Once upon a time, I was eighteen and bulletproof. Well, not really - but I never let anything stop me. I learned to be timid since then, to be cautious and skittish of new things, to decline the chance to try something new for fear of pain or reinjury. When I was twenty, I moved to Alaska on a whim. When I was twenty-nine, I had learned to turn down the chance to try rare, expensive, and fun weaponry for fear of the pain involved in shooting them.
I remember shooting an Uzi while I was still relearning to walk. I could only do three shots at a time, and had to stop and cry from the pain in shattered shoulder and leg, but I leapt (metaphorically; jumping would take another year) at the chance to try it. When did I become so timid? When did acceptance of being broken and semi-crippled become so routine that I don't try new things no matter the cost?
Saturday, I climbed Mt. Flattop. It's a short mountain, as it looks like the thumb of God smooshed the top compared to the mountains around it, but it's still a good hike with serious scramble at the end. I have have not just relearned how to walk, but to run, to fly, and to climb mountains. I only think I'm broken - I've been in and out of physical therapy long enough that I can now, if not match my 18
-year-old self, be a normal person. I don't know how to be normal - I only know, after all this time, how to be broken and pushing fiercely against the limitations of my injuries.
What will it be like, to be just a normal pilot, rebuilding my old plane and flying it down to Tennessee? To be a normal person, biking across town? To be a normal gal on the range? ...Ok, I'm not there yet. Still can't take recoil over 9mm.
Or could I, if I tried? Have I been flinching from pain so long I've forgotten I can get better? What limitations are real, and what are only habit?