Monday I went to the knee doctor. The MRI shows a torn meniscus and other damage that will require surgery to relieve the pain. But the damage was not done when I awkwardly slipped. No, the doctor tells me the knee is wrecked because I walk unevenly on my left foot. The foot that was smashed on that day of violence.
This news has left me somewhat depressed. I had made a commitment this year to face down my demons and finally address those emotional issues that continue to sabotage my well being. But now I realize that it is the physical issues that are going to win. No matter what I do, I will never, ever be rid of this. Every step I take reminds me of that.
I went from the orthopedist to my therapist. I told her I was quitting. This immersion therapy has taken way too big a toll on me. Yes, I now understand why a laundromat spooks me and I have filled in some gaps of time I couldn’t remember before. But what I have remembered is not pretty. I don’t know why it is considered a good idea to rehash and relive the most physically and emotionally painful event of my life. So now my nightmares have more detail. What is the point of that?
Last week while helping a friend clean out her attic, we found some old photos from that time. A photograph of me standing outside a house I moved into, my foot in a cast, leaning on a cane, still battered and bruised. Empty. I do not remember much from this time. But what really struck me is that I do not recognize myself in this picture. I am a stranger. It is a little frightening.
The other night I was watching the news with Peachie. A story about a man accused or convicted of rape - I don’t know. (I can still use those little therapy tricks to put myself on a beach somewhere when I feel the anxiety rising) All I heard was Peachie say “that woman will never be the same again.”
That is the theme that has haunted me all week. I understand that I will never be the same. Physical changes. Emotional changes. Events change people. We all evolve. But I don’t yet understand who I am supposed to be now. I have one foot stuck in the past (literally and figuratively) and one in the present.
Overriding it all is trying to process the unexpected and senseless death of a friend. And all I can think about is how precarious life is. And how I really need to get myself back to the present. Full time. Whenever we would discuss tough decisions or future plans, my friend’s philosophy was always “do what brings you peace.”
So that is now what I am trying to discern. What will bring me peace? I am not sure yet. Will I be okay if I never see Paris? Can I find peace in the present without resolving the guilt and pain of the past? I don’t know. But I do know I can’t stay where I am now.