[read time: 5 mins, 35 sec]
A late night steady rain crept across the lake, sending me into a deep slumber, and when I woke in the bright morning, I was fine.
If one is adherant to Western horoscope, he would blame my ordeal on Taurean stubbornness. An adherant to scientific methodology would deem it a qualitative and quantitative result of an ongoing hypothesis. The thing is this: I know what I am experiencing, and I know what causes it, but to explain it to the “normals” is as fun as banging one’s head against the wall.
But, for documentation’s sake, and the fact I’ll be meeting with a state “vocational rehabilitation counselor” next Tuesday, I’ll do my best to explain the series of events leading up to incapacitation. (And yes, ‘vocational rehabilitation counselor’ sounds just as convincing as an ultra-conservative Christian anti-gay group’s ‘relationship counselor’. Like how their contingency swears there’s a way to un-gay you, seems the state has a plan to un-disable me. Hmm. Enough digressing.)
Let’s use a simple metaphor: I am a sponge. The moment I exit the Treehouse, I start to absorb my environment; children yelling as they play, chatter between neighbors, what qualifies as music from a passing car. Slightly sogged, I enter my truck and head to whatever venue or errand, and, once there, I absorb more. By the time I get back to the Treehouse, I’m so saturated I have to do things like meditate, turn off all electronics, sit in silent darkness, just to wring out. Sometimes an hour helps, sometimes, I need days. I don’t know what specifically in the environment or of society saturates me, I just know, this is a constant.
On occasion, I’ll cooperate in a local event to get my art out there, put face to written word, pal around with fellow artists. I have to be careful, because the saturation can enter hyper mode: too much face time, too much surrounding dialogue, too many new energies, then I start to feel boggy. Knowing the trend I compensate, one event a month should be enough. Of the calendar month, I need only spend four hours in extreme environmental disarray, a small torture for a fine opportunity.
But, thinking I could handle it, I booked back to back events, causing the inevitable no-one’s-fault-but-my-own consequences. By SunLit Festival’s Lucha Libro, it started: disorientation, inflammation, clammy skin, symptoms very similar to the flu. By the time my poet friend and I met at Galerie 909 the next day, I was feeling hot, dizzy, my joints, burning. That was the last day I was on my feet and lucid.
It got scary there for a bit, so I called my general practitioner, which I knew was a crap shoot. When you don’t have health insurance, doctors don’t necessary come running to assist. I waited two days for his callback, only to hear him say, “Not my area of expertise,” then advised me to call another center. There was a queue for appointments, so I followed the automated instructions, leaving the proper information in voice message form. As of this composition, no one has called to confirm.
“Von, you’re an idiot,” you’re thinking. “Take some pain medication, you’ll be right as rain!” Here’s the problem with that: You know all those side effect warnings they list during an AstraZeneca commercial? I’m the person who experiences each one, in full, vibrant, discombobulating color. Prescription pain medications cannot be an option. Alcohol has to be avoided. Anti-depressants, as I’ve chronicled in earlier posts, interfere with my well-being.
The answer is simply, balance. Do-Be-Do-Be, as Professor Amit Goswami says. The moment I get going I start doing that, “I gotta…I gotta…I gotta…” mantra which slides me way too far from serenity. Only in a serene state can I poet, can I compose, can I enjoy music. I gotta Be just as much as I gotta Do, and, as my crone advises me constantly, “You ain’t gotta Do a damn thing.”
But the normals, they don’t comprehend that. If you’re not out there, if you’re not center stage, if you’re not on the mic, if you’re not coordinating projects, then you’re not working. You’re not contributing. You’re more burden than boon.
What I’ve been trying to advocate with this website and through wordcraft is that the disabled aren’t a burden. We can produce in the capitalistic sense if we are given leeway to create constructively, and that is, in the manner we know is positive for us, as long as what we engage in does not harm others or ourselves.
Despite knowing my limitations, I pushed myself too far, resulting in a very excruciating physical ordeal. A concerned friend sent a text, “Is it depression?” to which I responded, “Depression can’t find a seat at the table right now.” So if anything, let’s post that as a win! I didn’t let my incapacitation drive me into melancholy. I fought, silently, by resting. When my eyes worked, I read. When I could move, I sat in the sunlight. The irony of this beastly affliction: occurring during the first full sunny warm week of Spring in Florida.
I missed listening to the talented David Warner reading, “A Tale of Two Brians” at SunLit Festival’s Fiction Live! I’m so sad about that still, that story, so important and personal to me. But the reactions have been positive, and maybe, crossing fingers, someone liked it so much it’ll be commissioned for further production.
Absurd, isn’t it? I want my art to get out there, but in order for that to happen, I gotta get out there, but my sponginess makes it hard to stay out there, makes it difficult to share my craft.
Let’s see what these rehab folks gotta say about it.