"Complete cell turnover."
I was 15 when I first heard the term while scrolling through Tumblr late at night.
The concept was simple: Every 7 years, all of your cells have lived, died, and been replaced with completely new cells. Pristine. Untouched. It was a head-to-toe rejuvenation.
What a beautiful thing for a young teen who had already learned to hate her vulnerabilities.
I imagined myself in seven years, emerging from the cocoon of cell death with radiant, glowing skin after a full-body, cell-induced VIP spa treatment.
Shrouded in the softest, whitest robes like a butterfly wrapped in her fresh new wings I would proclaim "Look upon me world, for I am reborn."
A clean slate every 7 years. All I had to do was wait and time would baptize me new.
Today, I am 26 and this faulty, flawed, oversimplified concept Is haunting me.
I am 6 years, 10 months and 8 days sober and in 1 month and 22 days, this concept says that I will have no cells left that hold the adventure of addiction.
I am not ready. I am trapped.
This cocoon has become a prison and I am fighting tooth and nail against my own release date.
Do I pull out a hair, scrape a few skin cells loose to keep in a jar? Treat them with the revere of an old phone number from a long lost companion where time has simply out-run the opportunity to reconnect?
Or do I erect a statue to immortalize the moment, plan monthly visits to the lonely graveyard in where it stands, gaze upon it and recite it's familiar inscription "Here lies my addiction, rest in peace: to the highest highs, To the lowest lows, To the chemicals, that could get me through anything." Would I eventually get swept away by life's current, forget to visit and stop returning to trim back the weeds that aim to hide my monument from the sun?
In ten years' time, when I am touring the Museum of Lives Past Lived, will I pick up the memory of using like an old relic of a forgotten past? Will I study it, feel nothing more than vague nostalgia and try in vain to place myself back in the moment?
How do you honour a moment when everyone is so quick to congratulate the moment's end?
How do you celebrate that final, dirty, corrupt, beautiful cell tumbling down the hourglass stem to meet the rest of time's sand, for its life and not its quiet death?
Science tells me these old cells days are numbered. Tumblr says 53 days to be exact. I'll be spending those 1272 hours fighting to the bitter end, like I'm fighting off Death himself on the final day of the illness that I long knew was terminal.
I know it's useless. I know I can't stop the inevitable. But if I could go back, I'd tell my 15-year-old self that if this rebirth is guaranteed, you better enjoy every fucking second until you get there because it's coming sooner than you think.