Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do You Want Fries With That?

The Rehab center is back!

With bells on, counsel and plaques

from years of experience

in fixing you;

from deep rooted heart issues

to getting gum off your shoe.

You don't have to worry

I don’t have feelings, dreams or hopes,

I am only here to help you cope

with your pain and disappointment

your fear of self assessment,

your obsession with the obscene

and everything in between.

You don’t have to worry

about me needing growth,

so please don’t be distracted,

I was just clearing my throat.

Please go ahead,

where were we?

Oh yeah!

The reason that you’re sad

and what made you so mad.

Let me find some scripture

or a song to lift you up

I might know a good therapist,

here let ME look it up!

But just real quick,

just a second of your time

I just have one question…

Is this your fault or mine?

While we’re on this subject..

I have one more question

You can keep talking...I’ll just listen..

But just real quick,

before I give your ouchies a kiss...

Did you want fries with this?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Visitor

As if sparked with a surge of high wattage electricity, I slam the door shut; lock and deadbolt it before I can even catch a glimpse of what is on the other side. Why doesn't this door have a friggin' peep hole? I stand with my back to the door and my breath decides to play its sick little games. Before it can even turn to run away and hide I give it the worst look I can conjure up and it slinks back into my lungs, pouting as it goes. Are you nuts, Darci??? What if it's IT? I decide it would be wiser to inquire before I go opening my door to anyone. Or any THING for that matter.

"Hum...Who is it?" I try to disguise the fear in my voice. This was all new to me; usually I just swing open the door and let whoever wants in, in. I obviously have issues setting healthy boundaries. That's how IT came to know my mind, and know it well. IT would knock and I would let IT in. At first we just hung out and IT would show me all these things I had never seen before. They were interesting and appealing, and I always had so much fun doing them. They felt different, and good. I never had to think and there were never severe consequences to anything I did. After a while, however, I realized IT was taking advantage of the place and started staying over for way too long. Sometimes IT would stay for days; trash the place and never clean up, and leave traces of toxic behavior as obvious as daylight. Eventually I felt like IT was a roommate, and while I hated the feeling of IT living in my mind, it was all I knew. By that point, I had grown numb to IT’s presence, and the camp set up in that back room; the same room where IT took me when I was hurting, angry or sad, but especially when I was lonely. My stomach grew queasy at the thought of those lonely nights when IT would take me into that dark room with IT...

"IT? Is that you?" Silence. "WELL? IS IT???" Silence again. I was starting to feel more annoyed than I was afraid. "Well. If it is, you might as well do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around. You're not getting in. I don't want you here anymore. I cleaned out your stupid toxic camp! It's ALL gone." More silence. I pressed my ear to the door and I heard deep breathing. Breathing so powerful it gave me chills. Breathing that sounded like the wind. It can't be Determination or Self Control; they don't play games like this. They are entertaining enough, but they don't mess around, and they would know better about playing a joke like this on me right now. Or would they? Self Control? Determination? Is that you guys? If it is, I don’t like this joke.” More silence, followed by the slightest shuffle in movement. "IT! IS THAT YOU???!!!" I was getting angry. Finally a voice carried its way through the door.

"I’m guessing that you don’t want it to be?" I didn't recognize this voice. But then again, IT never really spoke to me. IT would whispered close into my ear; a kniving, devious, spite-filled whisper that reeked of insanity. What kind of question is that, anyway? "Well, no! Of course not!" This came out shriller than I had expected. "Why not?” asked the voice so harmlessly. Why not? WHY NOT!! Well if this was IT than it was a clever little devil. If it’s not IT, then whoever is on the other side of this door obviously doesn't understand the hate I harbor and doesn’t have a clue what can they’re opening. I guess that rules out Self Control and Determination; they would know better. So it has to be IT! Who else could it be?

I can't really think of what to say, I have no answers, no good reasons. I just know in my heart that I can no longer stand to harbor IT in my mind.

"So if you can’t give me a good reason, then you must not be too sure, huh?"

What? Who does this…whatever think it is? What does it know? I have been struggling at the hands of IT for years now. You know what? Fine! Fine Mr. I- Won't-tell-you-who-I-am-but I'll ask-lots of-stupid-questions-instead.

"You really wanna know, huh?"

It almost sounded like this…thing was smirking when it said "I wouldn't have asked if I didn't."

Thanks. Thanks a lot. That's super helpful. At this point I was pretty sure IT was standing behind that door snickering at this stupid, stupid game. I am sure his sick yellow teeth are showing through his crooked disgusting smile. Surely his breath is seeping out invading the pure air around it and taking it hostage with its smell of humid decay. Argh!! I hate IT!!! Maybe this is a good opportunity to tell IT off and get IT out my mind, for good. The anger was boiling inside of me now. Maybe I should let it boil out. It's been stuffed in a pressure cooker on the stove in my mind for so long now. So very long. This was my chance.

Then the voice posed the question "Well... are you going to tell me?" I could hear the whistle on the pressure cooker start to blow as IT continued to taunt me.

