NaNoWriMo: Day 13

About a year ago, as I was finishing up my thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing, I had a stroke. A small thalamic stroke, they called it. It happened on the day my thesis was due; I think I’d just emailed it when I noticed I was feeling numb on the left side of my body.  When I say numb, I don’t mean to the core.  It was just my skin that was affected by a tiny pinhole of a stroke in the region of my brain that controls the sense of touch.


Is it coincidental that something erupted in my brain when I was writing about being molested as a kid?  I think there’s a connection:  my body finally said enough of this bullshit.  After two years of dredging up childhood abuse, it was just time to stop.   And so I have, for over a year.  I was afraid of causing another stroke if I went back to revise, even if I was balancing it out with all the good in my life.  The brain is the one thing in my body that I don’t have a handle on –a stroke isn’t like getting period cramps or even a headache.  That sucker hits you with no warning, not even a pop to let you know a blood vessel’s awry.

I have two symptoms that remind me of the stroke:  the ball of my left foot feels like it’s asleep, and the left side of my gut has what feels like a brick in it.  That brick is my barometer for stress.  Most days it’s a faint sensation, but when I’m feeling any kind of stress, the heavy feeling comes back full force.


I’m a little jittery about writing. I wonder if I can trick my brain into thinking I’m writing about someone else, or if I can pull back enough to be able to view events from a distance—and it is a distance, of years.  Writing it, though, makes it immediate.  I have no trick for creating psychic space, but I’m hoping that this year off has worked some time-magic and I’ll find the psychic safety net is already there.
Here’s to the brick in my gut.

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