There are so many thoughts in my head right now that I barely know where to start. From the beginning does not suffice because there was no beginning. There is always pre-history. Information to be had to explain the story. The reason behind why you cannot sleep at night even when you know everything is fine. An explanation for why the digital surround sound in the next apartment is emitting high volume dinosaur noises (no shit) at two in the morning when the occupant is a GW student in between semesters and should be partying.
Why are we the way we are? What is the psychology, the history, the sociology, the physiology, the philosophy, and for some of us, the theology? We never know the answer to our own questions. We are three people: that whom others see us, that whom we see ourselves as, and that which we truly are. The bridges can never be gapped and therefore we remain clueless as to our own purposes. Every time we think we know, we are wrong.
I spent years trying to explain to people that \”This is not who I really am, honest,\” but what they saw was what I was exhibiting. With the facts known then and the facts known now, two different people emerge. Two different stories. As more details come out, as more is realized, recognized, prioritized and treated, the more the mystery unravels. But how do you explain a mystery to people who thought they were watching a drama? How do you make folks realize that all that time you really were onto something when you spoke the truth? In the Greek myths, Cassandra spoke the truth and none believed her. Tragedy prevailed and she was ultimately raped and murdered. But this is not a docu-drama, and this is not myth, nor history. Though my name may have meaning and has been true to my life thus far, my ultimate fate need not be the same.
After all, what sickness of the body does not also in some way eventually effect the mind, and vice versa? Who is to say which truly comes first? In the past few years, I have struggled to understand the truth myself, and then to educate those around me. Those new to my life believe easier than those who knew me in the past, and yet, was it not worth it? Time will tell. Now, a year and a half after being presented with a revelation seven years in the waiting, I struggle to do what most people my age do: establish my identity. Who am I? I am more than my relationships, more than my labels, more than my diagnosies, more than my name. After a while, the lines between doctor and patient, the past and the present, start to blur.
Having spent this past week beseiged by severe bronchitis and strep throat, not sleeping fitfully and thus physically relapsing in every way possible, I find myself doing what I have done with every relapse over the past year: questioning. How did I spend so long like this? Untreated for seven years with constant flare ups. Three months straight with what started in September of 2000 as a sinus infection and quickly escalated into two months of untreated pink eye, ear infections, bronchitis, strep throat, double lung pneumonia, a bacterial blood infection that set into my kidneys and liver and finally ended in December with me being hospitalized. How did I manage to survive like that for three months, and is it any wonder that at the end of those three months I suffered a complete emotional and mental breakdown, became violent and started hallucinating? I was living in a house that was, quite literally, killing me, and may have succeeded had my ex-boyfriend not made a critical call to my parents. That night, in the middle of a nor\’easter, I left Pittsburgh on the 5am bus to D.C. Nothing has been the same since, and nothing ever will. But now, with my body feeling the way it was then, it is coming back to me in disturbing ways.
I am full of snot. I am a running mucuous factory, except I am sedentary and producing. I am full of antibiotics, cough expectorant, guifenesan, nasal decongestants, menthol throat lozenges, plus my regular daily regimine of a twelve pill pharmacological cocktail. Despite having taken my Valium, I cannot sleep. First, the noise from the next apartment. Jurassic Park III? Then, the remaining unadopted rats in their cages a few feet away. The boyfriend next to me in bed, snoring. I attempt to straighten out on my back, and my nose stuffs up and turns dry. When stretched on my stomach, I drown in the contents of my nose. My ribs are sore and swollen from coughing and infection, which rules out lying on my sides. I cough. I sneeze. I hurt. I cannot breathe. I feel that if there is a hell, this is what it must be like: watching the one you love sleep soundly next to you while you lie awake in physically tortured agony which prevents you from reaching that blissfully delicate blackness of sleep. I yearn, I pine, and smack the boyfriend, the walls, and the lids of the rat\’s cages, but stillness is never in this apartment. Like the current state of my body, this place does not rest, and therefore, neither does my mind.
Exactly how important is history? Perspective? The understanding of your situation by other people? To each of us, we answer different things. We all have our different reasons, and they are all shaped by our history, our perspective, and our current understanding of our own situations. I really have no idea who you are — any of you — and I never will. I do not really know who I am other than that no one else knows either, but I know that I am determind to make as many people as I come across in my life try. History is written by the perspective of the winners, the ones in power, and that ends up being the history that people know and remember until someone more knowledgeable can discredit it. No one can write your true history but yourself. For once, I realize that, and I realize that we are all in the unique position to tell our own unique versions of history. And so I feel that it is time that Cassandra got her due, and stopped being remembered as a tragic woman with a tragic story. A woman who saw the truth, spoke the truth, and was not believed. A woman who died needlessly, only to be remembered as a tragic prophet. This time, Cassandra will not only be believed, but she will put an end to the misery she foresaw around her, and she will live to tell the tale. Because, after all, fuck that Greek myth — my ethnic background is Polish.
That is the start of my new year\’s resolution, among other things. I managed to fulfill this past year\’s. I will do it again this year. But first, I need some goddamn sleep.