"Because...because you are just a HORRIBLE thing. A self-centered, evil plotting, maniacal, narcissistic, life ruining....thing!". The whistle on the pressure cooker whistled louder as it boiled hotter and hotter. "I made the mistake of letting you into my mind and then you kidnapped me and forced me into your sick den of illogical reasoning. Then you got me addicted to your oil of darkness. I was fixed to the high it gave me when it entered my veins. You watched as I would writhe in pain waiting for another hit." I don't even want to mention the dark things I saw in that den. "How many times have I woken up in the middle of the night and found you lying next to me whispering your madness into my dreams? How many times have I woken up in the middle of the night and had to chase you out of my mind so you could no longer draw your twisted dreams upon the addicted easel of my mind? You watched me beg and plead for this obsession to end. You would snicker as you upped my dosage." Why did I let him do this to me? "How long have I walked constantly checking over my shoulder, only to run straight into you?” The top on the pressure cooker popped off onto the floor of the kitchen as it started boiling over. “You would hold my hand as you walked me back into my mind through the hallway to that back room, to one of those stashes and you would open the box. You would tell me that it would comfort me. Remember all those times I told you I didn't want this anymore? You just laughed as you introduced me to another guy who could rock my fears to sleep, and another addiction to numb the feelings of dissatisfaction and deep sadness." How did I not see this as it was happening? "You are honored to see me buckle at your presence. You walk with your shoulders raised in confidence, swaying to your own sick twisted version of a victory song, because you know you'll never go hungry as long as you are feasting on my weaknesses. You're mean. You blow the smoke from your egotistical pipe into my eyes..." I am not even angry anymore; I am growing sad, regretful and lonely. " you could heartlessly distract me from the good places I was headed. I would become disoriented, and just as you had planned, I would fall into the arms of the nearest thing that would show interest in this beautiful side of me that I had to fake. I had to sell all my good qualities, my strength and anything truly beautiful inside me for another hit, from YOU.” I allow the sadness to flow out of me as I cry my words. "And every time the interested bloke eventually discovered that you held all my goods, and that I was a slave to your oil. He would grow disinterested or would get ripped apart by the starving addict I had become, when he realized I was no longer sane. I would come crawling back to you, into that back room. What else could I do? And there you would be, propped up on a box, percolating." Practically dancing in excitement, you jerk. "I had pushed everyone else away so you were all I had. I would just raise my arm to you and let you go to work, awakening the sores and bruises that had become merely scars. They would become fresh track marks by the time you were through with me. It was what kept you alive. My addiction kept you alive. I don't care if you die. Die and rot in Hell with the devil that sent you."

My hands are still shaking violently. Very violently. I lean against the door, sobbing as I crumple to the floor; my composure now floating out one of the windows in my mind. There was no way I could chase after it now. It was gone. And at this point, I am too. There is silence. The most significant silence I have ever heard. Or not heard. I could no longer even hear my chest heaving up and down. It was a silence I could almost reach out and touch. The voice broke through the silence like a jackhammer. I could almost hear the silence as it shattered all around me.

"I know." The voice was tender. Wait, what? "What?" I am floored with confusion, still sitting amongst the shards and pieces of the silence that had been broken. "I know, Darci." The pieces of silence rattled.

"Darci, why don't you just open the door already? You asked me to come here."

"No, I didn't!" I haven't asked anyone to come here in a long time.

"But you did, several times. But this was the only right time. I came by a few other times, but you didn't answer. Sometimes you were in that back room, in the darkness, other times you were out; out and about from your mind. You didn't hear the knocking. It would have made no difference if you had, though. It wasn't the right time."

I am totally stumped at this point, and I have NO idea what is going on. This HAS to be IT. I must have hit that point of pure insanity. Maybe I drank myself into an alcoholic coma, or maybe I just worked my neurons into a frenzy and I have finally done it....I have finally gone crazy.

All of a sudden a draft blows in through the open space in my mind and I feel it creep towards me on the floor. It’s warm, and comfortable. I am still unwilling to trust anything going on outside the door, outside of my power. So I plant myself harder to the ground against the breeze. That sounds like the ocean. It smells like the ocean too. As if the wave had come through and swept away any will power or defiance, I have no strenthg left. My body is limp and my mind is mush.

"Please. I can't keep doing this! Just tell me who you are!!" That came out as a soft sob.

"Let me in” persists the voice. Okay, I give up.

"Fine then! Come in!" Silence. "I said you can come in." Silence.

"You have to open the door, Darci."

Oh. "Oh." A voice comes echoing down the hallway from my mind; No. This is how you were invaded before, Darci. You can't trust stuff like this. But something about the wind breathing voice poured life through the door and I feel more than compelled to open the door. Plus, I am learning that the thoughts from that back room cannot be trusted.

I put my hands flat on the ground and slowly begin to push my weight upwards. I shudder at how the darkness is looming around me, stalking me; listening to every move I make. I take my time turning around to face the door. All of a sudden, hundreds of thoughts pop out of the darkness in my mind. I see thoughts of hesitation, fear, anger, resentment. I push each and every one of them away with my shaky palm until I have full sight of the door again. Okay. I'm gonna open it. I have to open it right? I mean, this thing isn't going away is it? You're talking to yourself. I am talking to myself. Argh. Whatever is out there can't be worse than the insanity I feel in here. And I can't stay locked up forever. Yeah. That's true. I can't stay locked up here in my mind forever. Okay, let's open it. Here goes nothing...again. The door knob is very cold to my touch. That's odd; it's always so muggy in here. How could the door handle be this col...Focus. My fingers surround the ball shaped doorknob and I notice they are still shaking. I turn the knob. Nothing happens. You locked it genius. Oh yeah. I reach up and turn the lock. It echoes down the empty hallway and dies at the dark back room. Just like everything else in that room. I place my shaky hand back on the shiny knob and turn it.

The door clicks and begins to creak open. From the other side enters the brightest, whitest and strongest light I have ever seen, and it pours into my mind. The magnificent light races down the hallway into the backroom and hesitates for a second at the locked door. Then it breaks through, breaking the door into shreds and slivers of wood. It invades the room and ransacks it clean of any darkness; all the stashes, the hiding places, and the toxic camps IT set up. It all comes flooding out of the room through this ray of light, out the front door. The light breaks down the walls and invites sunlight into the room. I am blinded and my breath is gone. I think it’s locked in my lungs, which are frozen in fear. The light finishes in the dark room, leaving it open, bright and full of fresh air. It rushes down the hall knocking off the horrible pictures of memories that hung on the wall and all the shelves, on which I had placed all my regrets for display. These things also fall through the ray of light and out the front door. The light makes its way into the kitchen and destroys the stove, the fridge and the dining room table where IT and I would feast on the stashes, for days at a time. The walls are knocked open in there too and the sunlight slowly descends upon the empty room and begins to cover it like a blanket.

