I’ve gotten really far sans legs. The illusion of movement is mine. I left them back in 2010 when I danced on a few land mines. Fuck me, my foot just slapped me in the ear. I was running to the finish line when I ran across some razor-trip wire. Fuck, there went my shins under my crotch. And I’ve been here down in the dirt licking the blood of my wounds, refusing help. A wheelchair? A shoulder to lean on? Yeah, right. Just lie here, paralyzed, letting the world kick me wherever it may. And those, those aren’t places you’re going to tell some long term cum buddy all about “So, this one time I walked in on a 500 person drug den in Bangkok and was just like ‘fuck, it, I’m already here’ and sat down”….
And I realized when a friend said they thought they could be my ‘green zone’, the safe place in the Baghdad of my heart, that walking through a land littered with terrorists was less terrifying than a hug. Here on the ground I have all the elements of me: I’m sputtering, I’m cursing, I’m fighting whenever a shoe wants to kick me in the face and take me out. I’m a war battalion in a few heartbeats. Life really can’t defeat me. I’m never going to change who I am. But, still, that’s all I’m doing: lying here, tied up and constantly shocked in the powerlines that life wrapped me in. So much of my identity is built around the power and the strength of disconnection/disassociation.
The happiest I’ve been in years was the last month I spent completely silent. I don’t know, man, I think there’s something wrong with that. Maybe it’s time to realize empathy thrown at me isn’t daggers, it isn’t a compromise. I don’t know how to quell that panic, but maybe I can let life kick me in that direction for once and fucking see.
all photos reserved by Paul Strowger.