May 2, 2011

Changing history

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been trying to put together my medical history to apply for a new health insurance policy. Most all of my records are back up in Seattle, so I have been trying other avenues to remember what I did the last five years. And this blog has turned out to be rather useful (for once).

The only hospital visit was when I was being tested for acid reflux and seeing if there was any pre-cancer in my esophagus. I knew the relative timing of it and even had the doctor's name, but had no record with me on what procedures I underwent. Fortunately, I wrote about it here and was able to fill in the forms.

While looking at last year's posts, it got me thinking about the divorce again. For as much writing as I have done here and on the other blog, of course there is more to understand. When trying to explain how something feels, nothing seems to resonate quite as well as a metaphor.

And I have been searching mostly in vain for a tidy little image to capture it all. The best I could come up with was returning home after some time away, only to find that your house had burned down. Everything is lost and you are suddenly homeless. Sure you still have all the memories, and you can rebuild, but everything has changed in one moment of tragedy, and everything is now covered in blackened char.

And this blog turns out to be another type of metaphor for me. All the words are the same, but there is a different meaning once you understand what was going on. It has recently been revealed that the story in the book "Three Cups of Tea" was not entirely true. If I were to reread the book now, knowing that the author had made up certain details, my perception of the story would be different though none of the words had changed.

In the posting about the Esophageal Manometry procedure that had the medical information I was looking for, I described how I felt like I was choking and drowning, and ultimately broke down because "I hadn't been sleeping well for a few weeks. I was physically and emotionally strung out." What I didn't say at the time was that it was because a month earlier J said she didn't think she could make it home, and I first read the word 'divorce' two weeks later.

I looked back on some of the other posts in 2008 and 2009, and there are many that read differently after everything changed. Of course there was subtext to much of what I wrote during that time, including all my battles with insomnia and the various quotes I posted. Other posts didn't tell the whole story, like when my window shattered into a thousand little pieces. It happened on the drive in to our first session with the marriage counselor (not a great omen). Even other authors seemed to be writing about what I was going through without even knowing it.

But things continue to change. These posts mean something different to me now. I can remember the time in which they were written, but they do not have the power they once held over me. Like looking at the photos from your past - the picture looks exactly the same, that moment frozen in time, but the emotions attached to them are entirely different as your life story has evolved. Nothing looks different on the surface, but the perception of the past is changed, and now it reads entirely differently.

Though I am forever altered by what I went through, the changes I have embraced are for the better. Outside of this exercise in blog post history, I live less in the past and I am more focused on the promise of the future. And once again, more on that tomorrow.