My eyes are now adjusting to the light and I can feel my breath dripping back into my lungs. Barely. When the light finishes in the kitchen it comes rushing straight at me, but swarms past me to the entry way closet sounding like a speeding freight train. This is where I keep that parade of crippling thoughts that would come swirling around me from time to time. Sometimes I would have to lure that carnival in there and lock the door. They would knock and pound and make all kinds of racket but I wanted them closed out of my mind. IT would often unlock the door and let them out to terrorize me. IT thought that was hilarious; I hated it. The light broke through that door and caught the whole stampede into its ray as they stomped out of the closet past the broken door splinters. As each item of that carnival was sucked into the light, they calmed. The images didn't scream, kick or yell as usual. They were peaceful images as they entered the ray and exited the front door to my mind. The light then swirled around me like a hurricane with such intensity I had to keep myself from falling over. It swished and swirled, hoo-ed and howled as the walls cracked and crashed. And then there was silence. I feel the sunlight begin to fall around where I stand. It feels like a waterfall of feathers as it pours onto my skin. Still silence. The only thing standing is me and the front door. The light begins to howl as it swirls back to the front door. I inch towards the tail of the light as it leaves my mind through the door. The light fades as it is gathered into a hand; a powerful hand. Actually, the most beautiful hand I have ever seen. The last slivers of light make their way through the fingers as it crashes into the palm of the beautiful hand. As that last bit of light evaporates I see a scar on the wrist of this hand.

No way. I slowly open the rest of the door and look at what I have been wrestling with for hours now. Oh, God…my heart stops. You are beautiful. Splendid. Stunning. You didn't give us words to describe You accurately. My hands have stopped shaking but I feel like my heart is going to explode as it leaps into my throat. There is nothing that will give justice to the glory I am face-to-face with. There is light; lots of light. It illuminates all around Him and shines through Him. I work up the courage and I look Him in the eye. It is like looking into the deepest ocean of the bluest water where the biggest icebergs shoot up with towering strength and where the most powerful creatures swim in the churn of the strongest currents. My breath swims into the depths of my lungs again. Oh no, no. No, breath! This is not the time to run and hide. Did you SEE who is at my door? Hearing this thought, He laughed. I nearly fainted at the sound. It was like hearing the most beautiful bird sing a lullaby to the most innocent child who is laughing as they sit among trees that blow in the wind, creating the most intricate symphony.

"Thank you for opening the door." My voice had gotten tangled up in one of my vocal chords at the sound of His laughter. I couldn't talk. I nodded instead. He smiled.

"You know it's time, right?" I nodded again. This time with less enthusiasm.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mind Stashes

I run as fast as gravity will allow. My feet are being good little troopers. I had been running for a long time now and I am still at the same stamina level as when I ripped out of that observation room. I'm really gonna pay for this tomorrow. I don't care, suffering the pain of an aching body is much better than being run down by... It. I'm not really "running away" from It because it knows exactly where I am going. I just need to get there first. By the time I arrive there and stop running the adrenaline is pumping so much energy through my body it feels like it is going to revolt and keep running against my will. I stretch a little bit to do some damage control for tomorrow and then I try to lower my heart rate. Okay, enough time wasted! I need to get there with enough time on my hands. I stand outside the door of my mind, searching the pockets for my keys. Once again the silence lowers itself around me and blocked out any hint of noise that tries to wiggle its way through the wall. I find the key, open the door and hesitantly walk in. I begin to rummage through the darkness in my mind. A darkness so shallow it was tangible, but so dark in color that I could not see through its slight curtain. I feel around the room and search for the little cabinet. I walk alongside the walls making sure my feet stay steady. Eventually I bump into something and bend over to feel around, and I touch the smooth top of the cabinet. This is it! I squat down putting my weight on the balls of my feet and reach for the metal knob. I would give my left leg... okay, maybe my left pinky toe for a stream of light right now. Buuuut.... I don't have that luxury, so I'm gonna have to make do with my sense of touch. I open the small door and get on my knees as I reach for the top shelf. Nothing. It's okay, there are two more shelves. I move my hand down to the second shelf and feel around, only to find that one was empty too. Not too nervous yet, I slowly move my hand down to the third and last shelf as if my slow speed would make it so that something would appear on that shelf. My fingers crawl around the shelf, encountering nothing but smooth wood. They start to pick up speed as my heart beats a little faster. They speed crawl around spots they already checked, hoping they had missed something. Argh! Nothing. When was this one emptied? I can't seem to remember....

I steady my heart as I remember that there is at least one more place I can look, possibly two. I close the door to the cabinet, and still on my knees I try to find my breath. I am annoyed to find my breath is playing hard to get, probably playing one of its stupid games of hide and go seek. But I don't have time to count, seek and then chase right now. So I put my hands on my knees and push as much air into my nose as possible. Then I open my mouth and breathe in more of the dark colored air. Goodness gracious that hurts my lungs! I really wish my breath wouldn't do this. Finally my breath realized it wasn't time for games and gave in to my insistent inhaling. I slowly stand up knowing that I was going to be dizzy from this quick game of hide and seek. I am. I steady myself back on the wall as I move towards my second destination. My fingertips feel along the walls as I walk slowly. I head through the hallway into another room. God, my hands are shaking. Why are my hands shaking like this, God? I already know the answer so all I get is silence. I try to ignore the feeling as I move on.

Once in the new room, I find the fridge in the dark and make my way to it, walking as if I was on a balance beam. How is it that my eyes have not adjusted to the dark yet? It usually doesn't take this long. The air still lightweight but pitch dark carries me to the fridge. I feel for the handle and pull it open. The light from the inside nearly blinds me and I have to close my eyes until the dark curtain lifts a bit from my vision. The cold air swarms around me and enters my pores one by one until it bullies out all the sweat beads. I didn't realize I was sweating that much. The dark curtain has lifted from the light and my eyes have adjusted. I begin my search. I look at all the shelves and find nothing. Trying not to panic I search the top shelf; moving the yogurt and the soymilk. Sliding over the water jug and picking through the eggs. I pull each drawer open and ransack them like I am a starved animal. I search through every can in the soda box. It's not in here, Darci. I stare into my fridge as if I had the mental powers to make something magically appear. I check the freezer for good measure. I check it three times. Three times I find nothing. I slowly close the fridge door and slump down. Think, Darci, think! There is another place you stash stuff....where is it? I rack my brain for every memory I have concerning this situation. I go through every step I can remember taking within this mind of mine and retrace every movement. Slowly the memory comes back and I remember where it is. Oh my, what am I gonna do if there is not anything in there? Ok. Focus. Go check first and then we'll go from there.

