Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Enforced Creativity

I remember so many random facts and incidents from my life and others’ which I’d witnessed or heard of.. It seems such a waste if I just kept them in a vault in my head. I shall post them on here and hope that, one day, I would be able to organise them and give them some semblance.. Perhaps I’ll even sketch a faint pattern of my thoughts.. What do I most think about? Whatever it is, I’m making it my aim to write about it here..

When I was 15, I was aimlessly staring at one of the mismatching bookcases that adorned our living room.. My eyes were drawn to a book in the lower shelves.. I knelt and tilted my head to the right so I could make out what it was that was tugging at my eyesight.. The cover was a 1950s shade of green.. It was a dense hardback that looked and felt like it had been read a lot.. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963 by Sylvia Plath. The name sounded familiar.. I would not go so far as to say that it was an epiphany, but something came on to me and I wouldn’t put the book down. I sat on the sofa and proceeded to read.. As I found out about the author, it dawned on me that a poem of hers, Mirror, is included in the poetry anthology I was studying in English.. I was touched by her sincerity and vulnerability, though I don’t think she was conventionally vulnerable.. She wasn’t at risk of some external danger. Her world, like mine, seemed dotted with signposts, all directing her towards an impenetrable dead-end. My posthumous crush’s style was spellbinding.. I would pause and sigh at the improbability of my ever possessing skill and spirit like she did.. The authorial voice, a literary term I would later learn, was unapologetic but equally unnerved.. Her vulnerability wasn’t weakness, it was self-doubt. The question of whether or not her talent was real busied her already ceaseless mind and it pushed her senses to the precipice and, eventually, off it.

What triggered this impromptu mini essay is that in one of the letters ‘Sivvy’ wrote to her mother, she mentioned with some fervour that she would polish her work by writing 1500 words a day.. Maybe this is the kind of regime I should enforce to yield more writing.. The experience of living shouldn’t have to end before it is documented.. The more I write now, the more I can capture.. It would bring me endless satisfaction and, with some luck, it wouldn’t cost me my dear followers.. Even if it did, at least I’d have written instead of just wanting to write..

Although this post comes up to merely a third of my target word count, it’s a start. With time, my writings shall be more regular, extensive and generally better, I would hope.

Friday, 13 September 2013

A day from your adulthood..

My life changed on January 14th 2007. Months later, and days before my 19th birthday, my friend and namesake accompanied me to a hospital appointment during which I were to be given the final word on the tests I’d had over the previous number of months.
As we sat in front of the bald, bespectacled doctor whilst he shuffled through a thick file that contained my medical history, I looked at Mehdi and gave an awkward, expectant smile.

"All the tests have confirmed what we’d been expecting, I’m afraid."

He turned his computer monitor towards us and pointed to a picture of me that I’d never seen before.

"You can see that there are lesions here, here and here."

 As he said this, I was momentarily distracted by curiosity. My brain looks like this? And it has lesions? What the hell are lesions anyways?

 "I’m sorry to have to inform you that you have Multiple Sclerosis.”

 As though he’d rehearsed what he would do next, Mehdi grinned, shook my hand and said: "Congratulations, Mehdi.. you have an official illness!”
 We both chuckled and looked at the doctor who appeared to be slightly puzzled by our less-than-horrified reaction to the life-changing news he’d imparted.

 I had been expecting the diagnosis to be exactly what it was. Within minutes of being seen by the neurologist who first examined me almost five months prior to that day, I was informed that my symptoms are very similar to those of MS sufferers. I wasn’t shocked or upset. It was just a truth I had to come to terms with.

Though it has been almost seven years since I was diagnosed, sometimes I forget that I have a disease that’s slowly and unpredictably gnawing at my central nervous system. It has taken a significant yet hard-to-detect toll on my physical and mental abilities. I find it difficult to process slabs of information the way most people do without even trying. My brain’s wiring has been mixed up a little and I find myself pronouncing a sentence differently to how I had planned to. Eventhough the onlooker may fail to spot such linguistic lapses, I always do. If it upsets me, I pick myself up and plough on. I have no choice but to.

 Ever since I felt the very first symptoms -tingling/numbness from my chest all the way down to my toes; reduced balance, as well as a host of other strange and sporadic episodes- I’ve tried to remind myself of the importance of appreciating what I have. I had never envied the effortlessness with which people walk until I found it to be slightly -at times extremely- laborious to do so. I’ve had to adapt to living life whilst carrying a hidden hindrance that hardly anyone seems capable of understanding. 

I’m not bitter. I don’t feel like I’ve been unfairly treated by God. I don’t wish I had it any differently. In fact, I’m deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to get a fleeting glimpse of what life is really about. Disheartening though they can be, my countless hospital visits serve to remind me of the futility of materialistic possessions and wafer-thin ambitions. I stopped dreaming of cars, careers and a high credit rating, and have opted to pursue personal peace, happiness and fulfillment instead.

 My life changed on January 14th 2007.. for the better..