It’s not easy, some days are better than others, but I don’t remember a time when I was without some degree of pain. Not the day to day mundane aches and twinges associated with growing older, not the general wear and tear that forty plus years puts on a body, but the pain of injury, of disease, of things going wrong in significant ways. I guess the fact that they are all to a greater or lesser extent self inflicted makes a difference in terms of how I feel about them. Each pain comes with a story, a narrative that arcs through my life from incident to incident, the degree of risk and foolishness of the incident and the severity of the resulting injury adding colour to an otherwise unremarkable life. At least to me, but I’m very aware that other people find me fascinating. I can’t help that. I try to be reserved, to blend in, to fit within the confines of the wider society, but if you set out from an early age to experience more than those around you, if you go out of your way to push yourself, to discover yourself through experiment and endeavour, then you are bound to stand out to some degree, no matter how hard you try not to. I knew that I was being watched for quite a while. Little clues, hints, the people who had started following my online presence. The approaches I received when out and about, the people who seemed to want to spend time around me. I put a lot of those feelings down to paranoia, not surprising given where my hobbies were taking me. I was doing a lot of reading and writing about some fairly dark activities carried out during the post War and cold war periods, highly questionable acts performed in the name of national security. I guess it was inevitable that thinking about the nefarious activities of those in charge would heighten my awareness of a perceived threat to my own wellbeing.
The pain helps in some ways, it keeps me grounded, reminding me that this is real, that I haven’t fallen down some rabbit hole into a parallel set of dimensions, an alternative reality in which nothing is as it seems and nothing can be trusted. As long as the pain is constant and unchanging I know that it isn’t all just in my head, that I really am on the right track, even if that track goes to some pretty scary places….
The journey branches endlessly, fibonacci would question his mathematics, the arguments for sacred geometry, golden ratios and ages appear momentarily valid…the pain eases, and in that easing I know I’ve missed my turning, I know I’m running down one of the many quasi-real alternative realities, there are so many, alternatives that seem so very real, so very plausible that if I didn’t have the pain to guide me I might be quickly taken in by, but I stay focused, using my pain as a guide, questioning everything, questioning even seemingly safe assumptions on the basis that my beliefs are not my reality, but that my reality informs my beliefs. The mental gymnastics of trying to keep hold of so many disparate strands almost overwhelming as the threads tangle, the lines cross. A moment of enlightenment and the path opens once again, another strand, another part of the story, another fragment of narrative. The pain remains constant, some days better than others, but I know what the pain is for now, and I know that without it I’m lost, adrift, helpless to navigate through the traumatic detritus of misdirection and mayhem….
…. It’s not easy, but nothing worth holding on to is….