I rise using the fridge door as support and move through the dark air back into the hallway. This time I grip the wall and my fingers are shaking as if my body is being rocked by some kind of imaginary turbulence. I move a little quicker this time towards the very back of my mind hoping I'll find what I'm looking for. The curtain remains dark, but as I move through the hall towards the back, the air grows heavier; it feels like it's growing heavier with every step, as if it is trying to stop me. Walking feels harder, even though I am gripping the wall. Somehow it gets darker as I near the back, too. How is that even possible?! My body pushes back on the heavy air and moves clumsily into the room on the left. All of a sudden I realize there is a floor beneath me and it's creaking. Okay, seriously...are we gonna throw in some howling wolves and creepy owl hoots too? I laugh nervously at my horrible joke because I know that I really am afraid. But I don't know if I am necessarily afraid of the heavy creaky darkness as much as I am about not finding what I need. Yeah I do.

I freeze as I hear a knock on the door to my mind. The knock echoes through the hallway into the room and reaches me. It sends chills down my spine. What if its It? What if It ended up getting away from Determination and breaking through the glass into the observation room? I decide not to open the door. Instead I quicken my search, because even if it's not It, it could be anyone or anything trying to discourage me to find what I am frantically searching for. Frantically. Why am I frantically looking? I guess this is just how it goes. This is what I do. But it doesn't have to be. I don't have to rely on those things, right? I have grown stronger in the past year. That stash of attention is not a source of power for my soul. Or is it? I decide I am going to just "make sure" and check anyways. Just in case of like, you know, some "emergency". I know God. I don't believe myself either. The knocking has stopped for now, and I continue gripping the wall until my fingertips crawl their way over a doorframe. Okay, this is the room. This is where I remember putting it. The darkness in here is heavier so my body has to call for back up muscles as it pushes its way to the left corner of the room. I bump into several different things in the dark, but I am moving slow because my body is pushing hard so I barely stumble each time. My feet knock over a few boxes filled with things of which I can only imagine. All of a sudden dust starts to rise all around me and stick to the curtain of darkness. The now curtain of dust starts overwhelming my already unreliable breath, who decides to go deeper into its game of hide and seek. Oh no. As if the dust had the power to ignite memories, I realize what is in those boxes. I packed so many different stashes and detrimental fall back plans in here. This place is like a mine field to me. I had been scared that I would find a graveyard, but much much worse. I just need to get what I am looking for and leave before I set anything off. I carefully slide my feet towards the corner in which I was headed, as if I was ice skating. Yeah, ice skating on the particles of dust leftover from my past.

I finally reach the corner and find the sturdy old box with the broken lock. I take a deep breath not knowing if I want to find anything inside or not. I bend down and slowly raise the lid of the box and peer inside. I see nothing. I start to pani...Duh, chill out. It’s pitch dark in here, you idiot! So I reach into the box slowly and feel around. Nothing. I let my fingertips crawl around every corner of the box. Still nothing. That's it. That was the last stash. There is no more. That's it. I'm ALL out. I don't feel sad. I certainly don't feel happy. I feel nothing. I slowly let my legs drop to the ground and I lean up against the wall. What does this mean? I've searched every place in my mind where I keep the stuff. Gone. When did I use it all up? Or did someone take it all? How would I ever know? So many people have been in and out of my mind since the last time I had to dig into one of these stashes. The knocking starts again and my whole body stops. I swallow a mouthful of dark air and dust and start to feel a little spinney. Again the knocking echoes through the hallway and races over to the corner where I am sitting and masterfully twists my body into a tense knot. After a few minutes of the knocking, I decide it needs to be answered. Usually Self Control was standing guard at the door and Determination was helping me organize and carry all the heavy things through and out of my mind. But I don't know what had happened to them. Last time something like this happened they had already made it back by now. Self Control had suggested that we make up a secret knock, but Determination and I made fun of him and we just never got around to it. I realize that it could actually be Determination and Self Control at the door, because I am the only one who has a key to my mind. They can't get in without me. could be It. It always found crafty ways to sneak its grimy sharp paws into my mind. But the door had to be opened for him to get in, and thankfully it wasn't. The knocking grows louder and harder.

I pull my twisted knot of a body off the floor to start making my way out. My body pushes against the weight of the dark curtain and eventually I reach the door to the room. I pull out the set of keys to my mind and fidget with them. My hands are shaking harder, making this task a lot more tenuous. Eventually I find the key to the door to the room I just left; the mine field. I turn around and close the door to the room. I stick in the key, and turn the lock. Three times. The clicking noise bounces past me down the hall. Just in case it is the horrid face of It I see at the door, or God forbid It finds its way back into my mind; this room full of ammunition won't be such easy access. The volcano of fear about to explode in my heart is calmed at the thought that I have some protection and control in this situation. The knocking catches my attention again as it quickens in pace. I stuff my keys deep into my pocket and start down the hallway towards the knocking.

