I am the part of me I can’t accept. I think of dark things. I am twenty-five years old. I live behind closed doors, afraid of who might come to call, afraid that I will have to speak. Sometimes when I go outside. I cross the road so I don’t have to talk to people. I walk on the pavement, but I’m anything but grounded. I am the child who cried wolf, but that’s not so endearing for someone in the midlife of their twenties. One day I started taking a pill and my life started unravelling. You are from the future, can you tell me why?
I see you, I hear you. You are young and blooming. You are not all the dark things you feel. You just forgot your dreams.
Dreams are the province of the insane. Can you see a future for those who dream and write and create? Those who live in the confines of their head?
I can. Some day you will learn to step onto the shore, other days you will swim the deeps bravely, aware of the currents pulling at the hem of your dress.
My dress – it’s too old fashioned. I like it, but I’m like no one else I know. Some call me weird. I like feeling thin and invisible. I hate standing out. Sometimes I talk or laugh too loud.
One day you’ll find it’s safe to raise your voice – to speak with confidence, clarity, love and compassion. You will look back on yourself as you are and see you aren’t mentally ill. You are different. You have magic in the corners of your mind, visions of things that the ordinary refuse to see.
I am young and bleeding, but it is all on the inside. No one can see how it feels to be me. The doctors give me medications that change my mind, that make my inner world thick, as though packed with cotton wool – although I want to say steel wool. Sometimes the doctors pull on the threads, so sharp, and lacerate my mind. I wish I could talk.
Why not talk of the things you feel?
Can you talk a little longer?
I used to like going to the library, getting books that were about people like me. I would walk by the sea, the grey clouds skimming over the bay. I would walk for hours. I would talk to no one.
What was the bay like?
It was beautiful. I loved it when it was grey the most. It was like the subterranean cavern in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Walking there, I imagined strange electricities in the sky, and monsters beneath the surface of my subconscious. I read about those who saw the same things and survived. I wondered if I could too.
I’m on a raft on the water. I seem to be lost as the storm comes. Even the seagulls are afraid to fly in these skies. I’m trying to catch my thoughts as they toss in the air. I feel afraid. Angry. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me! I had dreams, I had visions! And now I hear the steps in the hall: the nurse comes to see if I’ve taken the meds that will dull my thoughts. It wasn’t so long, but those few weeks echo on forever. The doctors and nurses shamed me, and for a while I became part of the province of the forgotten. I wanted to be happy. Not this darkness – the darkness that makes loved ones look away. What do they see in me that makes them afraid? I wish I knew, so I could stop their fear. I’m just me.
Just me – someday, people will love you. More importantly, some day, you will start to love yourself.
When? It seems to take forever.
It will happen. Feel me reaching over the years, holding your hand, walking silently on the beach beside you, seeing all you see, hearing all you see. Seeing the grey clouds, the green water clouded with salt and sand, the gulls watching you with a steely eye. This is just part of the journey.
Sometime you will have to leave. I’ll still be here.
I’ll never let you go.