Started off going to the geneticist, who sent me to the orthopedist, who sent me to the physical therapist, and each of them noted my hypermobility and said variations on the same thing: "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."
So a big part of my year so far has been re-learning movement. Just because I can wrap my foot around the opposite ankle when my legs are crossed doesn't mean I should. Just because I can pop my hip out, hyperextend my elbow, et cetera - and most of these have become my body's natural movements and positions, because I find pressure and constriction comforting. So wrapping my legs together like that, pulling my body into positions that aren't the best for me - these are comfort things. I have had to be aware of how I'm sitting, standing, walking, every time. Every minute. I have been learning how to stop before I hurt myself.
The problem, of course, is that there's a lack of immediate feedback. I don't know at the time that I'm hurting my body. That shows up later, in ways that seem unrelated. I had not been pushing my body To The Pain. I had been following my reflexes, and the pain came later.
So. Learning how far is too far.
I started to write a novel this year. It's a damn good novel. A thriller. I'd talked it out with Michael last year (mostly his end was the "yes, and" of improv). In the wake of that broken relationship, I said fuck everything, I'm writing this.
And I did. I got to the critical tricky halfway point, I pivoted the book -
And I stopped.
Like I've said, this year has themes, and one of them has been that I want to make choices instead of just react. I want to take the time to think things through and do what's best for me. I want to be my best self. I want to aim higher, to make sure my choices are in line with the person I am and the person I want to be. asim asked me about that early on, and the first answer I had was "I want to choose kindness."
A friend posted elsenet recently about our lives showing the stories we tell about ourselves. This is a thing I've been thinking of, too. What is the story of you?
And in this sense, relationships are collaborative stories.
The story of me and Michael established itself early, and it wasn't a healthy one. There are streaks of it through this novel like streaks of infection. The me I was with him was not a healthy me. I... can talk about that forever, but now's not the time.
The first thing ashlyme told me about myself - because sometimes you need to put down the mirror, let someone describe you to yourself, because you don't see you clearly anymore, you don't know what you look like from the outside - the first thing he told me about myself was that I was brave.
Brave. Kind. Whimsical. Joyful.
I had forgotten so many of these things last year. They're still me. They're still there.
I wanted to finish the novel because I wanted to finish a novel. I never have, and I want to develop a habit of completion.
But where I am, in the back half of the novel, is in a place I don't want to be.
It's a damn good novel. But it's mean.
And I don't want to be mean.
Just because I can write this novel doesn't mean I should.
I've dissected it way more than that, of course. Buy me a drink at Wiscon and I'll tell you all about it. I fussed about this decision for weeks. And I've decided to set it down for now. (Since doing so, I've also realized how I can make it even better when I come back to it.)
What is the story of me?
What is the story of me + Elayna, me + Adam, me + Mat? What is the story of how I choose to move through the world? I've been figuring out what's best for my body. What's best for my mind? What's best for my heart?
As Mat and I have been talking, we've been sharing all our stories. Our life stories, yes, but also our fiction. And the thing I keep coming back to, with him, is Cicatrix.
I set it aside for a good reason. It's a book about recovery from sexual violence, and I had just been raped.
I dropped it like a hot potato for a bad reason, too. I did, fragile and trying, write one chapter of it post-Judah. Which I showed to Michael. Who eviscerated it. "People don't talk like that," he said regarding the stylized dialogue that dovetailed with the stylized text as a whole. And I stopped. Because there was no other way to write it, and therefore it was, if wrong, unfixable.
In the almost-year since, I have seen huge fanbases pop up for work in which characters damn well do talk like that. True Detective. Hannibal. Among others.
And, holding my breath, I sent it to Mat. After realizing that yes, people do talk like that - Mat and I talk like that. I sent it to him after phrases in that very conversation popped up in our conversations. From him.
Well, he thinks it works. And so do I.
What's the story of me? What is that story I need? What is the story that I need to tell?
The story of fighting one's way back to the light. Of choosing the light.
So yeah. I'm ready to go back to Cicatrix.
I'm working on some short fiction first, when I have time. (And with Elayna home, what I need more than anything is time. Anyone know of free secluded office space I can use?) Some really interesting stuff is coming out there, too.
So that's where the writing is. There are new poems, too. And three stories coming out of me simultaneously. And so much of the healing process of Cicatrix whispering around the edges.
This is good.