I can’t breathe. I should be able to, my allergies aren’t causing wheezing or sneezing. But I can’t breathe. It comes from the heart.
As a professional sick person, I’m aware of the mindset that disease repels. I’m not so sure. I think that disease terrifies people. It scares me and I am a sick person. This is why there are telethons and campaigns for cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and the like. Maybe if we do enough good, the karmatic cycle will remember, and the disease will skip me, we think. But we aren’t all that lucky.
But the most terrifying part of disease is the part where we lose our humanity. I feel subhuman a lot of the time. Almost, but not quite human. The fear and unpredictability of my disease, of any chronic pain disease, eliminates a lot of the basic control we think we should have over our bodies.
In my subhumanity, I find an interesting flaw in myself: I need humans. I need the intimate relationships to ground me. To see me. To remind me that I am human. That I am super- not sub-.
And today I find myself about to lose one of those relationships. And I can’t breathe. It comes from the heart, not the lungs. I can’t breathe.
But if I could, I’m certain I could change the world. Maybe that’s why I can’t: the world isn’t ready.
Or maybe I’m not a phoenix, just a pigeon on fire.
Either way, for now, I’m still here.