Tuesday, September 28, 2010


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?


  1. Wing, you have come a long way back, as you've said. Coming all the way back is never going to be easy, but you have shown you have the guts, persistance and desire to do anything you want to do. Living with pain is never fun, as you well know; and everyone's tolerance is different. Also, there are real limits on endurance, general health and the frustrations because you can't do everything immediately.

    The real choice is yours, knowing that while we cannot feel your pain, we DO support you in any way we can. We are proud of you for fighting back and coming back to do the things you want!

  2. Watching the work you've done on your plane these past few months, even with pain and illness, has been inspirational. You have nothing to prove to anyone buy yourself.

  3. bodies are interesting that way... good for teaching humility I guess, if nothing else.

    It sounds like the same thing as always though. Brave the pain, or go ahead anyway?

    Enh, pain passes. Passing up that too-rare chance is for forever.