I Erode: Looking Back

I Erode 2017 (from Temporal Dichotomy)

The following was written in 2021 and shared in a more private space, as I wasn’t talking much about my health struggles publicly then. But, as we get closer to a diagnosis, i’ve been going through a lot of things I said before when words were easier and taking moments to re-examine past works and accomplishments.

I made this piece a few years ago, but it hit me hard today when I came across it.

I feel like over the past years (especially the past 5) so many pieces of me have slipped loose and washed away. My brain doesn’t feel like my brain anymore; though, I can’t even at this moment remember what my brain used to feel like.

I keep adapting backwards and have reached a point where l’m not sure how to make realistic goals anymore.

For five years now, I have struggled with chronic progressive neurological symptoms. The first 3 and half of those years were spent being sent back and forth between specialists and neurologists writing off my symptoms as soon as I saw they saw that I have PTSD.

Ilove words. I have always loved having just the right word for something. Several different people have given me the nickname “Dictionary”.

Now, my aphasia and productive speech issues have me lost mid-sentence or blurting out a word

that wasn’t the one I intended or there is just a blank space where my word should be.

I’m an artist and illustrator. But the tremors have gotten so bad that I am rarely able to make work.

Muscle weakness and discoordination have made walking trails and even museums a rare indulgence with at least a full day of recovery time.

More and more I have no idea how to respond or answer questions.

Playing piano “fluently” is nearly impossible.

And now losing sensation in part of my abdominal muscles and balance issues mean dance and dance warmups (for exercise) are potentially dangerous.

I get lost in activites and days and forget the context.

I feel like Schröedinger’s Mickey. I am both Mickey and not Mickey. And I’m afraid to open the box and find out too much of *me* has gone to really be *me* anymore.

The me that cultivated meaning after trauma by working to help others.

The me that survived stage 4 liver failure and a metabolic coma and fought for sobriety.

The me that would hide behind my daddy’s leg in the supermarket because it was too *everything* in there.

The me who danced and sang and taught art to children.

The me who had friends.

I’m most scared of losing the me who birthed two amazing humans and the me who gets to cuddle with them and listen to their beautiful thoughts, and even clean their earwax.

I no longer am certain *who* I will be in a month or 6 months; what other pieces might disolve away.

For now…l am.