I am not what I was, but I would not want to be. My circumstances have changed so drastically, and this world is so wildly different in so many ways -- how could I expect to spend a decade here and be the the same as I would have been somewhere else, carrying a different history on my back? I would like to change for the better, and I try to change for the better, but I can only be certain that I have changed. That in itself is enough for me. That I am a part of this world, that it has made marks on me and I on it.
For a long time I was a ghost. Even then I was different than I had been, and acutely aware of it, but I didn't think of it much. I didn't think of much at all. I was alive, even if I wouldn't have admitted it, but I touched little and felt the touch of little. I was apart from the world. Now I am not. I will not address today the means of that transition -- a subject for another time, perhaps -- but I will repeat it: I was apart from the world, and now I am not! I am here, and I am awake, and I can feel the chill in the air and the fine texture of fabric. It's a small miracle. Sometimes I am afraid of becoming entangled here, of becoming too much a part of it. I am afraid that I will have to detach myself again and I won't be able to. Yet I am a part of it, for better or for worse. And I wonder if I took this much joy from being a part of the last world.
This world has made me more expressive. I am more social. I am social at all. I have resources I could never have hoped for, and I choose to use them -- or not to use them -- in ways I would never have predicted. My values have been shifted by events beyond my imagining. I am unarmed. I have changed, I have changed, I have changed. I was no hero, I am certain. I am no hero here, either. But I have done some good, I think, and I have certainly made efforts that I couldn't have before. That I wouldn't have.
There is no lesson here. Not one that I've written, anyway. There are only strange circumstances in a strange place, and a strange man considering them. Stranger, maybe, than he was before -- or maybe less strange. But strange in different ways, regardless.