They are insidious creatures that hide in my pillowcase, crouch behind my ears, hang on to me with their nails digging into my scalp, tiny deep blue imps, conjured in times of idleness, times of distance, powered by the insecurity that courses through my veins. They carve messages into the walls of my brain, paint my emotions a heavy gray that overwhelms, drowns, dives from my heart to the bottom of my stomach, billowing further down my legs, disappearing and leaving a deep vacuum, an absence like a whirling vortex, a black hole that drains me of energy, rationality, thought, that drains me of me.
It is like being kidnapped, overpowered, blindfolded and thrown into the back of a moving car, like being shoved into the corner with a vise around my head so that I can’t turn away, can’t see the light filtering in through the curtains behind me writing messages of love in the dusty script of sunrays, so that I can’t see the signs of love that float around quietly, waiting for me to notice them so they can shine, glitter in the acknowledgement of my heart. It is like being at the mercy of invisible forces that wear the guise of my own mind, my own thoughts, fooling me into believing that this is how I am, how you are, how they are, this is what we are. Throwing me off a cliff and I drag you with me, falling, flailing, dying in a simulation created by the tiny deep blue imps, so terrifying in its fabricated reality, so real in its effects on me, on you, on us, blurring all lines between reality and fears, seeping into our world, our love.
It is like being in a dream, watching myself in a car without brakes, cruising off towards a broken bridge, it is like trying to wake up, in vain.
And the worst is when I don’t even realize it is a dream, when I’m not even trying, when I’m so far down that I can’t even tell I am kidnapped, cornered, at fault. The worst is when the window of realization is so small it snaps shut before I can climb out, when the lines are so blurry that I can’t tell which way is right, when I am so tired because it keeps happening that I give up, that I fall still, motionless, quiet, resigned to the evil that stirs awake at the slightest provocation, accident, the tiny deep blue imps that hop into my mind, clawing, heavy, swift and wicked.
I wonder what it is to be diagnosed with a personality disorder, if insanity can always be caught with the help of a DSM-IV/V.
I wonder at the power of our minds and our unconscious, the unconscious that friendly psychologists claim forms the larger base of our thoughts, actions, beliefs, behaviors, that remains untapped, slyly making us think, do, dream, see, nonchalantly, casually pervasive, omnipotent.
I always used to roll my eyes at the helpless heroes and heroines of mediocre novels who hurt people they loved, or who wallowed in the misery of their own weaknesses, scoffing at their inability to change, their failure to become master of their own emotions; a firm believer in the phrase ‘master of one’s destiny’ and other such trite, semi-motivational idioms. If you want to do it, do it, I would say impatient at the fictional characters. But even though I still believe in self-determination and will power, I understand the difficulty of blowing life into them. It is one thing to hang a bright-colored sign above your desk and a completely different story to dive into the truth of words. Wise words can only be true for you if you dive into them, it doesn’t matter how many times other people tell you to ‘man up’ or ‘follow your dreams’ or ‘make the right friends’, it doesn’t even matter how many times you tell yourself. Or I guess it does matter, I just have to set myself up for inevitable failure before I can succeed.
It is like someone tells you ‘don’t look to your right but there’s a couple--’ and it doesn’t even matter what the couple is doing, you have already turned your head in their direction. Or when a disgusting image gets stuck in your mind (I have this mental picture of a face covered with dry alligator scales or crusty patches of snakeskin that keep peeling away and falling, to be replaced by more scales, and this image comes suddenly, passing on the insides of my eyelids when I am trying to fall asleep, unbidden, a cruel gift of the unconscious and try as I might, it persists, a one-image video-clip on repeat…).
It is like you tell yourself you will be constructive this weekend, you will get things done, but you don’t, you just watch bad shows or documentaries, playing some video game (or worse, Candy Crush), and honestly, there is no reason for being lazy, you’re simply fooling yourself into believing you’re not doing it because you don’t feel like it, and we shouldn’t do things just because there is pressure to do them? That, I fear, is bullshit.
I wonder at our minds and the nature of the human brain to ignore facts of life, to forget realities like death, destruction, poverty and hunger and instead fixate on stupid grudges, petty complaints and unhealthy obsessions, to make the same mistakes over and over again, at its ability to go off on a tangent.
The important thing, of course, is to hold oneself accountable. For one’s own happiness (unhappiness) and for others, for trying to overpower the imps that will run haywire if given free rein. For writing, over and over again, I will be … (insert whatever adjective you wish to be). To not let your mood overpower you and make you forget – even for that instant – that life is seldom one shade of color, life is seldom all horrible, that a person is very rarely as cruel as you think.
I remember a line from a book I read once, something about ‘no longer being a rubber duck bobbing on the waves of my emotions’ and how true that is, how important that is. Don’t underestimate the power of the unconscious, but at the same time don’t underestimate your own perseverance and ability, and never stop giving yourself second (million) chances.