The curtain lightens up and my body eases from how hard it was pushing through the darkness. As I near the front door, the curtain has lifted completely and I practically glide through the air. The knocking feels like drums beating through my body as I reach for the dead bolt. I feel the vibration of the knocks on my fingertips and all of a sudden I hear a different kind of drum sound; much louder and coming from all around me. The floor has begun trembling when all of a sudden, a slew of images trample into the walk way and run past me. These rushes were happening a lot less these days. It is like a whirling parade of tyrannical moments that carrousel around my body. I allow the parade to swirl and twirl its way around until it slowly dissipates into mid-air. That one wasn’t so bad. My hand vibrates again as the knock has grown stronger. I have to answer it. The knocking won't stop. They'll keep coming. I turn the deadbolt slowly and place my hand on the doorknob. Well here goes nothing I think as I slowly turn the doorknob and open the door...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Observation Room

It sat quietly and sneered hatefully at me from behind the glass. I got goosebumps on my skin as It looked me straight in the eye, and not the good kind of goosebumps either. By the look on Its face it was starving to be back in my head feasting on my sane nerves, infecting them with the insanity that ran through Its own blood. It licked its lips and I felt the nausea rise up from my stomach into my chest. The observation room was quiet, too quiet. I sat in the room by myself wondering when everyone else was going to show up. I fidgeted in the uncomfortable chair I was sitting in and the old red vinyl crackled at my every move. Watching It through the glass makes me so nervous that I am sweating, and if I had worn shorts, my skin would be sticking to the worn material on the seat. But I didn't wear shorts, I want to to keep as much skin covered as possible from this animal. I looked back up and It was still staring at me, but now It was grinning. I tried not to let It see me squirm, but it wasn't an easy task. I was terrified of It, and It knew very well because It could see my thoughts. Hoping to clear my mind, I focused on the coffee I poured myself before I had stepped into this eerily quiet room. It was hot as it touched my lips and I could taste the bitterness making its way down my throat. My sip echoed off the walls, and it added heat to my already perspiring body. The coffee didn't help ease my stomach at all either. I could feel its eyes fixed on my face as I stared into my cup wishing this moment would end. The nausea had now risen to my throat.

Where was the operator? Wasn't there supposed to be a guy that goes in there and talks to It, ties It up, puts something in It's mouth and then flips the switch? I thought that's how they did it. But there is no movement coming from anywhere. This is all making me more uncomfortable than I have ever felt before, but at this point I am very grateful for the death penalty. Plus, I really did need to be here. I needed to see It die with my own eyes because I had been fooled before; thinking I was finally safe because It was gone. Then It would jump back into my life so much bigger and stronger than the time before and my sane nerves never stood a chance. I shuddered at the thought of those moments; the Lord knows they were horrible. Its black eyes would peer deep into mine while its cold fingers would pry open my mind where It would begin to set up Its battlefield. I hate It so much. I realize hate imprisons the soul, but this is different. This, this...thing; It wants my soul and It will stop at nothing to get it. Sometimes I feel like hate is the only weapon I have that I can use. I look up to see if It saw this whole thought process, and never one to disappoint, It was snickering at me revealing Its sharp, yellow caked teeth. Its tongue was hanging on Its bottom teeth and It was slobbering. Its dark, bottomless eyes peered into mine, past the coffee cup I was holding up attempting to cover my face. I shook away the stare and rearranged myself on the crackly red vinyl again. I could now taste the acid from the nausea rising into my mouth.

Somewhere outside my head a door slowly creeps open. I fall out of my thoughts and my head snaps around at the door into the observation room; it was closed. My eyes slowly roll over to the room behind the glass where I spot movement. Two more had slipped in through the door into the room behind the glass, and they were whispering quietly to each other. It must not have noticed, and if It did It was ignoring them because Its eyes were still fixed on me, the smile now wider. I was made aware of the nausea in my throat again. When the two new occupants of the room stopped whispering I recognize them! Relief rolls through my body like a tidal wave that releases the block on my windpipe and all of a sudden air rushes through me and out of me, and I breathe deeply. Finally. The first occupant to enter the room, my Self Control, has started measuring the poison that he would need to place in the needle. The second occupant, my Determination, had slowly and calmly crept up behind It and started strapping it down to the chair. It squirmed a little bit but kept its eyes fixated on the fear that lingered in the sweat on my body. It didn't seem bothered by Determination's strong hands that were binding It in preparation for Its death. That curdled my already sour stomach because I hadn't expected It to react so confidently to the death penalty. I felt my vision grow dim as I turned around to look for my family or my friends that I had been expecting. Where were they? This was about to happen and I was going to have to sit here and witness it by myself? Well, me and my coffee anyways. I felt my heart grow a little heavier and my nose start to sting. Oh no, this meant I was going to cry. There was no way I was going to let that creeper see me cry and think It was responsible for my tears, not again. I just thought people would realize how significant this moment was and how scared I really am. I thought there would be at least some support for....oh my. Oh no. I didn't tell them. I am such an idiot! Nobody knew that It had come back into my head and began feasting on my logic. I didn't want them to worry; I could handle this thing on my own. I have been doing it for years. Well, I guess if I had been handling it right, I wouldn't have to be sitting here right now. I should have told someone. My sweet Lord, I know you are here with me, but I should have told someone.

Self Control had finished measuring the poison and was cleaning up after himself. The clanging of the tools beat in rhythm with my heart, which felt like it was no longer beating at all. Self Control slipped the plastic gloves off his hands and washed them thoroughly in the sink while Determination checked all the wires that plugged into the sturdy chair It was sitting in. As Determination finished his inspection he firmly met my eyes and nodded reassuringly. I felt more weight lift off my chest. My eyes follow It as it turns its head to look at Determination dead in the eye. Those two have a history; Determination has been hunting down and protecting me from It for a while now. Somehow, every time, It would find a way to distract or weaken Determination and slip past him through the back of my mind, where it would find its way to the remains of the battlefield it had built and rebuild Its army. Despite our effort, It still found a way to rebuild Its evil where Self Control, Determination and I had worked so hard to clear out. One time, Determination even injured Its eye sight, but It still crept past and found Its way blindly through my mind. After all, It had been living there for more than a decade. Self Control and Determination were new to the area, so It definitely had the upper hand in this battle.

