Yesterday I swam. It was the first time since December. It felt good. I was not strong. But I had form. I wobbled only a little. My goggles did not leak. The pool is short. It is kidney-shaped.
Yesterday also I had my first proton beam radiation treatment at Loma Linda University Medical Center. I'd love to tell you more about it -- perhaps in a second post.
Today I filed my Since You Asked column just like in the old days. So bit by bit I am becoming who I was, though deeply changed. How have I changed? I think I'm less of an asshole. It's not that I have been a towering asshole previously. Not towering. But inward: plagued, grinding, feverish with demands, an ogre to myself for not accomplishing, beaten by deadlines of my own device, ungraceful toward myself in a way that, say I were to regard myself as only the steward of myself, not the owner, I would never be, no more so than I would treat an animal the way I treat myself, with such impatience and misunderstanding.
So I am giving myself a break. I am giving myself the kind of break that a real asshole does not give himself. And it is being ill that has done this. Being ill has done this, has broken my shell so light can come through, has broken the sinews of my obsessive armor, my hard, crude drive to race and excel and tower over the world.
I'm just kinda relaxed is what I'm saying. Life goes on, I'm lucky to be alive, the moment is good and kind.
I got up early and read through the letters. I was outraged by one -- the one from the mom whose son is a pothead. It pulled me in. That's how it works. I go into the letters like a gardener going into a garden. I muck around. I wait until something pricks me, or some scent sends me, or some sight lifts me up or shuts me down or hurts me or fills me with light. I kick the dirt and get down on my knees. I commune.
That is what I do: I commune. I commune with the human hurts that come through the e-mail. I look for the common thing: in this case, potheads and what happens to us.