Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SEMI-CHARMED LIFE


My ex-wife once said I lead a charmed life: "You always land on your feet," she declared in a not-entirely admiring tone, and I had to grant her the point. Even as a child I found myself in situations where I was able to exceed expectations, excel. As a journalist I've been given opportunities to learn all three major media — radio, print and television — and I've done OK. A visionary entrepreneur gave me the chance to spend his money and let me create a magazine from scratch. There's even a book from the Pew Center for Civic Journalism that begins with my name. Indeed, that shit is cray.

So yeah, charmed. I accepted those opportunities, not always with the greatest grace. At some point along the way I started believing the hype; I started believing I was entitled to live a charmed life, and anyone who challenged me was either jealous or oblivious. I was the victor with the spoils. I was also spoiled.

Time heals all wounds but it also wounds all heels, Groucho Marx once said. Coming up to the one-month mark since the CVA, I'm starting to see the wisdom in that wordplay. This heel has been humbled. I don't like the wound, but it's long overdue.

So let's call this my semi-charmed chapter of life (and no offense to Third Eye Blind, but I preferred Gin Blossoms for my '90s harmony-drenched pop). Good things still happen, but now they're offset by peculiar (and peculiarly perplexing) challenges.

Example: Strength is returning to my body. I feel it growing, coursing through my limbs. But I still need the goddamned quad cane to really get where I'm going with any speed. It's ugly and I'm acutely aware of this; I sometimes feel like I've got the world's biggest pimple growing out of my forehead.

Example: I have never had more vivid dreams in my life. I wake up and marvel at their intensity. But in almost all of those mental movies I am whole again. It's almost as if my sleeping brain is mocking me.

Example: I am writing again, inspired by a mesmerizing seraph. But it seems my friend Kathryn was correct — Calliope is a most curious creature, an enduring enigma who motivates with mystery. The more I try to figure out what is going on, the more puzzled I become. But then, another twist: trying to figure out what's going on sparks more creativity and curiosity in my brain, which in turn spurs me to write more. So credit-blame-credit Calliope for the gush of words here (and the contorted nature of this paragraph).

The new dichotomy of my life: blessed — but sharply brought to ground. Every time I start to feel optimistic about the future, something shows me I have no business having any shred of hope.

I get a silly smile on my face, only to have it slapped right off.

I wish, but am I just wasting my time?

Semi-charmed, indeed. So why don't I want something else?

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