Friday, November 30, 2007

When I'm afraid

When I'm afraid I write.

I write great big gobs of flowing things, spewing my diseases into the clear crystal shining in my eyes.

I give into my fear and let it spill out through my fingers and I find a cleansing there. Soft comfort in words that remember those few moments of fear, that hold, contain, cage the shadows for me.

Confined in a subconscious artifice I claw at the walls of the things that surround me and want to contain me, to hold me, to keep me locked in a cage and terrified. A cruel jailer with my dreaded madre's voice.

I remember when I had finally escaped and gotten free, so free, to lands inhabited by Psyches and Wolves and Lady Luck and sharks and bunnies, and bears and all manner of strange free flowing strangers merged into a massive collection of comfort, of hope, of future.

I remember.

I remembered when the weather turned cold that I was afraid. I watched the snow fall from the second floor window of the vestal house in which I lived; I watched it pile up on the streets while candles burned around me, I watched and I was terrified. I knew what this snow meant, that it meant I would be forced out of this beautiful dream and into a dreary and dreadful and merciless cage that had contained me for so long; a cage where the jailer ruled with pain, and indifference and fury, and I did not want to go.

I sat up a long hours in the evening at a friends knee and he said to me "if it gets to bad write me, just write me, it will be okay."

And I was afraid to write.

I remembered when I was eight years old. So many things started when I was eight years old, so many crushing things happened. I remember one day being bored in school and so I decided that to entertain myself I would make a record of the day. I would write down everything that everyone was saying. It was an exercise in observation, in listening. I wanted to see if I could contain the hustle and bustle of a busy classroom. My youth wanted to lock in a picture of it. I thought it would be interesting. I drew pictures to represent the speakers when there was calm and no speaking. I made fun of the girl who bullied me, and drew hearts about the teacher I loved more than my meek existence. I remember it was good. I forgot about it. Until later, later, when the she-demon rises before me holding my childish whim in her hand, pointing to the page and my demonized pictures of a school bully. She hits me with the notebook. Hits me. Hits me. She demands why I am writing about her. It try to explain that it wasn't about her, it was a silly thing, I was just entertaining myself, I was bored, I was… I was… She yelled you don't write it down, never write it down… and I was afraid of my own words on paper. And I was afraid of myself. And I was afraid she would discover it.

And I wrote it all down anyway. I learned to keep secrets and keep them down deep in my soul, and when the fear crowded up and got to be too much I would sneak into dark places and write, and pour, and dream, and create stories of beautiful places where I could be free.

It hurt me when I had finally found some freedom to travel back into despair, but I did. And when it got dark I found myself frozen, I couldn't write, I was choked on my desperation and the fear. And so I called my friend, Mono, and as I talked to him talking fast, trying to contain myself, trying to keep it all from spilling out so I would not cry…he listened to the shrill screaming in the background and told me it would be okay. He told me to go and write it down, to write out and it would be okay. And I did. I locked myself in a room and wrote. Five days in a bowels of hell and I spent most of it hiding and trying to keep separate from it, to stay as clear of the brutality as possible.

I wrote.

And I wrote. It was the last trip that was the hardest. A different trip and before leaving I stayed clutch to the bosom of a friend on a dingy graying couch, talking late into the night over beer, and I cried, I know I cried because I did not want to go, didn't want to be forced into it, didn't feel strong enough that last time, didn't want to deal with all the bile that it brings up. I was so afraid and so terrified, and I let myself be comforted by the whispered assurances that I was strong enough, and that I would come out, in the end, and be whole.

And I wrote again. Writing to be closer to the people I loved when there was so much unlovely around me. I wrote to the European Psyche though I never sent the words, I wrote to Mono and the Bonnet, I would have written to Lady Luck in Korea if I had thought of it then, I wrote to myself and the sharks within, to anyone who could make me feel like life might be worth living. It was the last time and the hardest, and in my terror I spilled out page after page of bile implanted in my brain so it wouldn't remain there later, it wouldn't be there when I had freed myself.

I was afraid and I hid what I wrote, but I wrote it.

On lonely nights I walk the streets and smell the strange smells, surrounded by strange language, strange faces, I'm just as strange. I buy blank books and fill the pages over and over again, pouring out all my pain, and rage, and self-loathing and fear. Over and over the same fears, the same dark voices that haunt my night and dreams, over and over I write.

Sometimes I write just nonsense.

Occasionally I play my game, writing everything I hear and remember being said, although it scares me to do it.

Sometimes when I've had too much to drink and it overtakes me I come home and spill the words into my screen, must write, must write, and I pick names at random and send words. Sometimes I write for one name alone and pray that I understand it all later. I write because it makes the darkness brighter and becomes a point in the storm. A safe place, something I can trust.

And I am afraid right now because I know about the evil minded lurker who will no doubt read this, the one with my dread madre's voice, and I know that the soulless creature will again try to catch me by surprise with answering words of chastisement, trying to engage that implanted fear of eighteen years to make me feel guilty, and sorry, and ashamed for writing all this down today.

And I'm afraid.

And I'm not. I wrote it all down anyway. Because when I'm afraid I write and it helps. It helps me to read it. And it helps me to know that somewhere, out there, you people who care about me are reading it too.

I am afraid, and I write it all down anyway, and with every keystroke, mindspill, character expelled I feel a little less afraid.

1 comment:

Tony said...

I liked this, Sara. Your free flowing heartspeak touched me and made me less afraid, also. I do this exercise from time to time but not nearly enough. You've encouraged me to begin anew and dump some of my own fears.