I was caught up in remembering all the times that we had gone to battle with this thing, and how persistent and strong It was. I was so caught up in rerunning the scenes through my mind that I almost missed it. I saw movement from the chair as It somehow maneuvered an arm out of the straps and managed to reach Determination with enough force to knock him over. It began to unstrap itself at an incredibly fast rate; fast enough that Self Control didn't get to It in time. Self Control had leapt across the room at It when he realized what was happening. Almost in slow motion Self Control hit his knees on the ground and reeled around with surprise plastered on his face as he glanced down at a knocked out Determination. By the time Self Control's eyes had spun around, the chair was unstrapped and empty. Self Control's face twisted into horror as his face met the sharp end of one of the measuring tools. Self Control froze for what felt like hours until he crumpled down to the ground. Both Self Control and Determination were lying motionless on the floor behind the glass.

I can't move as I stare in horror at the scene that had just unfolded; I must be dreaming. The skin underneath my jeans has started burning as I realize I have dropped my coffee cup on my lap. I smack the heat off my pants and try to catch my breath. I'm not dreaming. All of a sudden I can't stop my eyes from following the glass window up, up, up...until my eyes rest on It, plastered to the glass, staring down at me. I look around to find the nearest exit to see if there is any way It can get to me, and if I could get away. I plan the quickest way out of the observation room, feeling safe that at least It was stuck in the glass room for now. I glance back at the glass before I get up to start running, and I see it. I am frozen still except for my stomach that is turning so violently I can hear it. My sight is fooling me, surely. Calm down, Darci, you are imagining things. I close my eyes and shake my head and open them back up slowly. I wasn't wrong. There was a crack in the glass. I followed it with my eyes up, up, up....until my eyes found where the crack became an opening. The glass had broken. More churning, deeper churning. I looked at It who was now laughing hysterically at my slow realization. I glanced back up at the hole in the glass and found one of Its sharp fingers sticking through the break. Oh no. No. No...Not again. My head was throbbing and the nausea had now risen into my mouth and I could taste the acid. I was frozen in shock as its hand started to rip through the glass. I hunched over as the acid taste grew stronger in my mouth, and when I did I saw more movement behind the glass. Determination had come to with a bleeding mouth, but he was strongly starting to rise off the floor...

Monday, August 3, 2009

God Spoke Back

On an ordinary day of an ordinary week, I was having one of my routine conversations with, well, ranting at, God. But on this day, it became less than ordinary when He spoke back.

Me: So, God. I have been thinking. Well, actually, I have been wondering...Why did you create me like this?
God: What do you mean?
Me: Oh! You're there! Good. Okay. Well, you know...what I mean.
God: No.
Me: Okay, like for a small example. I have a decent looking face. My nose, my mouth, my eyes are all very nice. But I get these pimples on my face and then they scar. I love my freckles, but there are so few of those. I wish you had given me less pimple-prone skin and more cute freckles. It's hideous. Emily has perfect beautiful skin, why couldn't I have that kind of skin?
God: What? You think it's hid...
Me: Well, now that I think about it, my nose is nice, but then I get that weird line on it from when I rub my nose. And then I get those dirty pores that are horrifyingly visible.
God: Actually, I like that line...
Me: Oh and my eyes, I like the blue. But couldn't you have made them a more shocking and brighter color of blue? My cousin has the most beautifully bright blue eyes. Why couldn't mine look more like hers? Oh, yeah! And not to mention the fact that one of my eyes twitches! What's up with that?! What was the purpose of making one of my eyes spastic?
God: Hey! Now wait, I love...
Me: And my teeth are decent and they are white enough. But my bottom set of teeth have this weird crooked thing going on. It really ruins the overall good look of my teeth. And couldn't you have made them just a bit whiter? Oh yeah, and my tonsils are ridiculously sensitive and oversized, God. Did you make them like that on purpose?
God: Well, I actually s...
Me: And that's just my face. Well, I like my hair; you did a good job on that. But couldn't you have made it straight instead of wavy? I mean, I guess it's neat that I can wear it both ways. But it's just so...blah. You know...not great not bad. Average…bland. My friend Lacey, though, she has gorgeous hair, I could use some curls like that.
God: Well, when I made...
Me: And that's just my head. Good heavens, I mean, goodness gracious. Sorry. Seriously, though. How many girls do I know that can eat whatever they want and not have to worry about gaining weight?
God: To be exact...
Me: Too many, that's how many. It's really not fair. Why couldn't you have built me more like my friend Tara? She is proportionally perfect. I mean, I have feminine hips, but did you have to make extra large? And you made my arms strong, I like that. But did you have to add the jiggle fat underneath?
God: I didn't exact...
Me: And my legs. Oh my legs. Why do my thighs have to be so thick and my ankles so skinny? If You had made the thighs skinny to match the ankles, or the ankles thick to match the thighs, that would be one thing. Not to mention they do this weird inverted Y shape they make if I stand a certain way. So instead of looking normal I look like a giant ice cream cone.
God: I thought...
Me: I mean, I guess I am okay, but I really wish I was beautiful. I don't know, like one of those movie star girls? They are perfect. Why didn't you make me look like one of them and make one of them look like me? Didn't you want me to be happy?
God: ..........
Me: Well? Are you even listening to me? Didn't you want me to be happy?
God: Are you asking me?
Me: Well, yeah.
God: Darci. If I had wanted you to look like those women, don't you think I would have made you that way? How long have you felt like this?
Me: .....
God: Darci. How long have you felt like this.
Me: .....
God: Since as long as you can remember, huh? You have spent well over a decade hating yourself and focusing in on your flaws and thriving on what you could look like!
Me: Well, not the whole....
God: And all that self disgust has done nothing but hold you back from enjoying all the beauty I gave you. And I didn't even spend most of my time on the outside physical beauty when I made you.
Me: But...
God: I focused on your spirit, on your abilities, on your talents. I focused on weaving that passion into your heart and that drive into your head. I spent more time preparing your blessings, which seem very quickly overlooked so many times. So I am not going to apologize for making you the way I decided to make you. I like it!
Me: I didn't say that you should...
God: How long are you going to live this way?
Me: What way?
God: Believing all these lies? The lies you tell yourself; these lies that Satan feeds you, which you gobble up like a starved animal.
Me: No, I do not gob....
God: You do Darci. You do it because you are starving. You refuse to fill that space with my Spirit, and those lies are digested so quickly that you constantly need more. So you become addicted to those thoughts because they are so accessible and self pitying. And before you know it your sanity has become insanity and you no longer know where the line is that you crossed so long ago. Does that sound about right?
Me: Uhm...yeah, I guess.
God: .....
Me: So what should I do?
God: Rebel against the media, Darci! Stop beating yourself into the shape they say you should be. They didn't even create beauty. I did. Who gave them the right to say what and who is more beautiful? I sure didn't. They judge solely the shell of the beauty I created, which is what will waste away in the dirt, it's merely packaging. So I ask you, what expertise do you have to tell me that my creation of you is not beautiful enough? How often to do you see pieces of art jump off the canvas and criticize the artist for how he painted the shading? You love the ocean, and I made that. You think that's "hideous"?
Me: No, sir.
God: Those "movie stars" that you want to look like, they spend hours of their day and days of their week working to look like that. They spend so much time on their shell; they never spend any time on the true beauty I gave them within. Do you have any idea how much of true life they miss out on because they are blindly riding around on the coattails of their "beauty"?
Me: No.
God: Well, they miss a lot of things. A lot of the things I created for them to see, feel and experience. I made their spirits and their hearts, and now the person I made them comes in second to their looks. They are slaves to their vanity.
Me: Oh, c'mon, it sounds horrible when You put it that way, God.
God: Darci. You have been walking down that path, in your mind. You know that right? You have become a slave to those lies - they control you. Is that not horrible?
Me: Well, I will admit it doesn't feel great...but this is what the world has become, it's the world we live in. You can't understand.
God: I can't understand the way the humans I created feel in the world that I made?
Me: Oh.
God: This is not what I made you to be, Darci. I didn't create you as a sheep in the flock that belongs to the shallow vanities of perishable aesthetics. Have you felt the fire I put in your soul? How can you even ignore that fire to give any heed to what the world demands of you anyway?
Me: I have never really heard it put like that before. In all honesty, I do hate what you have made in me; I guess that's why I criticize myself so much. Does that hurt You?
God: More than you will ever experience.
Me: Argh. Did I really say I was hideous?
God: Yes.
Me: You're right. Who am I to say you should have made my skin clearer, and my eyes bluer. I guess sometimes I just don't understand. Like the eye twitch, I just don't see...
God: Darci, Darci, Darci. I gave you that eye thing as a trademark. I put the birthmark on the inside of your arm, but I didn't feel like that was enough to show you. That eye thing is a charm; from me to you. Plus, it makes people laugh, and I love seeing that. And so do you; deep down inside past all those lies, you like it because it makes you feel original.
Me: Yeah I guess it does...wait. How did you know that?
God: You know, you forget every day who you are dealing with here.
Me: So you're telling me that the way I am...was on purpose?
God: Completely, 100% on purpose.
Me: You know, God, I have always felt deep within me... I don't want to spend my life with people around me who like who I am when I am trying so hard to be someone that I'm not, someone you didn't make me.
God: I know, Darci. I don't want you to either.

