Although in my last two entries, I said I’d rage against the dying of the light, it’s really something I’m quite scared of. Losing "it", I mean. Part of "it" is my invulnerability. My fearlessness which allows me to jump off balconies and move in high-risk ways just for the heck of it. Most people who love parkour love the rush of being able to move basically anywhere and the adrenaline that comes with the danger. I realise now that yes, I can get hurt. It’s something most people pick up fairly early in life- mid-teens or so, but something I’ve been resisting. Now that my leg has stitches in it, I know that I can be hurt. I feel pain, and I don’t like it, I do my best to avoid it. I thought my stitches were infected yesterday, which meant possibly getting them redone, and that was just more than I was willing to handle. Another two weeks of keeping the bandage meticulously dry, washing it with saline etc. etc. and suffering the pain all over again. True it’s not extreme pain- it’s not like I had shards of bone spraying everywhere- but it’s pain I wanted to avoid.
I watched Ong Bak yesterday. I used to envision fight scenes- the most glorious fight scenes- pretty much every couple of hours. I’d imagine getting into fights with strangers, or thugs, or even terrorists of various descriptions. Watching Ong Bak, I know I can fight, but I know that I’d probably get hurt trying. And since my leg’s been paining for over a week now, I can’t bear to imagine myself kicking- it would just hurt, so all of my imaginary fights for this past week have been purely hand combat. But even hand to hand, I’m going to suffer a few blows. I don’t want to lose teeth, or get black eyes, or a broken nose, or have people smash chairs, tables and bottles on my arms like Tony Jaa. There’s nothing to gain from fighting but pain, on one or both parties. And pain is something I avoid. I’m not so much scared of pain as in loathing of it. It just sucks, and when it can be avoided, probably should be.
Yesterday I willingly backed down from a challenge for the second time I can remember. Rather than contort my way into the car as I usually do, I didn’t want to risk banging my leg on something so I let Dad reverse it out of the carport before I climbed in. I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the future- whether I’ll give up fighting, imaginary and or real, free running and every other high-risk, adrenaline-fuelled sport I love. But I just wanted to say, I’m not invulnerable, and it’s a sad, sad thing for me to come to terms with.
PS: I once wrote about being elbowed in the face at McDonalds. When I saw the blood on the tissue, I took it home and kept it for a little while (gross, I know, but hear me out). I wrote "MORTAL" on it in big, blue letters. It was the first time anyone had made me ‘bleed my own blood’ since I decided I was a ninja. I kept it as a reminder that I wasn’t the hotshot I talked myself up to be.
The second time I bled was at school when I tried to butterfly kick over a wall. While I’d cleared it previously, I wanted to keep as low as possible. I scraped my chin on the bricks and bled. When I was late for class, the excuse I gave was "I was confronting my mortality." Mr Shackleton didn’t accept it and made me apologise.