"...without my wounds, who was i..."


line from a book i'm reading. rereading, actually. i read all
the time. you can only watch "Sid And Nancy" so many times in a
week before you start to feel as if your head will explode.

so without my wounds, who am i? it's a powerful question.
without my tattered past, my broken relationships, my dim
terror, my slashed and wrecked dreams, just who is denise ann
lemon knapp?

such a powerful thought, it frightens me. without a past i'm like
everyone else, or as i imagine everyone else to be. i imagine other
people safe and whole, though experience and common sense tells
me we are all broken in places no one sees if we're lucky. but if i could
imagine myself safe and whole, i'd be the person i'm starting to be now. someone
who thinks before taking action, before speaking.
someone who weighs the consequences of choice and makes logical,
planned decisions. saying this or that could lead to this thing or that
perception. is that the view of me i want them to have? doing this or that thing
could lead to these outcomes. are they livable? could i live with the choice,
or would i find myself staring out the living room window watching the sky cry
acid tears for me?

i've tried to fool myself, just to see if i could still do it. it's harder to
maintain the illusion of ignorance when you've lived 43 years. the people i take
care of at the hospital suffer cancer, strokes, old age mostly without grace,
though i'm privileged to share some fine moments in their lives. mostly those
moments come from the families who sit beside the beds, watching television,
reading, sometimes just staring into space. sometimes i can feel the rush of
their thoughts, or i tell myself i do. sometimes the pain they feel at the
suffering of their loved one stains the air in an almost visible way. deep and
angry red hovers above the beds. gray impatience, mauve hope, once in a very
great while white fills the room and i feel something greater than all of us.
something infinitely kind and almost unbearably loving and patient. not often.
more often it's the color of greed or the stench of despair.

but who am i without my wounds? am i this or that? one way and not the other?
i'm finding out slowly as i create the vision of the rest of my life. the quiet
rooms filled with books and soft music. candle light on warm painted walls.
clean you can touch and smell. nothing, or not too much hidden from view; just
casual, safe secrets. nothing violent or abusive, no harsh, ugly raised voices
imposing another, different reality on my personal space. safety, or the
illusion of safe. an order and rhythm to the minutes that i weave for myself
into my present.

without my wounds i am just this. whole where i used to be fragmented, sound
where i used to be off balance. i know the pattern of my life too well to
deceive myself into believing it will always be like this, but i enjoy the
moment in which i find myself serene and at peace with my unseemly past. it is
past. it may have defined me at the time i was in it, but i am beyond it now. i
just kept walking when i could find my feet, crawling when i couldn't get back
up. moving forward into the life i am meant to live. i like that. the scars
healed, covered with shiny new skin. whole.



| home | back | next | words |