He didn't talk back for a while, and I tried so much harder to wade past the lies. And then one day when I was jogging, in the burning sun over Omaha, God spoke to me again. For some reason I have the most creative and eye opening thoughts when I am running. My head clears up. I suppose God saw that moment and seized it with His own ingenious creativity. He spoke to me through a song, and this is what He said:

"Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run?
To where will you run?

Cuz I'll be by your side
wherever you fall
In the dead of night
whenever you call
and please don't fight
these hands that are holding you.
My hands are holding you."

Those two conversations were enough to charm my soul. Be still my heart, because now I am in love and there is no going back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ghosts of Puzzle Pieces Past

Reality dawned on me like the harsh sunrise after a long and cold night; when I found something I had lost today as I walked home from the church building. It was somewhat off to the side, in my favorite part of the city. If I had not sat down beside that fountain, and if it weren't for that very hour of that very day, I might have missed it because the sunlight hit it ever so slightly and sent its shine my way. It was so familiar even though I had not seen it in years. It was a decent size, well, the same size it was when I lost it. So I picked it up and put it in my pocket until I could figure out if, and how, it worked after all these years.

I had been strolling through my beautifully cultured hometown soaking it deep into my skin. It has been so long since I was here, not just physically but emotionally. I walked up to my favorite "praca" in the whole city (where they held the weekly Hippie Fare every Sunday morning) and sat on the ledge of a fountain where the water pours out of a stone horse's mouth into the fountain pool; but today, it was dry. I was surrounded with towering Cathedrals, hundreds of pigeons, the brightest buildings you have ever seen, a giant clock made of flowers and the sunlight that reflected its heat off the cobblestone. The construction workers were on their 32nd break today as they stopped to watch the women gracefully swagger by on the uneven cobblestone, perfectly in the highest and skinniest heels you have ever seen. It was not but seconds following that moment when the misplaced object caught my eye.

I picked it up hesitantly, because it had been so long and it had become unfamiliar to my touch. However, the longer I held it, the more familiar it grew. With the object secure in the pocket of my jeans, I got up and began my journey through a trail of meaningful spots, knowing that those places would trigger my knowledge on how to navigate this familiar trinket back into my life. I carried it with me, eager to finally be able to use it. It had belonged to me before and when I found it, I could not believe I had lived so long without it. It burned a hole in my pocket as I walked, and I wished I could take it out and use it already. But this didn't work that way; there were things I had to do first. People commuted through the city like ants scattered from a disturbed ant hill. The city bustled, it was so alive. The beauty and the simplicity of the people are stunning and it moves me. Allowing that simplicity and beauty to flow into my heart and break down all the unnecessary and complicated poisons that had built up over time must be what finally opened my eyes to that object I had lost.

