This is not the underworld, I'm not Sisyphus, and I'm not Atlas. (I'm a consumer living in a 1st-world nation.) Each of these is a metaphor for a holding pattern from which few escape. The truth, ostensibly, is that a great many holding patterns are commonly of our own making. It's not guaranteed, of course; a cigar is often a cigar, and a cell is often a cell. Nonetheless, I'm happy to report that my written flair for the dramatic still shares much with the desert rose; a dry, cheap, and easily-cultivated bloom against a stark contrast of otherwise muted appropriateness.
It's rather shocking to look back at the optimism and belief I had in the past.
I never had a simple view of the universe. Science remains ever-present at the forefront of my belief, but I've always assumed there was more to the story - and I still do, just not in the conventionally-accepted religious sense. I've known for a long time that I know not what that story is, and may not ever know, and must be okay with that; but I've recently been given insight into many other parts of my life that I had never thought I'd be able to see. So many, in fact that I wonder if my other questions have been answered after all; as if here and now, the veil was only partially lifted, and yet I still received more of a glimpse than was intended.
Due to my age, and other unfortunate shortcomings that have been brought to my attention somewhat latterly, I believe my next logical move is to make peace with who I thought I could be, and who I thought I would become; he must be laid to rest, along with the other relics of possibilities that might never be. All that remains must keep on moving (not the phoenix nor the zombie, but animated all the same).
I don't have unrealistic expectations of myself; those were stripped a long time ago (from carving or kindling I do not know), and once upon a time, I wondered why. I now know how. It seems almost cruelly-unfair, but in the end I am a better person, even as I rage against the bars of my own diffidence and now corporeal frailty, and at the still-wondrously powerful freedom of action and agency that so many others enjoy unknowingly and effortlessly. (But how can I be angry, when I know I live so well?)
The diagnosis of a physically painful variant of an already-unpleasant genetic disease and the complications that follow it is not a concept one can easily gift-wrap, but for me, everything finally snapped together into a cohesive picture, with only the last few pieces missing. (Specifically, a cure. Did I mention this hurts?) My view of the world hasn't changed. In fact, my view of the people in it has been vindicated, but I know not for better or worse. My view of myself has changed considerably, but if you know me, that's probably expected.
In this past year, I have seen many of these changes and vindications. I have burdened physical torment, the likes of which I didn't know I was capable of bearing. I have held shame and embarrassment, the likes of which I didn't know I was capable of shouldering. I have seen people change from afar and up-close. I have seen good people go crazy -- young, middle-aged, and old. (But were the seeds of insanity always there, only to bloom after years of cultivation?) I have seen crazy people take hard-earned steps to end their insanity. I have seen jerks become friendly and samaritans become idiots. I have seen myself take steps in a direction toward which I have until late, remained oblivious, but that's often the nature of the future. So many questions have been answered. Those few people who have stuck with me are now worth far more than I ever imagined. It seems like we're in the final act, even though statistically, we're not even halfway through. Anything more is a bonus, if you can still call it that.
Even if it turns out that things are okay, that tomorrow will be a better day, I will stand over the same precipice I did the day before. Something has to change. I have to change. Will I get a say, or has the choice been made for me?