So excited to have the very talented Jamieson Wolf on my blog today, with his fabulous book of poems, Dancing with the Flame. Now a word from Jamieson about one of my favorite poems…
This year, I forgot an anniversary of sorts.
Every year since 2012, I’ve gotten nervous around New Years Eve. On December 31st, 2012, my life changed forever.
I woke that morning and was groggy and couldn’t really walk very well. I got up to make a cup of coffee to see if that would make me feel better. It didn’t. Instead, I was violently ill. I called in sick to work and lay back down to sleep.
When I woke again, the vertigo was worse. I could barely walk and had no motor control of my body. Somehow, I managed to drag myself to a clinic, leaning against post office boxes and lamp poles to make my way.
They misdiagnosed me with Labyrinthitis and I went home with pills that were supposed to make me better within two weeks. The dizziness, vertigo and nausea got worse and I fell into everything. I was bed ridden for a month. I was later diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Since that time, I’ve worked on getting better. I had to learn to walk again, talk again and even had to learn to type again. I did not want to be bedridden forever.
I was still afraid of New Years Eve, though. I was terrified that I would have a relapse despite everything that I’d been doing to get better. I had changed my diet, taken on an exercise program, quit smoking and taken up walking three times a day.
Still though, there was something about that day. I feared it and didn’t like celebrating what I thought of as the day where my life had changed forever. However, this past year was a year of becoming myself, of choosing to live rather than hide from life.
And you know what? I forgot about my fears about New Years Eve. My old obsessions and worries faded away as I enjoyed time with my partner and his family. I lived instead of hiding. It only occurred to me two days later that I had forgotten my “anniversary”.
Now New Years Eve won’t be something to fear. Instead it will be a celebration of the day where I started becoming myself and who I was meant to be.
What I Had Become
When the New Year began,
I looked into the mirror.
I saw a reflection of myself
from long ago. I was
lying on a bed, weak,
my whole world changed.
I watched as my reflection
lifted a hand and beckoned to me.
I touched a hand to the glass
and it was as if
there was no glass there.
The veil between the present
and the past was thin.
I stepped through the mirror
and found myself in a place
that I remembered but fought
so hard to forget.
It was dark and there was only
one small light in the room.
Even so, by that light I saw
who I used to be lying
on the bed, my past self,
my other self. He regarded me,
and I looked at him.
I remembered that day,
how the night before the New Year
my life had changed forever,
never to be the same again.
I knew just how he was feeling
as I had been him, he had been me.
He was weak and disoriented,
unable to walk very well at all,
his whole world seeming to
move around him, unable to keep still.
He regarded me with tired eyes,
the fear in them so total.
He knew that something was wrong.
“You forgot about me.”
“You forgot our anniversary.”
It was true. I had forgotten.
Every year since that day,
I always wondered if this
would be the year that it happened,
the year where I lost control
of my body once more.
For a while, I lived in fear
of December 31st, of who I had been
and of what I had become on that day.
“I did forget. I did forget you.”
“Because I left you behind. Because I’m so much stronger now. So much happier.”
He regarded me with a blank expression,
the fear increasing in his eyes until
they were full of tears.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m so afraid.”
I said kindly.
I sat on the bed beside him and took his hand
in my own. It was cool and sweaty and
I remembered how warm I’d been,
how nothing had felt right,
and how my own body had turned against me.
“You’ll have to be strong,”
“There is a lot more pain coming, but you’ll have to be stronger than you’ve ever been. Can you do that for me?”
“I don’t know how.”
“You don’t, but you’ll learn. There will come a moment when you’ll want to quit, where you’ll want to give up and head towards the darkness. But I promise you, good times are coming.”
He looked at me with such
an open expression, one of yearning
for something better. I remembered
wearing that look, wishing and hoping
so fiercely that it was painful.
I heard my partner calling me from
the other side of the mirror,
his deep voice making the liquid glass
move in ripples. I took one last look
at who I used to be and patted his hand,
leaned forward to kiss him on the forehead.
“I have to go now.”
“I know you do. Don’t forget me, okay?”
“I won’t, I promise.”
With that, I stood and moved towards the glass.
When I stepped through the glass,
I left behind what I had been
and into what I had
You can buy a copy of Dancing with the Flame in ebook or paperback here: