer construct myself from my past. Unmoored from my own context, I’m free to speculate. 

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