Sometimes, my mind wanders away from my body.

It isn’t daydreaming. It is an act of disconnection.

I excise the part of me that knows all the words to every song by The Spill Canvas, that churns out copy and concept for eight hours a day, that suffocates in polluting brain fog. I mold it into the curve of a boomerang and throw it out to sea, relieved to see it disappear from sight.

Inside of me, that part gets lost, its voice drowned out by the sensations of living. It can barely breathe.

In the examination room, the doctor whispers, “You’re too young to be dealing with this.” Does he say it to me, to my friend from high school with JRA, to my coworker with cancer, to my cousin who is five years younger than me and has had more diagnoses than most geriatric patients?

Does he have a button he can press, a kind of automatic response, so he doesn’t have to feel it every time?

I convince myself that at least if my thoughts can be free of the cycle – flare, remission, repeat – maybe it will outlive the body that is destined to fail. Maybe it won’t be too scarred to function properly. Maybe I will be able to make something again, even if it’s small, even if it’s just a few words on a computer screen.

In the meantime, I’m getting to know the shell that’s cracking in two.

Once upon a time, I hid inside my head, afraid to know what this or that symptom meant. Now I live just below the surface of my skin, humming along aching limbs, locating and naming and claiming the hurt.

It exists. It is real.

It is mine to manage and explore and allay.

And when I am well enough, I will return to the shore and wait for the rest of me to come back into view.

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