Tattering

My body is in a state of emergency repairs, it seems. Every limb is chafed and I have a huge black bruise in my side. My bottom lip is cut and swollen and dirt is gathering in the marks in my hands.
I took not 1, not 2, but 3 nosedives in 3 days. 2 involved my bike and the last one, 1m-high scaffolding. It’s better now but the day before yesterday, I couldn’t lift anything without bad pains in my elbows, which took the brunt of my last fall. The only thing more damaged, besides my ego, is my self-confidence: I’m being a lot more careful now. I hope that goes away quickly.

Such a tough guy, aren’t I. I have today off after a late shift yesterday, but I’m going right back at it 3.30am tomorrow. Yes, a few body parts still hurt when I look at them but nothing I can’t bite back. They will heal, right? A body heals.

When I was a kid, I seem to have picked up somewhere that a human body stays largely the same as it ages. Sure, you grow and adapt, but every function should stay in top working condition, all through the end. Because if something gets permanently damaged, you can’t fix it like you fix a car. There’s no spare parts to patch us up, so even the slightest damage will eventually accumulate to become a serious problem. We’ll become pretty much worthless, worn, unserviceable machines with a human mind inside. The thought scared me.

I was watching a group of people play a game of D&D-style role-playing game a few months ago. One guy’s character was a huge, tanky woman with a heart of gold and shit for brains. He did so quite well, even, until some animal jumped her and crushed her arm. They had to amputate.
At this point I would have gone, “Well damn this character is now useless, let’s kill/desert her and move on.” You can do that because it’s a fictional character, not an actual human being.
But he stuck with her for some reason. She got torn to shreds not much later, but the point is, he stuck with her.

He agreed that his character was now crippled, but he felt it didn’t mean the game was less fun for him. If anything, it was more so, because it added personality and background. Never before had I thought of it that way.

I am losing my hearing. My left ear especially, I suspect that is because I turn my left side to the steel I’m hammering, since I am right-handed. The difference with my right ear is scary, especially when I cover one side. All the high tones are gone, the frequencies you need to understand speech in a noisy environment.
When I look at my hands, they are covered in scars. Especially my left: From my soldering iron, from frayed steel cables, from a medical procedure I am uncomfortable talking about. Even my palms are marked.
The ligaments in my right ankle are pretty much gone, I had to wear a cast 3 times already after twisting it badly. I am forced to wear boots, or I will twist my ankle at random walking through town.

I have a few more of these that I am, again, uncomfortable talking about. Bottom line is, that at this rate, I am aging rapidly. People still estimate me younger than I am, but compared to most people my age, it seems my body took quite a bit more punishment.
It is approaching the point that I will no longer be able to do certain things (like be a sound tech) because of the way I’ve been living. I am on the verge of losing functions, and I am split between the terrifying idea that I will eventually grind to a halt, and the understanding that it doesn’t mean my life is less valuable.

Realizing full well the blatant disrespect for the disabled: I just don’t care about value. I want to stay young, functioning, in mint condition. I find immense satisfaction in the taxing things I do when not behind a computer, I would miss it so terribly if I am forced to stop. The things that I do define me on a very fundamental level and I would be lost.

We are all humans and we are all perfectly equally relevant. But somewhere lodged in my mind, is the disgusting conviction that with every scar, with every bang on black steel, with every chipped tooth, I become less human. Where I got this from, or whether I am the only one, I don’t know. But this ageing thing is pretty much inevitable so I better learn to get over it, lest I go insane in a dysfunctional body, having forgotten what I have rather than lost.

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