Another year looking back. This isn’t really regret, or guilt, or sadness, but I always find myself looking backwards on this day. What could I have done better? How? I compare what I wanted with what I achieved, seeing the dissonance and finding ways to accept it. I could have learned more Spanish. I could have practiced more Kung Fu. I could have pursued the women I liked, fought harder to maintain friendships, pushed further out past my comfort zone, but I also could have taken more naps. I find all those things to be equally important.
I remember things in fragments, sitting in a park on my last birthday, eating cookies alone, questioning my recent choices in life. I remember the classes I covered and what they led to, a moment when I acted completely unlike who I have always been. The single serving friends I’ve had, some of the best days I’ve had here. The people I’ve mocked, I still make myself laugh with old jokes sometimes. The pain of loneliness. The addictive nature of happiness after a good night. Bruises, cuts, illnesses, recovery, and the pride of scars.
I believe that all of our best days and our worst days should leave scars. The constant pain in my back takes me to a day in San Diego. There was a storm and the waves were nine feet tall, but breaking in two feet of water. They hit the water and punched through, bouncing off the sand beneath. The smell of the sea as I entered the water, leaving my board behind. I knew it would get me killed if I took it into the water. I spent half an hour in the waves, getting tossed around, hitting the ground hard. When I limped out of the water my entire body ached, and I was left with a spot at the base of my ribs that goes cold if I exercise wrong.
I have a series of scars on the back of my hand that I got in multiple places over the years. Four wounds in the same place, and the look like the number 4. I got one in Home Depot, a day in receiving moving broken glass. The scar takes me back to that hole, moving boxes and waiting to die. Another I got from a piece of wood, walking around San Diego one day. The third draws me to a time with a girl, not because I got it there, but because she noticed it. The last was here, grappling in Kung Fu.
I have a dent in my shin from the last day I worked as a plumber in New York. It was raining and I slipped on some concrete. The wound never really healed. Near it is a solid lump I got from blocking a kick wrong. I remember that fight, in another studio in Tlaquepaque. One of the first places where most of the people could beat me in a fight.
Small cuts, things most people wouldn’t notice, but I remember fragments. Sometimes where I got it, sometimes just remembering the face that used to look at me from the mirror. I’m not really proud of my scars, but there is always something about them that make us unique. It’s not the meat that were born with, but the damage we do and how we heal that separates us from others. In the end, the separation is a lie, and pride only makes it worse. I am better than them because I have the scars to prove it. Your scars are your story, but a story doesn’t make you special.
To me, the story is interesting, but I don’t need to read it again. There are things I would change, but then I wouldn’t be me, the hero of my story. I would just be the villan who thinks he knows how the world should be, who will do anything to make things better.
For today, I worked as little as possible, I stole a party, and I got paid. Later I will go eat with the Emissary, formerly known as the Diplomat. I have to inform him that the Council demoted him because of the mustard debacle. It is a sad day for him, but hopefully I can still con him into paying for dinner.