I’m watching a scary movie in the middle of a rainy day, in flannel pajamas.
It’s The Haunting of Bly House, which is an adaptation of The Turn Of The Screw. I don’t know how the original story goes and I’m not all the way through it yet, but I have an inkling that a lot of the characters are dead and the kids are the only ones who know what’s up.
I don’t walk through this world afraid. And that’s not naive bluster. I grew up constantly afraid of real threats. And then twenty years ago, I experienced things over the course of a month in NYC and Princeton, NJ that led to PTSD and agoraphobia. I thought I’d lost my mind. I was scared of everything and everyone. I didn’t trust myself to be anywhere but home and slightly drunk.
If I so chose, I could see peril at every turn. It exists. People do bad things to one another. Bad things just sometimes happen. So many bad things happened to me during the span of a few years, I was sure it was my fate to only experience bad things.
But I don’t feel that way anymore. I couldn’t tell you why, but I feel protected now. Maybe I didn’t escape that last suicide attempt in 2015 without some brain damage after all. Because, when all was said and done, I finally felt connected to something safe.
I know the exact moment, in the mental hospital, after a week of being there, when I started to laugh and laugh so hard the other patients got worried for me. We were watching Billy Madison and I felt so light. Only once before had I felt that, watching Napoleon Dynamite after a terrible depression.
The laugh came from me but it took me a minute to realize it was my own. I dissociate a lot. A lot a lot. I’m more out of my body than in it. I’m more a thought and a feeling than a person. So it’s easy for me to feel nothing. But when that laugh came, and I realized it was my own, my feet were suddenly planted on the ground and my lungs were filled with oxygen and the muscles in my face were contorted into true bliss.
What does this safety feel like? Like I walk with a halo of light around me of calm. And anyone who would do me harm is buffeted by that light. They can try, but I’m protected by a greater force that will diminish the blow.
I protect that field from people with a passion. And I can sort of grow the field to protect others. I know that so real because I’ve tested it. But beyond that, I don’t know what is possible. I’d like to, but there are a lot of charlatans out there and people who would think I was crazy if I tried to explain it to them.
Sometimes I forget it’s there. But it always comes back. It’s gonna be ok. One way or the other. It just will. Things are gonna go bump on the night and I can’t control any of it. And that too gives me comfort.
Comfort is a message from a woman who loved me for no reason at all, who would send me messages out of the blue when I needed them. And now that she’s gone, they still do the trick.
That message was sent to me during the darkest of days. I didn’t believe any of it at the time, but I do now.
Also, today is the first anniversary of meeting my roommate. And that worked out just peachy.