An ever present reality.

It's not always overwhelming, breath-stealing, and totally crippling. No, with proper administration of pain killers that many deem much too strong, I can keep it at "bay", keep it down to simply, well...

...simply debilitating. Limping, instead of frozen in place. Upright (sometimes), instead of permanently prone. Functioning, of a sort, in a sort of half-capacity, a quarter-capacity, a minuscule sliver of the girl that I once was and the woman that I was supposed to be.

I am desperate. I want to claw my way out of my skin, to burn the empty husk and reinvent myself as the richly experienced nomad of my fondest dreams. To want to do so much, to see so much, to feel and taste and experience so much, yet to be shackled within a defunct and decrepit frame is the keenest torture.

I was going to travel, to taste the foods of different cultures and walk the back alleys and trails and thoroughfares of other peoples and lands. I was going to live in the mountains, to build a log cabin and live off of the land, to work with the Forest Service and pack my way through years and years of paths and backwoods trails. I was going to winter in Alaska, to hike Denali in the summer, and backpack across America to see how far I can get before I want to stop. I was going to learn to massage, to soothe the pain of others and ease their way in the world. I was going to do so much... so much...

This is not to say that my life doesn't have meaning or joy. Perish the thought! But still, if I could... I would shred this creaky, crumbling corpse like so much old paper shot through with mold and age. I would dig my way free of the blank, heavy walls of constant suffering that muffle the sights and sounds of the outside world. I would... I would. If I could.

But I can't. I've tried. I've tried, and received suffering heaped upon suffering for my attempts.

And now? I am broken. I am bowed. I am sure that this is my lot, and I accept it with bent head and a heavy, rebellious heart.

So the days pass... laced with pain... stiff with longing and knotting muscles... dulled by the relentless battering from within my own self.

Does that make me a warrior, to press on when life itself is truly naught but suffering shot through with the occasional joy? I suppose it does. I suppose it takes strength to live the life I do. I suppose I'm a fighter, a warrior, an inspiration or some such.

But I don't feel it. All I feel is pain.

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