Three years. It feels, sometimes, like a blink. Like when I open my eyes everything will be right again. But most of the time it feels like another life, an alternate universe, a different me. I admire her, I envy her. I miss her. She does the most unremarkable things with her body but they leave me in awe.
The voice I used to be embarrassed of when I heard myself in recordings sounds so beautiful to me now, strong and feminine and nuanced. I want to carry it around with me to play for people. So that they know I once sounded smart and capable. So that they don’t make assumptions about my intellect based on my slurred speech and disturbed voice.
The other me maneuvers around the kitchen in a home video, she picks up her child. She laughs at something someone says. Her body moves easily, like it’s nothing. She’s so strong and able, sexy and full of life. Perhaps not particularly special compared to those archetypes of western beauty, but from where I sit now she’s breathtaking. I’m proud of her. Proud that I used to be her. Mystified by the insecurities she has. How does she not see how beautiful she is?
She used to feel close, like a phantom limb but for my entire person. My body felt like hers. Like if I took a step my legs would know exactly what to do and I’d walk. Because haven’t I always walked? Haven’t I taken countless steps?
But these days she’s mostly distant. These days it feels like she’s already dead, and I’m here, in this strange limbo where my heart and mind live but my body’s a broken shell.
I miss her. I wish I could be her again. I wish so hard for her. But she’s gone.
Me, shortly before my ALS diagnosis.