I checked on the object on the inside of my pocket, and it felt like it had grown a little since I held it last. I stopped at the first stop of my trail, and sat on a small wall. Just the feeling of the object sent excitement through my veins. As I had predicted, the trail began to inspire old feelings and thoughts. This specific stop was obviously a personal invitation for ghost number one, because it popped its gloomy head into my peripheral and grinned at me. I felt the object in my hand, and realized that this time; there were things I had to say to this ghost. So I did: “For some reason when you described your love for the smell of this city, and the sewer, I thought of this street; this exact one. Maybe it's because of our friend that lived in that salmon colored building. Either way, I brought you here with me...and I am leaving you here when I go. Ironically, there is a cemetery right across the street, so you won't be alone. Now you can dance with all the ghosts of this street, of this city, instead of mine; because I am taking mine off the dance floor. I found this...thing I had lost. So I am leaving your ghost here, and taking this with me instead.”

As I moved past the skate park, on my way to the second stop on my trail I checked on the object in my pocket, and it had grown a little more. The sound of skateboards hitting the concrete echoed past the music in my headphones and the boys without t-shirts whisked by the girls who sat on the railing hoping to be noticed. I sat on the bench and sure enough, ghost number two appeared on the bench and stared at me quizzically. It surprised me that I had anything to say to this ghost at all, especially after all this time. But I did, so I did: “You know, we parted ways here once, holding our pride ransom to another huge fight. This journey began with you, and I will always remember that piece of time and how it felt. I allowed you to make me crazy and push myself past the breaking point. But you were always comfortable, a reliable ghost to fall back on when the others were busy. But I don't need a fall back anymore. I have carried you with me too long now, and I think we are both ready for a new place to live. The cemetery is across the street from here too. So I know that you will not be alone either, when I finally leave you here on this bench after all these years.”

I crossed the street and entered the cemetery to the third and last stop of my trail. It was always so eerily quiet in this cemetery, even though it sat on a main street. The noises of the city remained outside this little village of the deceased and their house sized graves. Silence clung to the walls, as the cats quietly slinked by as if they were rubbing against the leg of the old patriarchal ghosts. I propped up my elbows on one of the grave “buildings” and the hot marble warmed my skin. I heard footsteps behind me, far too close to me, especially when I'm alone in a cemetery. I turned around abruptly and caught the eye of a very sketchy looking man whose gaze lasted a little too long. I shuddered at how creepy the scene had become of all a sudden as Mr. Sketch continued on his way down the cobblestone road towards the back of the cemetery. I turned back around to face the marble grave top, and though it caught me at a creepy time, I was not surprised to see the third ghost sitting on the marble, shaking its cold head at me. The warm marble suddenly served no purpose for the chill that ran down my spine. My heart skipped a beat and trapped my breath; I was not as prepared to face this ghost. So I hurriedly reached for the object in my pocket for reassurance. It wasn't there.

How could it not be there?! All I did was cross the street, and I haven't even messed with my pock....oh! Ok, wrong pocket. I told myself to calm down as I breathed through my nose, and I felt reassurance wash over me as I found the object where I had left it, and it had grown again. I felt my head spin as the words came to me. The ghost cocked its head at me, daring me to find the strength I always promised to find, but never did. Regardless of whether or not I had the strength, I still had something to say to this cocky ghost. So I did: “We walked through this very cemetery together, holding hands, amazed at how beautiful the graves were. We were corpses, except that we didn't know how dead we were at the time. Ironic, I know. I held out as long as I could, holding onto you and letting you haunt my heart and convince me to keep my grip on to your friend Potential, as well. But Potential has slipped from my grasp, so you are all I have had to cling to. Remember when we watched that man carry that box of black magic and pig pieces to the back of this cemetery? I've tried everything else, so I was thinking that maybe the pig's snout in that box could bring some life back to your eyes, but I can't; I don't practice black magic. Plus, being the stronghold has lost all its glamour. I will leave you here, in this cemetery to chase after all the things that might heal what's eating you. I have been waiting too long to live, to die here with you.”

I continued my walk home, past the naked angel fountain, past the hospital, and the gas station. The walk seemed lighter, almost like I was gliding. But I know these moments, we go way back, and they don't last ever forever. Soon there would be new ghosts. But I hoped and believed that this thing in my pocket was the answer to all those ghosts, and like a compass it would guide me.

I had heard a line in a song recently, and I had never realized the significance it held until I arrived home from this walk. The line read "Sometimes goodbye is a second chance." Personally, goodbyes are like a bruise on my heart that never ever leaves, and every time it is touched, it stings. I have been saying goodbyes since I was six, so that just grows deeper and deeper. But this line, it gave me a new angle on goodbyes that was fabulously enlightening. I realized that I had been given this SAME opportunity before. I had been back in this SAME physical place and the SAME emotional place, with a future ahead of me and fire in my heart. However, within 6 months I had lost that fire and I had begun the building process of a home for of a new ghost. I had to do things differently.

I looked back in time and put the pieces of the puzzle together by tracing my mistakes and analyzing my failure. As I finished the puzzle, I realized it was missing a piece. So I took the object from my pocket. It grew to be the same shape, same height, and even the same weight as me. The puzzle was lacking that object and could never be complete without it. I gazed at this object wondering why it had taken me so long to realize it was missing. But the object was mine now, and I wasn't letting it go. It's a rare occasion that people are able to find their self worth when they lose it. So I placed the long lost self worth in the missing part of the puzzle, and it fit perfectly. I looked at the finished puzzle and saw that the missing piece not only completed the puzzle, but it also brought out the self respect and value out of the puzzle, thus making it shine so much brighter. I was amazed at how simply everything fit together when I added that piece, and I realized that I didn't have to do things the same way this time around. The goodbyes this time are a second chance, and I fully intend to take it. And the missing object was a gift, and I fully intend to use it. My spirit relaxed as it dawned on me that times would never be as rough because God game the sight to complete this puzzle. I hope those ghosts like their new places, because they are definitely not missed by this one. Reality set down on me giving me relief, like the cool dark night after a long hot day.