Confessions of an Adrenaline Junkie
One of the hardest things dealing with long term health conditions, is accepting and understanding that this is something that is not going to ‘totally-heal’. Whatever that means. It is part of my life and I have to learn to live with it but not let it rule me. I need to learn to manage and not wait for that elusive day when ‘it’ll all be back to normal’. That day won’t come. Sometimes you have to know when it’s time to SUCK IT UP. This is one of those times. These health challenges are part of me, but do not need to define me.
My problem or perhaps my blessing, depending on how you see it is that in my mind I am an adrenaline junkie. I LOVE (in capitals) extreme sports. I can watch Surfers and Snowboarders for hours. I love climbing, I love Kites so big they can carry you around the world. I love watching humanity pushing themselves against Gaia, working with her. It takes my breath away. I love sand in my toes and salt-stiffened hair dreaded by cold wind.
I love the simplicity in these sports, the way they all force you to be in the moment. I am so deeply Pisces, maybe in a past life I was a Cetacean. Huge Ocean swells and wild winds call to me. When I look out of the window and see trees leaning over in the wind, the hairs on the back of my neck prickle up and I can’t wait to get out into the elements.
This is all at odds with reality. I really feel the cold, I’m actually very fearful, I’m not especially good at any of these sports. I am downright terrified on Snow! I hate the competitive-too-cool-for-school attitude that is so dominant on the slopes. As I’ve got older, I’ve definitely developed some Vertigo too. Last year on my probably-all-time-happiest-holiday-in-Europe in Sardinia, I actually had to be helped/pushed/cajoled down from an oversized rock…! Hardly the extreme sportswoman of my dreams! But despite all this in my mind I’m a barrel-sliding-rock-jumping-mountain-climbing-adrenaline-seeker.
I think it’s great that I have this Schizophrenic image of myself! It is my dream to make at least some of it a reality. Some of it already is. I am brave, I suspect actually braver than a lot of the people in surf pictures. I might not slide into Giant Barrels and stare down a mountain abyss. But I have stared into strangers eyes and not known my own name (and not because I was intoxicated), I have been next to someone I love and been unable to reach out and touch them. I have known when to ask for help. I am no less a rider, no less a surfer. It’s just that the waves and couloir’s Gaia sends to me are currently a bit different to other peoples.
Learning your name
It has taken a long time to learn your name.
You stick in my throat and close up my airways,
You wake me at night, screeching through my veins,
You curl soft fingers into fists,
Pound the blood into my head so fast I can’t hear or think, feel or move,
You turn the world red and black and strike across my sky.
I met you first when I was so new and fresh I could hardly see
Which way was up and which was down I didn’t know
I knew you were wrong. Something not OK.
I knew you couldn’t be let out.
You scared me. I saw you spill over,
A broken plate, a slammed door,
Your forked tail whipping past, just out of sight,
I saw your shadow on the stairs,
At the foot of the bed and in the window.
Your artillery astounded me.
Shells and rockets, short and long range weapons,
Bombs and bangs. Knives and cut glass.
I built defences as best I could…
You always had more…
You came for me on high days and holidays
You came for me on memory-makers, remember-forevers and hold-in-hearters,
You clawed out my eyes and scorched my soul.
Your tears left acid on my cheeks
The plate you broke lodged in my throat for eternity
Every ragged breath a reminder of your victory
Porcelain crumbs and door splinters swept up by others,
Decorate my lungs,
A shattered butter-dish sits over my heart
And a bent doorknob’s burnt into my skin
I looked for you, I did.
Under rocks, with tooth and nail
I searched, in nooks and crannies
Till my sweat poured and blood flowed.
Till I looked in the eyes of Agony and finally, finally, I saw you.
You are Anger.
That is all. Now I know your name.
I’ve seen where you hide and what you do,
I know your secrets.
I know how you can split yourself into pieces buried so deep, no spade can reach you,
I know what can.
Now I know your name, I can look you in the face.
Now I know your name, I can begin again.